RUNNING HEAD: Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan
By
Stephan Shansey
Stockton University

1

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

Abstract

Lake Fred, located on Stockton University’s campus, is currently experiencing a nutrient-loading

problem, creating the potential for eutrophication and fish kills. In order to prevent these events from
occurring, action needs to be taken around and above the lake to reduce the inputs of nutrients into the
lake. Since the introduction of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972, point source pollution has been
tightly regulated; therefore a 75% reduction of nutrients from Nonpoint sources (NPS) was proposed.
This plan outlines two potential NPS mitigation options; bioreactors in the form of stormwater drainage
systems, and constructed riparian habitat. These two mitigation options have been shown to reduce
nutrients entering a waterbody by a significant amount. The bioreactors are shown to reduce nitrates by
up to 85% and the riparian habitats remove 70% of nitrogen (N) and 25% of phosphorous (P). In order to
foment public support for the project local and state meetings will be held with the citizens as well as
potential partnering agencies providing technical and financial assistance. To determine the efficiency of
these nutrient removal systems, monitoring of physical water samples for nutrients as well as observations
in the change of nutrient sensitive flora and fauna will be conducted before, during, and after
implementation. This plan seeks to effectively manage the inflow of nutrients into the lake, thereby
preserving the quality and health of the ecosystem, and the usage of the waterbody for recreation.

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

Introduction
Water bodies face a particularly interesting challenge of pollution throughout their
existence on the planet. From chemicals to sediment the sources of pollutants vary widely,
ranging from industrial and urban areas to rural farms. An increasing problem in water bodies is
nutrient pollution, mainly nitrate and phosphorous. A side effect of these nutrients in water
bodies is increasing eutrophication and fish kills. A greater understanding of the sources of
nutrients as well as how they affect each waterbody is needed to determine how we can properly
govern the use of nutrients in our daily lives. New Jersey has already identified the problems
created by phosphorus loading on a water system and has effectively banned the use of it in
fertilizers in the state.
Identification of causes and sources of impairment
When examining the watershed of Lake Fred we can see many various land uses
sprawling the area. For the purpose of this paper it will be assumed that the buffer around the
streams of 200 yards (shown in Appendix I) is the extent of external influence on the stream and
the lake. Observation of the land uses in the buffer zone above Lake Fred yields that a majority
of the land use cover is farmland, forest, and wetlands. Urban land use is also included in the
buffer zone but to a lesser extent than agricultural land uses. Nonpoint source run off of fertilizer
from agricultural fields or manure from pasturelands, within this buffer zone, could provide a
significant contribution of the overload of nutrients in the system. Urban runoff in the
headwaters of the Morses Mill / Lake Fred watershed as well as from Stockton University could
also contribute a great deal of the nutrients being discharged into the system. Atmospheric
deposition can be considered an input to the system; although, this is a much harder input to

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

control thus this plan will focus of the direct inputs due to overland flow and percolation of
ground water into the waterbodies.
Targeted Load Reductions
Currently in the watershed nutrient loads are quite high. The overall goal will be a 75%
reduction from the current levels. This may seem like a large quantity, however, since there are
lacking systems in place simple mitigation procedures will be quite efficient at lowering the
overall nutrient load, making this 75% reduction goal one that is easily attainable. Since most of
the area contributing to the lake and stream is urban and agriculture; this plan will focus on those
as the main areas of concern.
Proposed Management Measures
Given the nature of the watershed and the fact that there are many parcels of land within
the area, the easiest changes to make will take place on Stockton’s campus. The main
implementation measure will be biologically active anoxic storm drains that scrub the water
going into Lake Fred. These living storm drains will actively remove nutrients (mainly nitrates)
from storm water run off. To manage storm water runoff effectively, outfitting of storm water
systems draining areas of concern into the lake with a nitrogen removing biofilm is
recommended. According to a recent article published in Water Science and Technology “The
results [nitrogen removal using a biofilm reactor] illustrated that the maximum removal
efficiency of nitrogen was 85.39%” (Sun. Y, Tian. J, Wang. H, Yang. K, and Zhou. J, 2015).
This practice if added to the already existing retention basins on Stockton’s campus could create
the perfect storm for nitrate reduction, since the biofilm reactor uses Fe(II) as an electron donor
(Sun. Y., Tian. J., Wang. H., Yang. K., & Zhou. J., 2015) which may be present in the soil on
and around campus. Although the results of this biofilm reactor prove to be quite promising it

