Delaware River Restoration Fund: Implementing Data-Driven Agriculture Conservation Practices

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has awarded NJRCD a Delaware River Restoration Fund (DRRF) Targeted Watershed Implementation Grant of $243,110. DRRF grants are multistate investments for implementing practices and restoring habitats to improve and protect critical drinking water sources. The grant awarded to NJRCD will fund the continued implementation of agricultural restoration in the Lower-Middle Musconetcong area.

The DRRF grant will fund the implementation of best management practices (BPM) in critical source areas and surrounding fields within the Lower-Middle Musconetcong area, as well as the Shurts Road tributary watershed, which is a sub watershed of the Musconetcong river.

The critical source areas in the Lower-Middle Musconetcong are areas with high pollutant sources, including phosphorus, and are subject to active hydrologic transport mechanisms. The Shurts Road tributary has highly impacted water quality and is negatively affected by storm events, due to high nutrient concentrations and bacteria-heavy runoff.

These two focus areas were chosen using previously gathered environmental data and were targeted for having the highest potential to achieve meaningful, measurable impact through conservation funding. By using this targeted approach to fund conservation areas, we hope to improve efficiency in achieving water quality goals.

BPMs used in this grant will include focusing on reducing contamination sources (through reducing erosion and nutrient concentrations in soils) as well as through reducing the transport of pollutants into water, by eliminating gullies and adding riparian buffers. Critical source areas, though only a fraction of the whole watershed, generate a disproportionate amount of pollution – in particular, phosphorus and soil sediment.

Watershed-wide, NFWF awarded ten new restoration grants, totaling $1.84 million. Additionally, the William Penn Foundation provided $6 million to NFWF to for the DRRF throughout the Delaware River watershed between 2018 and 2020.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a national conservation organization whose mission is to protect and restore the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats. The William Penn foundation is a NJRCD partner working to protect the Delaware River Watershed to create long term conditions that will ensure the watershed supports aquatic life and recreation, in and on the water.