Explore RHA's monitoring sites in our stream monitoring map!
We monitor over 50 sites and gather valuable data about the overall health of our watersheds.
Stream Monitoring Program
Each summer, a team of RHA staff members and volunteers collects samples of benthic macro-
invertebrates, small critters whose presence indicate a stream’s health, at over fifty sites on streams and rivers in Hunterdon, Morris and Somerset Counties. Through our stream monitoring program, we gather valuable, usable data about surface water quality and the overall health of our watersheds.
The waterways we monitor include Rockaway Creek, Peapack Brook, Black River, Cold Brook, Drakes Brook, Neshanic River, Pleasant Run, Holland Brook, Back Brook, Mulhockaway Creek and the North and South Branches of the Raritan River. The sites we monitor have been carefully selected to provide us with a snapshot of streams and river segments that are not monitored by other groups (the U.S. Geological Survey and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, for example). The data we generate is included in the New Jersey Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report).
After we conduct our visual assessment and collect a sample at each site, the samples are analyzed by a state-certified laboratory to assess water quality and stream ecosystem health, the data is presented as a High Gradient Macroinvertebrate Index Score. Sites may be classified as excellent, good, fair, or poor.
When biological monitoring indicates an impairment, we investigate local land uses and conduct further testing to better understand the problem, then work with landowners and local officials to address the problem. In the two decades that we have been monitoring streams and rivers, our efforts have allowed us to:
- detect trends in water quality over time caused by changes in land use
- characterize regional biota characteristics
- observe the effectiveness of restoration efforts
Our monitoring program supports many types of conservation efforts throughout the region. Monitoring results influence:
- municipal master plans
- land use planning and zoning decisions
- policy development at the state, county and local level
- prioritization of pollution control measures
- determination of recreational uses of water bodies and surrounding habitats
- school curricula
- citizen stewardship projects
- state-wide research
- regulatory response
Download the latest version of our annual 2016 State of our Watershed Conference Highlights and 2015 State of our Watershed Conference Summary Report.
Get indepth information about RHA’s Stream Monitoring Program.