Governor Phil Murphy • Lt.Governor Sheila Oliver
NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs  
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Home | About DEP | Index by Topic | Programs/Units | DEP Online 

  Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards

Water Quality Assessment


New Jersey's surface waters provide much of the water used for drinking water supplies, recreation, fishing, boating, swimming, commercial fisheries including shellfish, and tourism, all of which support our State’s ecology, economy, and quality of life for our residents. New Jersey conducts a statewide assessment of water quality every two years. This includes an intensive assessment of one of New Jersey’s five water regions (see adjacent map) each assessment cycle. A different water region is selected each assessment cycle (see image below), on a rotating basis. Learn more about Integrated Water Quality Assessment, the Rotating Regional Approach, and the Assessment Program by clicking on the bars below.

  • Develop restoration plans and implement actions for nonpoint sources of impairment
  • Develop TMDLs for point sources of impairment
  • Develop protection plans for healthy watersheds
  • Meet with stakeholders

  • Share information

  • Identify issues and priorities
  • Compile and evaluate data
  • Assess attainment of applicable standards and support of designated uses
  • Identify impaired waters and causes and sources of impairment
  • Work with Partners

  • Target Intensive Monitoring

  • Collect Data During Critical Periods

Hover (or tap if on mobile device) on each section of the diagram above to view more info about that stage of the cycle.

Click here to enlarge the map.




Integrated Water Quality Assessment

New Jersey employs an integrated approach to assessing water quality by compiling a vast amount of water monitoring data and related information collected by numerous sources throughout the State and evaluating it to determine the health of New Jersey’s surface waters. This statewide assessment of water quality is conducted every two years and includes an intensive assessment of one of the five water regions each assessment cycle. A different water region is selected each assessment cycle, on a rotating basis. This integrated water quality assessment process is used to determine if water quality conditions have changed over time; if water quality standards are met and if designated uses, such as recreation and water supply, are fully supported; to identify causes and sources of water quality impairment; and to develop restoration strategies for impaired waters and protection strategies for healthy waters. New Jersey’s integrated water quality assessment process includes assessing if all freshwaters fully support the drinking water supply use, it does not assess drinking water quality. Information about drinking water quality is available from the Division of Water Supply and Geoscience’s website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/.


Rotating Regional Approach

Since 2014, New Jersey has employed a rotating regional approach to integrated water quality assessment required under Sections 303(d) and 305(b) of the federal Clean Water Act. Under this approach, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection conducts a streamlined assessment of statewide water quality along with a more comprehensive, detailed assessment of water quality in one of New Jersey’s five water regions, Atlantic Coastal, Raritan, Lower Delaware, Upper Delaware and Northeast (see figure) each assessment cycle. This rotating regional approach will produce a comprehensive assessment of the entire state every ten years and will support development of measures to restore, maintain, and enhance water quality tailored to the unique circumstances of each regions. This approach is consistent with recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) guidance for administering the federal Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Program entitled: “A Long-term Vision for Assessment, Restoration, and Protection under the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Program”, as explained in New Jersey’s approach for implementing the new USEPA guidance, entitled: “New Jersey’s Vision Approach for Assessment, Restoration, and Protection of Water Resources under the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Program”.


Program Description

NJDEP’s water quality standards, monitoring, and assessment programs provide the scientific foundation for restoration and protection of New Jersey’s water resources in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act and the New Jersey Water Quality Planning Act. These programs have been integrated into a comprehensive monitoring, assessment, and restoration program implemented through a rotating basin approach that will produce a comprehensive assessment of the entire State every ten years. The primary purpose of the integrated water quality assessment program is to determine the health of New Jersey’s water resources. We do this every two years by compiling a vast amount of data and information collected by numerous sources and evaluating this information to assess water quality conditions and support of designated uses, identify sources and causes of water quality impairment, and develop restorative responses. The results of these biennial assessments are published in New Jersey’s Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (Integrated Report) and are used to inform and guide water quality monitoring, restoration and protection efforts conducted at the state, regional, watershed and local levels. This information is also used by Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and the state decision-makers to establish program priorities and funding for restoring, maintaining, enhancing and protecting waters and the uses and benefits (public health, environmental, and economic) they provide.

