WMA 6: Upper Passaic, Whippany, Rockaway

[The following information has been adapted from resources developed by the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection Division of Watershed Management.]

WMA 6 HighlightWatershed Management Area (WMA) 6 represents the area drained by waters from the upper reaches of the Passaic River Basin. This includes the Passaic River from its headwaters in Morris County to the confluence of the Pompton River. This area encompasses parts of Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Essex Counties and includes the Upper and Middle Passaic River, Whippany River, and Rockaway River watersheds. This region is vitally important as it provides drinking water for much of northeastern New Jersey.

The Upper Passaic River serves as a major source of drinking water for a large portion of northeastern New Jersey. About half of the land in this watershed is undeveloped or vacant, and the rest is primarily residential and commercial. However, development has been increasing in traditionally rural areas.

There are a multitude of land uses in the Rockaway River area, including forests, parkland, residential development, and commercial/industrial zones. The  waterway is popular with fishermen in search of small mouth bass, as well as the stocked rainbow and brown trout. Suburban development within this area has been increasing over the years.

Urban/suburban development is currently impacting water quality in the Whippany River as well. Runoff from construction sites, stormwater discharges, urban surfaces, and the loss of riparian vegetation are suspected of contributing to siltation in the river. This has resulted in the degraded trout habitat within the waterway.

In general, major water quality issues within WMA 6 include siltation, high stream temperatures, and the loss of riparian vegetation.

Watershed Groups and Allies in the Region:

Great Swamp Watershed Association
Passaic River Coalition
Rockaway River Watershed Cabinet
Whippany River Watershed Action Committee