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Passaic Watershed Community Initiative

Passaic Watershed, Greater Essex County, NJ

Project Purpose: The Passaic Watershed Community Initiative will utilize a grassroots watershed approach to restore the greater Second River Watershed, employing a program of water-quality monitoring, remediation, education, community involvement, and research.

Brief Description: The scope of the Passaic Watershed Community Initiative will be to expand the breadth of our work in and around the Second River and to establish a foundation for sustained involvement and community cooperation into the future.  Thanks to our continued efforts and networking successes, we are at a stage when enacting a realistic program of cooperative community stewardship in this challenging urban watershed will be feasible.  The initiative will be threefold in focus.  First, we will work with the NJDEP Division of Watershed Management to coordinate the many community groups in Essex County that currently conduct water-quality monitoring.  NJDEP has set a goal toward increasing volunteer monitoring due to the new stormwater regulations and pressure to conserve water in the NJ Highlands.  Through our work in the community, we have become aware of at least five separate groups that conduct water-quality monitoring in the watershed, each differing in type and frequency, and with little to no relay of potentially useful information.  IYO’s Environmental Coordinator will coordinate this project year-round.  In addition, IYO’s Environmental Team, with a constant staff of 10 Corpsmembers, will “adopt-a-stream” and carry out stream monitoring.  Finally, we will organize community stewardship events, like clean ups and plantings, to increase education and participation among local residents.

Resource Values/Project Outputs: IYO’s Environmental Coordinator will assist the NJDEP Division of Watershed Management in coordinating stream monitoring in Watershed Management Area 4.  The Environmental Team will “adopt” the Second River for a year of water-quality monitoring. 30 at-risk Newark youth will be trained in three methods of water-quality monitoring, leadership, public speaking, and community building.  They will conduct at least 4 community clean ups during 2006 and increase the participation of neighborhood residents in stewardship events.  IYO’s Environmental Team will, with the help of community partners, conduct research on native plants and invasive species endemic to the watershed for use in its frequent landscape and riparian plantings, including work in the NJDOT’s Urban Gateways Program and Adopt-a-Highway Program.

Cost/Budget: $49,030 total budget including in-kind services.

International Youth Organization: $13,530

Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership: $20,000 (cash requested)
Watershed partners (see below): $15,500 (donations and educational services)

List of Partners: Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, NJ Watershed Ambassador Program, NJ Community Water Watch, NJDEP: Division of Watershed Management, Saddle and Passaic River Alliance (WMA 4), William Paterson University, Montclair State University, Passaic River Institute, Essex County: Department of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs, International Youth Organization.

CWRP Contribution: $20,000

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