The federal Clean Water Act mandates that states submit biennial reports to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) describing the quality of their waters. The biennial Statewide Water Quality Inventory Report or "305(b) Report" must include the status of principal waters in terms of overall water quality and support of designated uses, as well as strategies to maintain and improve water quality. The 305(b) reports are used by Congress and USEPA to establish program priorities and funding for federal and state water resource management programs. The biennial List of Water Quality Limited Waters or "303(d) List" identifies waters that are not attaining designated uses because they do not meet surface water quality standards despite the implementation of technology-based effluent limits. States must prioritize waters on the 303(d) List of Water Quality Limited Waters for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development and identify those high priority waters for which they anticipate establishing TMDLs in the next two years.

In 2002, New Jersey combined these requirements into one biennial, integrated water quality assessment report that provides the information about New Jersey's water resources, current water quality conditions, and causes and sources of water quality impairment needed to inform and guide water quality monitoring, restoration and protection efforts conducted at the state, regional, watershed and local levels. The Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report (Integrated Report) combines and satisfies the reporting and public participation requirements of Sections 305(b) and 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act (along with Section 314 Clean Lakes Program).

The information provided in the Integrated Reports is also used to establish funding and implementation priorities for enhancing and protecting waters of the State and the uses and benefits (public health, environmental, and economic) they provide. Information about older Integrated Reports is available under the
“Previous Assessments” tab, above.


As explained under the Overview, New Jersey has employed a rotating regional approach to integrated water quality assessment since 2014. Under this approach, New Jersey conducts a streamlined assessment of statewide water quality along with a more comprehensive, detailed assessment of water quality in one of the state’s five water regions - Atlantic Coastal, Raritan, Lower Delaware, Upper Delaware and Northeast (see figure) - each assessment cycle. This rotating regional approach will produce a comprehensive assessment of the entire state every ten years based on the following schedule:

Water Region Integrated Report
Atlantic Coastal 2014
Raritan 2016
Lower Delaware 2018
Upper Delaware 2020
Northeast 2022
Atlantic Coastal 2024

Click on the bars below for the assessment status and results for each Water Region and its corresponding Integrated Report, or on the tabs above for information about actions underway in each Water Region.

2014 Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report (Final)










2016 Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report (In Progress)










2018 Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report (In Progress)











Integrated water quality assessment is an ongoing process that involves four key, iterative steps: public outreach and stakeholder/partner engagement, water quality monitoring, water quality assessment and implementation of restoration and protection plans and actions. Surface water quality standards, as well as monitoring design and assessment methods, are continuously updated to reflect advances in scientific knowledge about linkages between standards and use support and improved analytical methods and field procedures. Data monitoring helps to assess condition of waters, identify sources of impairment, develop restorative responses, and measure the effectiveness of the responses, leading to target strategies that address the verified causes and sources of impairment. This process is critical to ensuring that New Jersey’s waters are safe for swimming and recreation, fish and shellfish harvested from our waters are safe for eating, water supply sources are safe for drinking, and aquatic life is healthy and sustainable.

The tabs above provide information about the status of each water region as well as results of current and previous assessments. The bars below offer additional information about the rotating regional approach, the assessment program, and general watershed information.











  • Develop restoration plans and implement actions for nonpoint sources of impairment
  • Develop TMDLs for point sources of impairment
  • Develop protection plans for healthy watersheds
  • Meet with stakeholders

  • Share information

  • Identify issues and priorities
  • Compile and evaluate data
  • Assess attainment of applicable standards and support of designated uses
  • Identify impaired waters and causes and sources of impairment
  • Work with Partners

  • Target Intensive Monitoring

  • Collect Data During Critical Periods

Integrated water quality assessment is an ongoing process that involves four key, iterative steps: public outreach and stakeholder/partner engagement, water quality monitoring, water quality assessment and implementation of restoration and protection plans and actions. Surface water quality standards, as well as monitoring design and assessment methods, are continuously updated to reflect advances in scientific knowledge about linkages between standards and use support and improved analytical methods and field procedures. Data monitoring helps to assess condition of waters, identify sources of impairment, develop restorative responses, and measure the effectiveness of the responses, leading to target strategies that address the verified causes and sources of impairment. This process is critical to ensuring that New Jersey’s waters are safe for swimming and recreation, fish and shellfish harvested from our waters are safe for eating, water supply sources are safe for drinking, and aquatic life is healthy and sustainable.

