The Salem County Greenkeepers Plan

Project Background

The Salem
Why is this
Sources of
Water Quality
Project-Phase I

The 115-square mile Salem River Watershed covers 1/3 of Salem County, NJ making it the largest watershed in the county.  The watershed provides critical habitat to many rare, threatened, and endangered species.  Non-point source (NPS) pollution, occurring when water flows over the land or through the ground and picks up nutrients, pollutants, and sediment and deposits them into rivers, lakes and estuaries is a significant cause for concern in this waterhsed.  Segments of the Salem River are now characterized by the U.S. EPA as moderately to severely impaired due to imbalances in fecal coliform, pH, temperature, and total phosphorus measured.  The EPA (document 841-F-96-004A) attributes agriculture, particularly nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) run-off, fertilizer practices, livestock management, and urban run-off as the main contributors to NPS pollution. 

The goals of this project are:

  • To reduce agricultural run-off (chemicals and fertilizers) into the river by improving nutrient management practices among growers in the region.
  • To reduce coliform in the river related to leaching septic systems of homeowners and businesses.
  • To reduce NPS pollution related to sediment from stream bank erosion created by man-made practices of homes and farms along the waterways.
  • To reduce NPS poluution from boating practices of boaters, fishermen, and recreationalists by educating them about watershed friendly practices.
  • To raise public awareness about watershed protection by educating the general public on the importance of water resources, and steps they can take to reduce NPS pollution.

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