[The following information has been adapted from resources developed by the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection Division of Watershed Management.]
Watershed Management Area (WMA) 2, or the Wallkill River Watershed, includes 11 townships in Sussex County. The headwaters of this river system originate at Lake Mohawk in the township of Sparta, and then flow north into New York and eventually draining into the Hudson River.
The watershed covers roughly 208 sq. miles in New Jersey (785 sq. miles in total area including the New York portion) and is comprised of a variety of land uses, including residential development, agriculture, and commercial, recreational and industrial facilities. However, the area is predominantly rural in character. The largest towns are Vernon, Sparta, Franklin, and Sussex. Also located within this watershed area is the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge watershed/wetlands complex provides migratory and nesting habitats for numerous birds and waterfowl and is home to several endangered species.
The four sub-watersheds of WMA 2 are the Upper Wallkill, the Lower Wallkill, Papakating Creek, and Black Creek. The key tributaries flowing into the Wallkill River are the Papakating (15 miles long) and Pochuck (8 miles long). Creeks, lakes, and impoundments in this watershed include Lake Mohawk at the headwaters, Newton Reservoir, Lake Grinnell, Wawayanda Lake, and many more.
Elevated nutrient and bacteria levels have been detected in the Wallkill River and its tributaries, and sedimentation, streambank erosion, and degraded natural habitats are also growing problems. An evaluation of the nonpoint source pollution in this watershed has shown a shift from agricultural sources to those resulting from increasing urbanization.
Watershed Groups and Allies in the Region: