In the fall of 2013, North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development (NJRC&D) was awarded a 319h grant for the implementation of rain gardens within the Neshanic Watershed. The Raritan Township Municipal Building was chosen as the site for the installation of 2 rain gardens because of the visibility of this location and to further educate township officials.
The Neshanic River was listed in the 2008 New Jersey Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report as impaired for aquatic life and nonpoint source pollution (NPS) from bacteria, phosphorus and total suspended solids (NJDEP 2008). It is generally recognized that agriculture, rapid urban development and wildlife cause water quality contamination in the watershed.
North Jersey RC&D selected the Raritan Township Municipal Building as an ideal location for two rain garden demonstration projects. The Municipal building is visited daily by residents of the township and provided a highly visible location for a demonstration project. The municipal building has a high percentage of impervious surface for a property of its size. Increased impervious coverage leads an increase of stormwater runoff from both the municipal building itself and its parking lot. Stormwater at this location was not given the opportunity to infiltrate and recharge groundwater before it entered near by Walnut Brook.
NJRC&D and Rutgers approached the Raritan Township Environmental Commission about the installation of a rain garden as a demonstration project at the municipal building. After several meetings with the commission, the Raritan Township Committee passed Resolution #13-172 allowing for the construction of up to two rain gardens at the municipal building.
The Project Team and Township Engineer identified two locations for rain garden installation. The first rain garden would collect parking lot run off and would utilize a curb cut to convey water to the garden. The rain garden would have an under drain that connects to the existing catch basin. This garden is located between the front of the Township building parking lot and Route 523 just off the Route 12 circle. The second rain garden would disconnect a currently connected downspout alongside of the Township building. The rain garden will have a stone-lined overflow that leads to an existing lawn catch basin. The rain garden located on the side of the building was installed in the fall of 2013 while the rain garden in the front of the building was installed in the Spring of 2016.
Partners and Funding
North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council received funding for rain garden projects from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Water Resource Management, Division of Water Monitoring and Standards, Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards 319h Grant Program.
The rain garden at Raritan Township’s Municipal Building was achieved through community effort. This project was coordinated and implemented by North Jersey RC&D and the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension. Furthermore, a rain garden cannot be created without efforts to install and plant it. These tasks were completed with invaluable assistance from volunteers from the Environmental Commission and AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors.