To nudge general agreements about stormwater maintenance and planning along, regional stormwater utilities are a favorite argument for environmentalists like Julia Somers of Harding Township, the executive director of the Boonton-based non-profit New Jersey Highlands Coalition.
According to Somers, “stormwater utilities are in place in more than 1,800 towns in the U.S., in red states and blue states, and are successfully helping to address what otherwise have proven to be intractable problems: algal blooms in lakes, flooding in residential and downtown neighborhoods, finding a reliable funding stream for regular municipal systems maintenance, like catch basin cleaning, and other stormwater-related challenges.”
But that’s on the governing level.
Homeowners and just about everybody else can personalize the war against poor water quality, from planting that buffer in a backyard to using organic fertilizer to installing rain gardens. The River-Friendly Program of the Raritan Headwaters Association, for example, enable residents and businesses to improve land stewardship practices, providing ways to cut pollution, conserve water and educate the public on how to become better environmental stewards.
Property owners can also keep on top of the quality of their tap water. Raritan Headwaters and the Great Swamp Watershed Association both offer testing for well and public drinking water.
Of course, those with time and a few acres and cash to spare could also consider reforestation. One way to not only regrow woods so native trees and canopy produce a bounty of nuts as food sources but the woodlands can also induce better water quality.
The ground cover, nurtured by the trees in the form of nuts and falling leaves, serves as a deep carpet that absorbs water and prevents contaminated stormwater runoff. The only drawback? Reforesting on a wide basis takes up to 100 years for complete benefits to kick in.