[The following information has been adapted from resources developed by the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection Division of Watershed Management.]
Watershed Management Area (WMA) 5 drains an area that is roughly 165 sq. miles in size and includes parts of Hudson and Bergen Counties. There are three watersheds in this region: the Hackensack River, the Hudson River, and the Pascack Brook watersheds.
Because of its proximity to New York City and its dense urban centers like Jersey City and Newark, this area is among the most populated of all the watershed management areas. While approximately half of the land is still undeveloped, more than 30% of the land is under residential development. The remaining land is in commercial or industrial uses.
Much of the lower Hackensack River watershed is tidal marsh known as the Hackensack Meadowlands. This area is home to over 700 species of plant and animal, including several rare and endangered species.
Within this region there are many legacy hazardous waste sites, including Superfund sites, which have been sources of contamination for local surface water bodies. As a result, the sale and consumption of species like striped bass and blue crab from these waterways is prohibited. While there still are some industrial discharges into the waterway, today water quality is primarily impacted by nonpoint sources of pollution. They include extensive urban/suburban development, landfill leachate, construction area runoff, and combined sewer overflows. These inputs have contributed to flooding, habitat destruction, and fish community degradation. They have also led to the reduction of dissolved oxygen levels, increased nutrient loadings, and accelerated eutrophication.
Watershed Groups and Allies in the Region: