In 2007, North Jersey RC&D began a long-term stream stabilization and wetland mitigation project on a reach of the Walnut Brook. North Jersey RC&D has been working to construct forested wetlands, implement innovative bio-engineering practices along two severely eroding meanders of the Walnut Brook, and restore the riparian buffer. The project, known as the Walnut Brook Riparian Restoration Project, is located within Raritan Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, located in Mine Brook Park and on the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance’s (HLTA) Dvoor Farm property just south of Mine Brook Park. Construction occurred in 2009 and 2010.
Through this project, the stream channel was reconnected to its floodplain, and a total of 13 acres of wetland and riparian habitat were restored. Project partners completed a thorough assessment of the site and watershed hydrology. Utilizing a design team approach the restoration plan has been developed and is being implemented. There are numerous members included in the project team who are committed to providing in-kind resources to ensure the project’s success.
Earthmoving activities included removal of fill from the floodplain in order to reestablish the natural floodplain topography as it existed prior to the conversion to agriculture. Stream stabilization measures consisted of in-stream grade control features to reconnect the stream to the floodplain to mitigate the channel incision. Wetland restoration techniques were applied to floodplain areas to restore the historic wetland hydrology (through surface and subsurface sources). The riparian plant community was restored and enhanced through the removal of invasive and exotic vegetation and the establishment of native riparian and palustrine forest plant communities.
The project also included the restoration/creation of two acres of riverine wetland in floodplains along Walnut Brook on the HLTA property. Natural wetland hydrology was restored to two acres of floodplain by a combination of raising the level of Walnut Brook through grade control and natural stream channel design and removing soil from the floodplain. These areas were planted to native riverine wetland herbaceous and woody vegetation.