Starting with the riparian restoration of a stream that feeds into the Musconetcong River located on Hawk Pointe Golf Club property off of Asbury Anderson Road, volunteers began work today on stabilizing the stream banks, preventing soil erosion into the stream, providing shade to the water to address thermo pollution and increasing stream ecosystem and processing capacity for habitat for wildlife.
With the help of the youth corps, the group began planting willow stakes along the waterway this morning, which NJ Audubon Stewardship Project Director John P. Parke said have the ability to grow quickly to five or six feet in just two years.
As a longtime resident and business owner in Warren County and founding member of Musconetcong Watershed Association, Managing Partner of Hawk Pointe Golf Club Richard Cotton said he was glad to partner with NJ Audubon for this project.
“I believe in environmental projects that are good for everyone and good for the planet,” he said.
Covering roughy 2,800 linear feet of stream, the group will also be working at an adjacent property tomorrow for an additional 2,800 linear feet of stream at another C-1 tributary to the Musconetcong.
The next step of the project is to begin large tree plantings at the end of April, which would add an additional level of shade, Parke said.
Recently completing waders in the water training that provides them with an industry recognized credential, the youth corps often focuses on environmental projects.
“It definitely gives me a good sense of pride,” said Zach Oefelein, 18, of Washington Borough. “There aren’t enough people focused on things like this. A lot of our world is focused on what you can get out of nature and not what you can put back into it. I feel like this is the best way you can do it, planting trees out here and improving the ecosystem.”
Agreeing that the work in the cold, muddy waters is actually “quite enjoyable,” 17-year-old Omari Gibson of Phillipsburg said its their way of giving back to a program that has given them so much in terms of furthering their education and completing their GEDs.
Coming at no cost to landowners, the $35 million multi-year initiative to protect and restore critical sources of drinking water for 15 million people throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware is made possible through a grant sponsored by the William Penn Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the federal government.
This is the first of many restorations that they will be doing throughout the region this spring including a site at Merrill Creek Reservoir, according to Parke, however, there is still more that can be done.
“The reality is we have more to give,” Parke said, hoping that additional landowners that have streams or other waterways within the lower Musconetcong, Lopatcong and upper Paulinskill watersheds will reach out to NJ Audobon to take advantage of their free materials.
Additionally, the grant can also help farmers with erosion issues by providing cover crops, all in an effort to improve water quality.
Stay with NJ.com for more on this project.
Emily Cummins may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Twitter @EmilyACummins Find The Warren Reporter on Facebook.