What is the Paulins Kill Watershed Project Area?

 

The Upper Paulins Kill Watershed is one of the five major subwatershed basins of the Upper Delaware Watershed. Located within Sussex and Warren Counties in northwestern New Jersey, the Paulins Kill Watershed is about 197 square miles with the project boundary covering approximately 51 square miles from the headwaters area, located in Sparta, Newton, and Andover Townships to the Paulins Kill at Balesville, within Hampton Township. This watershed area is mainly comprised of forested woodlands, wetlands, and agricultural lands, with only scattered light residential and commercial development and two small lake communities. The only exception is the Town of Newton, which is considered an urban center.

 

Why Develop a Watershed Restoration Plan for the Upper Paulins Kill Watershed?

 

The project area of the Upper Paulins Kill Watershed Restoration Plan has been a hot spot for residential growth and planning activity for many years. Significant portions of the stream have been identified as Category One waterways, and the project area also contains habitats for several threatened and endangered species, including the dwarf wedge mussel.

 

However, the main driver for developing a watershed restoration plan for the Upper Paulins Kill is that the stream has been identified by the NJDEP as impaired for fecal coliform/E. coli, total phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, aquatic life, and arsenic at specific locations.  Ultimately, the WRWMG is working to implement a watershed plan that will result in achieving a reduction in the non-point source pollutant loading to the Upper Paulins Kill, in order to meet the required NJDEP Surface Water Quality Standards (SWQS).

 

Paulins Kill Stream Corridor and Floodplain Restoration Initiative

 

There is no greater example of the environmental leadership capabilities that the WRWMG provides Sussex County than the Paulins Kill Stream Corridor and Floodplain Restoration project that is currently underway in Lafayette and Frankford Townships.  This project is successfully linking commercial, private agricultural, and public state-owned lands into a unique collaborative effort that will lead to streambank stabilization, water quality improvement, and habitat enhancement of a contiguous three-mile corridor along the Paulins Kill.  To implement the project, the WRWMG has successfully generated cooperative partnerships with entities such as the NJDEP, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation to maximize available funding resources, share technical expertise, and execute the restoration activities. Not to be overlooked is the fact that the project corridor runs parallel to the Sussex Branch public use trail and will therefore serve as a tremendous demonstration site to educate the community about the importance of protecting the watersheds where they live, work, and recreate. 

 

    

                      Colgate-Palmolive Volunteers


Town of Newton Community Watershed Restoration Initiative 

 

The WRWMG has recently partnered with the Town of Newton to develop a Community Watershed Restoration Initiative to raise public awareness about watershed concerns while also sponsoring the implementation of stewardship and restoration projects that will directly improve the headwaters of the Paulins Kill. As part of this Initiative, the WRWMG coordinated a stream debris clean-up with the Newton Department of Public Works, organized a litter clean-up at Memory Park with 350 students, staff, and parent volunteers from Halsted Middle School, and initiated a riparian reforestation project along the Paulins Kill at Memory Park. Currently, the WRWMG is expanding the Initiative to include the installation of rain gardens at multiple locations in the town. Rain gardens are considered a best management practice for treating stormwater because they capture runoff from impervious surfaces, allowing water to seep into the ground rather than flowing directly into waterways via storm drains.  Additionally, rain gardens are a valuable hands-on educational tool for informing community members about the importance of proper stormwater management.