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

should be noted that the results are also in the context of an anaerobic environment, meaning the
storm water transportation systems would have to be sealed off from the atmosphere to ensure
the results shown in the study. Since this would be hard to implement and maintain, a system
that is hypoxic might be sufficient in removing nitrogen just at slightly lower quantities. Given
that this measure would be quite costly, mapping of nitrogen concentrations should be done on
the campus to observe where the most nitrogen is coming from as well as what locations would
benefit most from the implementation of these systems.
When considering the inputs of nutrients (predominately nitrates) into the Lake Fred
system, the land uses surrounding the headwaters of the lake cannot be over looked. As shown
in Appendix I, the dominating land use surrounding the Morses Mill stream above Lake Fred is
agriculture. This provides some interesting insight into the nutrient loading problem in the lake,
since agriculture is a major source of nutrients and sediments into surface waters. In New Jersey
the use of phosphorous in fertilizer is banned, however, phosphorus is still commonly found in
manure, which is a substitute for chemical fertilizer in organic farming. Maintaining a riparian
buffer around the Morses Mill stream would help to shield the waters from the adverse effects of
nutrient loading. This would effectively slow the overland flow after a storm event, allowing the
nutrients to be taken up by the riparian vegetation. Laine, Silvan, and Vasander conducted a
study on this exact idea and found that “The retained proportions of N and P in the plant
biomass…were approximately 70% of the added nitrogen… and 25% of the added phosphorus”
(Laine. J, Silvan. N, and Vasander. H, 2003). Given the surrounding land uses the buffer area
will be an important component of plan, removing nitrates from the headwaters of Lake Fred.
Another concern in the context of the watershed management plan is atmospheric
deposition. This, however, is a costly issue to try to mitigate. Although through the use of the

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

riparian buffers and storm water management systems the effects of the surrounding deposition
will be effectively dealt with. This would leave only direct deposition to be the only input from
atmospheric deposition, greatly limiting the overall addition of nitrates from atmospheric
sources.
Technical and Financial Assistance
According to the EPA low impact storm water drainage solutions can cost around
$20,000/6 acres, for new construction (EPA, 2013). Given that Stockton has already invested on
the infrastructure of storm water retention and drainage the costs to upgrade the infrastructure to
the desired level would cost much less than the projected $20,000/6 acres price tag for a new
system. Using some rough calculations, Stockton’s main campus was found to be roughly 368
acres, this would equate to a roughly $1,230,000 instillation of new storm water drainage
systems. Although the cost mentioned above is for new construction, the actual cost would still
be significant.
Determining the cost for constructed wetlands for a plan like this is quite difficult so a
very basic analysis will be done for the purpose of this plan. According to the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) costs are on average as follows: excavation or
earthwork, $2 per cubic yard; clearing and grubbing, $1,500 per acre; Grading, $1-50 per cubic
yard; planting of high marsh $0.30-$4 per plant depending on plant size (NOAA, n.d.). Adding
these costs together, without factoring in total area, yields an approximate cost of $54,740 per
acre (using maximum values) minus the cost of planting marsh/wetland plants. For this
assistance would be needed from state and local governments to implement these measures as
well as appropriation of funds for the project.
Information and Education

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

When discussing costs of this magnitude it is important to have public support and
comment of the plan though all stages of design and development. In order to garner public trust
and support of the project, meetings will be held at local and state courthouses (or other meeting
places) and on Stockton’s campus to discuss why and how the plan will be implemented, why it
matters, and how it will affect the community surrounding the campus. Local out reach
programs should also be set in place, utilizing the material knowledge of Stockton’s staff and
students as well as state and local officials, to educate local school students and communities on
the benefits of the completion of the project. A local effort should also be made on campus to
educate those at Stockton on how they can do their part to reduce nutrient inputs.
Schedule and Milestones
Objective / Milestone

Projected completion date

Planning, Permitting, Surveying land area, and
Identification of pollutant sources

1 year

Identification and collaboration with local, state and
federal agencies for technical and financial assistance

6 months

Educational and informational community outreach
Initial phases of construction
Construction

On going
1 -2 months
1 year

Evaluation of implementation (is the new
construction able to handle storm water flows, etc?)

