[The following information has been adapted from resources developed by the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection Division of Watershed Management.]
Watershed Management Area (WMA) 3 is situated within the water-rich Highlands geographic province of New Jersey. It lies primarily in Passaic County, but also includes portions of Bergen, Morris, and Sussex Counties. With headwaters in New York State, the Pequannock, Wanaque, and Ramapo Rivers all flow into the Pompton River, which is a key tributary to the Upper Passaic River. This region is home to some of New Jersey’s major water supply reservoir systems, including the Wanaque Reservoir.
There are four watersheds within WMA 3: Pompton, Ramapo, Pequannock, and Wanaque River watersheds.
The Pompton River is the largest tributary by volume to the Passaic River and begins at the confluence of the Pequannock and Ramapo Rivers. This drainage area includes portions of the Ramapo Mountains along the New York-New Jersey border in the rural suburbs of New York City.
The Ramapo River originates in the mountainous region of Orange County, New York and flows south into Bergen County, New Jersey. It flows along the eastern ridge of the Ramapo Mountains through Potash and Pompton Lakes until it reaches its confluence with the Pequannock.
Most of the land in the Pequannock River watershed is forested and protected as parkland or for water supply purposes. The remaining lands are under residential and industrial/commercial use. The Pequannock River experiences excessive summertime water temperatures that could be detrimental to aquatic life and overall water quality.
The Wanaque River watershed flows from its headwaters in Greenwood Lake and Sterling Forest, both of which straddle the New York/New Jersey border. The area is largely undeveloped, consisting of reservoirs, parks, and farms. There is some land in residential development, and less still is currently used for industry and commerce.
A key source of nonpoint pollution in this region is from urban/suburban development. Runoff from housing and road construction, as well as runoff from urban surfaces and storm sewers have contributed significantly to waterway pollution. There is an apparent decline in water quality from siltation and elevated water temperatures. This has degraded fishery habitat and overall water quality in the stream segments where these issues are present.
Watershed Groups and Allies in the Region: