Sidney Brook Watershed Protection Plan

Sidney Brook Watershed Protection PlanIn 2007, the NJDEP approved Union Township as the Lead Planning Agency for the creation of the Sidney Brook Watershed Protection Plan (WPP), with Princeton Hydro as the subcontractor. The project partners include: Union and Franklin Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA), and NJDEP. The project was funded under the Clean Water Act 319(h) program. WWPs are critical planning documents that outline the management of watersheds to comply with water quality standards and use designation, as well as protecting resources and mitigating impairments.

Sidney Brook is a Trout Maintenance Category One (C1) stream, which flows into the South Branch of the Raritan River. The 10 square mile watershed has a variety of rural and urban land uses which have contributed to degradation in stream function. Portions of this watershed lie within the Highlands Preservation area and Highlands Planning area, which affects future development.

WPPs consist of two main components: an assessment of the watershed and a series of management actions. The assessment included a review of relevant GIS data, regulations, an exhaustive water quality study, fishery and other biological surveys, and pollutant and hydrology modeling. These were used to ascertain the function of the watershed. Noted impairments are addressed through a series of management actions and BMPs discussed in general and through the inclusion of 40 specific projects sites and project concepts forwarded by both Princeton Hydro and NJWSA. Additional implementation guidance is also provided to ensure the WPP is fully implemented.

While the watershed earns its C1 status, there are also documented impairments in function, including thermal impacts, excessive nutrient loading, and erosion/ sedimentation. Implementation of the recommended projects has been initiated by NJWSA with a demonstration project completed 2012. PH is now working with Union Township to secure additional 319(h) grants to implement the installation of 15 discrete BMPs at four project sites. The WPP will be key in seeking this funding. This WPP was formally approved in 2012 and is one of just 18 approved plans statewide.