On going from construction completion

Monitoring of identified criteria for success

On going from construction completion

Load Reduction Evaluation
In order to give the project any validity evaluation of the nutrient load reduction
implementation measures will have to be conducted. In order to get an idea of how effective the

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

load reduction measures are, samples will be taken and analyzed before, during, and after the
construction process has been completed. Evaluation and analysis of these samples will not only
depict how much the nutrient load has been reduced but also give insight into the construction
practices (i.e. how much sediment and other contaminants are released during the construction
process).
Monitoring
In order to determine weather the load reduction measures are working properly,
establishment of monitoring criteria is imperative. In order to properly determine the amount of
nutrients being reduced from the Lake Fred system, a network of established monitoring
locations will be established with a set criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of the
implementation measures. To properly evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented measures
physical samples of the waters will be collected as well as observation of plant and animal spices
within the Lake and stream in order to determine the numerical value of reduction as well as
wildlife response to the decrease in nutrients in the system.

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

References
Laine, J., Silvan, N., & Vasander, H. (2003). Vegetation is the main factor in nutrient retention
in a constructed wetland. Plant and soil, 258, 179-187 [PDF]. Retrieved from:
http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.stockton.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=d54626
b8-53b1-454b-827f-d2429c544822%40sessionmgr4002&vid=29&hid=4201
Newport, B. (2014). Costs for green infrastructure and stormwater retention practices. EPA.
Website: http://www.aiswcd.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2_EPA-Post-ConstructionCost-Analysis.pdf
Steere, J. (n.d.). Estimating wetland restoration costs at an urban and regional scale: The San
Francisco bay estuary example. Retrieved from:
https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st5/Salmon_Workshop/23_Steere.pdf
Sun, J,. Tian, J,. Wang, H,. Yang, K,. & Zhou, J. (2015). Nitrate removal by nitrate-dependent
Fe(II) oxidation in an upflow denitrifying biofilm reactor. Water Science & Technology.
72, 377-383.

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

Appendix I

Appendix I: Map showing Stockton University’s campus, waterbodies, streams, and land use inside
of the Morses Mill watershed. Note: Buffer area around the streams and Lake Fred are areas of a
proposed wetlands construction area to mitigate the inputs of nutrients (particularly nitrate and
phosphorous) into the surface water system.

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

Appendix II

Appendix II: Map showing the total area in 𝐹𝑡 ! of the Stockton University main campus,
located in Galloway, NJ. This graphic and area calculation was used in the analysis of
implementation costs for the Stockton University Watershed Management Plan.

Appendix III 𝟏𝟔
,𝟎𝟑𝟎,𝟖𝟐𝟕 𝑭𝒕𝟐 𝟏 𝑿 𝟏

𝑨𝒄𝒓𝒆 𝟒𝟑
,𝟓𝟔𝟎𝑭𝒕𝟐

= 𝟑𝟔𝟖 𝑨𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒔

Appendix III: Equation used in the Technical and Financial Assistance section of the Stockton
University Watershed Management Plan. This equation was used to calculate an estimated area for
the Stockton University main campus to determine the cost of implementing the proposed
management measures.

Stockton University Watershed Management Plan

Appendix IV
!"# !"#$%
!

X

$"#,!!!
! !"#$%

= $1,230,001

Appendix IV: Equation used to calculate the approximate cost of implementing stormwater drainage
infrastructure. This equation was used in the Technical and Financial Assistance section of the
Stockton University Watershed Management Plan.