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Wallkill River Wildlife Refuge Floodplain Reforestation Project

Wallkill Wildlife Refuge Floodplain Reforestation NJCWRP 6-2022.docx (2).jpg

Project Purpose: 

To restore degraded riparian floodplain buffers by planting native trees to re-establish floodplain forest species along the Wallkill River in Vernon Township, NJ within the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge boundary.


Brief Description:

The Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority-Wallkill River Watershed Management Group proposes to build upon the 4-acre riparian reforestation buffer installed with partner organizations and volunteers at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge in 2019-2021. The project will expand floodplain restoration efforts along the mainstem of the Wallkill River within the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge in Sussex County, NJ. New reforestation opportunities have already been identified and written permission has been secured to implement 100-meter forested buffer corridors in accordance with the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge’s 2009 Comprehensive Conservation Plan. Targeted restoration areas are failing to naturally reforest because of historic agricultural land use and wetland modifications as well as occupation of non-native, herbaceous species like reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), that have prevented native trees from naturally succeeding on their own. In time, reforesting these floodplains will help reduce sediment and nutrient loading along stream reaches compromised by significant erosion due to stormwater flows. 


Resource Values/Project Outputs:

  • Approximately 5 acres of riparian and floodplain land will be planted along the Wallkill River mainstem, at a density of 250 native trees/shrubs per acre 

  • At least 80 volunteers contributing time towards hands-on restoration efforts

  • Decreased erosion rates and input of sediment resulting from vegetative streambank stabilization

  • Enhanced instream habitat for macroinvertebrates and fish, resulting from decreased inputs of sediment

  • Reduced nutrient loading and seasonal water temperature swings due to native overstory re-establishment


Cost/Budget: $32,025.48


Schedule: NJCWRP-funded planting to be completed in fall 2022


Permit Status: No permit is required for hand planting.


List of Partners: 

  • Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority-Wallkill River Watershed Management Group

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


  • Cardinal Hayes High School (Bronx, NY)

  • High Point Regional High School (Wantage Township, Sussex County, NJ)

  • AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassador Program

  • Johnson & Johnson “We Sustain” Program

  • Lake Mohawk Preservation Foundation (Sparta Township, Sussex County, NJ)

What is requested from the CWRP/Contribution: $8,000 (to pay for 250 #2 containerized trees, 250 tree tubes, interpretive signage to highlight the project’s restoration objectives/funders, and coordination of floodplain reforestation volunteer events)


Point of Contact:   

Kristine Rogers, Watershed Education and Outreach Specialist

SCMUA-Wallkill River Watershed Management Group

973-579-6998 ext. 110 

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