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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

Section 319 Success Stories, Vol. III: New Jersey

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Restoration of Strawbridge Lake:
Volunteers Assist in Stabilizing Shoreline and Constructing Wetlands


Christopher Obropta
Omni Environmental Corporation
Research Park
321 Wall Street
Princeton, NJ 08540-1515
609-924-8821 (ext. 17)

Primary Sources of Pollution:

  • urban runoff

Primary NPS Pollutants:

  • sediment
  • phosphorus

Project Activities

  • streambank restoration
  • construction of biofilter wetlands


  • more than 4,000 feet of streambank stabilized
  • monitoring in progress

The Strawbridge Lake watershed comprises 12.6 square miles and encompasses portions of Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Evesham Townships. Strawbridge Lake is surrounded by a park widely used by residents of Burlington and Camden Counties for activities like walking, biking, picnicking, fishing, and ice-skating. In addition to having a highly eroded shoreline, the lake receives numerous storm water discharges from the surrounding residential and commercial areas, as well as directly from State Route 38.

The lake itself has been listed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) as a water quality-limited water body. Sedimentation, elevated phosphorus, heavy macrophyte growth, and chlordane in fish tissue were identified as the water quality impairments at Strawbridge Lake.

Multiagency cooperation

NJDEP's NPS Grant Program provided 319 funding to help restore Strawbridge Lake in Moorestown, Burlington County. Additional funds were secured from the Township of Moorestown and the Eastgate Mitigation Fund, under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust. Other cooperating entities included Omni Environmental Corporation and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. In addition to the local schools, volunteers from AmeriCorps, Save the Environment of Moorestown (STEM), Moorestown Environmental Advisory Committee, and Strawbridge Lake Association assisted with the rehabilitation. Because of the efforts of these volunteers, about 80 percent of the 319 grant funds resulted in on-the-ground improvements.

More than 4,000 feet of eroding shoreline were stabilized using soil bioengineering techniques, which created a vegetative buffer, along with a "no mowing zone," along the lake's edge. The buffer ranged in width from 10 to 20 feet. Easy access areas, which were interspersed throughout the project, were created along the shoreline using red gravel bordered by large, flat stones. A total of 240 linear feet of shoreline was treated in this manner.

In addition to the shoreline restoration, biofilter wetlands (pocket wetlands) were constructed in the park area to treat seven storm water discharges into the lake. Four outfall structures were discharged into two pocket wetlands retrofitted to filter pollutants from the storm water. The last of these pocket wetlands was completed in November 1999. Three of the discharges to the wetlands were retrofitted with sedimentation chambers to remove coarse sediment from the runoff from Route 38 before discharging the runoff to the lake. Volunteers participated in planting the biofilter wetland and installing the shoreline stabilization and vegetative buffer.


A coconut fiber roll and soil erosion blanket protected the bank until vegetation was established.

A model project

The Strawbridge Lake project is believed to be a great success. Other communities have used this project as a model. The project not only has enhanced the natural beauty of the lake and the surrounding park area for future generations but also has significantly improved the water quality of the lake.

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The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Restoration Project:
Streamwatch Volunteers Monitor Success of Restoration Efforts


Steven Yergeau
Stony-Brook-Millstone Watershed Association
31 Titus Mill Road
Pennington, NJ 08534

Primary Sources of Pollution:

  • urban runoff

Primary NPS Pollutants:

  • sediment

Project Activities:

  • streambank restoration (bioengineering techniques and reforestation)


  • more than 800 linear feet of streambank restored
  • more than 10 acres of land reforested
  • improved stream habitat
  • monitoring in progress

Large-scale development is occurring at an accelerated rate in New Jersey's Stony Brook-Millstone watershed. As a result, runoff is passing over more areas of impervious surfaces. The increased flows during rain events are scouring streambanks, contributing sediment downstream, which clogs New Jersey's waterways, chokes aquatic life, and restricts plant growth by blocking sunlight.

Recognizing the impacts of urbanization in their watershed, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SBMWA) developed a 4-year project that involves general watershed restoration and reforestation projects with the main goal of stabilizing streambanks for erosion and sediment pollution control on various tributaries in the Stony Brook-Millstone watershed. The key to the SBMWA's current success is stakeholder and citizen involvement.

Three major activites

The project primarily focused on three activities to protect stream corridors: streambank restoration, bioengineering techniques, and reforestation. Training sessions in bioengineering and reforestation methods were offered to the public. The SBMWA also identified and convened stakeholders to ensure the success of the project. To determine whether the projects were successful, StreamWatch, SBWMA's volunteer monitoring program, will monitor the water quality at the restoration sites. StreamWatch volunteers chemically, biologically, and visually assess the environmental health of streams.

SBMWA also held educational sessions on what makes a stream healthy, the value of riparian corridors, and the role of trees in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. After this project, data gathered from Stream Watch will be evaluated and compared with previously collected data to determine the effectiveness of all these efforts.

Exciting results

From 1997 to 2000, more than 800 linear feet of streambank was restored, some 1,000 square feet of lakeside hydric soils were planted, and 10.4 acres of land was reforested. The long-term educational benefits to the more than 1,200 volunteers who have participated in these efforts have been tremendous. Many groups return year after year to contribute to the project's success, as well as to observe days like Arbor Day, Earth Day, and Make a Difference Day.

With 2 years left on the project, the SBMWA is very excited about the success of these restorations. Severely eroding banks were regraded, revegetated, and stabilized to prevent additional sediment from entering the waterways. A new forest was planted, creating habitat and protecting the stream that runs through the former farm field. More important, volunteers and community representatives feel empowered by their ability to improve their environment.


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