The tabs above provide information about the status of each water region as well as results of current and previous assessments. The bars below offer additional information about the rotating regional approach, the assessment program, and general watershed information.











  • Develop restoration plans and implement actions for nonpoint sources of impairment
  • Develop TMDLs for point sources of impairment
  • Develop protection plans for healthy watersheds
  • Meet with stakeholders

  • Share information

  • Identify issues and priorities
  • Compile and evaluate data
  • Assess attainment of applicable standards and support of designated uses
  • Identify impaired waters and causes and sources of impairment
  • Work with Partners

  • Target Intensive Monitoring

  • Collect Data During Critical Periods

Integrated water quality assessment is an ongoing process that involves four key, iterative steps: public outreach and stakeholder/partner engagement, water quality monitoring, water quality assessment and implementation of restoration and protection plans and actions. Surface water quality standards, as well as monitoring design and assessment methods, are continuously updated to reflect advances in scientific knowledge about linkages between standards and use support and improved analytical methods and field procedures. Data monitoring helps to assess condition of waters, identify sources of impairment, develop restorative responses, and measure the effectiveness of the responses, leading to target strategies that address the verified causes and sources of impairment. This process is critical to ensuring that New Jersey’s waters are safe for swimming and recreation, fish and shellfish harvested from our waters are safe for eating, water supply sources are safe for drinking, and aquatic life is healthy and sustainable.

The tabs above provide information about the status of each water region as well as results of current and previous assessments. The bars below offer additional information about the rotating regional approach, the assessment program, and general watershed information.











  • Develop restoration plans and implement actions for nonpoint sources of impairment
  • Develop TMDLs for point sources of impairment
  • Develop protection plans for healthy watersheds
  • Meet with stakeholders

  • Share information

  • Identify issues and priorities
  • Compile and evaluate data
  • Assess attainment of applicable standards and support of designated uses
  • Identify impaired waters and causes and sources of impairment
  • Work with Partners

  • Target Intensive Monitoring

  • Collect Data During Critical Periods

Integrated water quality assessment is an ongoing process that involves four key, iterative steps: public outreach and stakeholder/partner engagement, water quality monitoring, water quality assessment and implementation of restoration and protection plans and actions. Surface water quality standards, as well as monitoring design and assessment methods, are continuously updated to reflect advances in scientific knowledge about linkages between standards and use support and improved analytical methods and field procedures. Data monitoring helps to assess condition of waters, identify sources of impairment, develop restorative responses, and measure the effectiveness of the responses, leading to target strategies that address the verified causes and sources of impairment. This process is critical to ensuring that New Jersey’s waters are safe for swimming and recreation, fish and shellfish harvested from our waters are safe for eating, water supply sources are safe for drinking, and aquatic life is healthy and sustainable.

The tabs above provide information about the status of each water region as well as results of current and previous assessments. The bars below offer additional information about the rotating regional approach, the assessment program, and general watershed information.











  • Develop restoration plans and implement actions for nonpoint sources of impairment
  • Develop TMDLs for point sources of impairment
  • Develop protection plans for healthy watersheds
  • Meet with stakeholders

  • Share information

  • Identify issues and priorities
  • Compile and evaluate data
  • Assess attainment of applicable standards and support of designated uses
  • Identify impaired waters and causes and sources of impairment
  • Work with Partners

  • Target Intensive Monitoring

  • Collect Data During Critical Periods

Integrated water quality assessment is an ongoing process that involves four key, iterative steps: public outreach and stakeholder/partner engagement, water quality monitoring, water quality assessment and implementation of restoration and protection plans and actions. Surface water quality standards, as well as monitoring design and assessment methods, are continuously updated to reflect advances in scientific knowledge about linkages between standards and use support and improved analytical methods and field procedures. Data monitoring helps to assess condition of waters, identify sources of impairment, develop restorative responses, and measure the effectiveness of the responses, leading to target strategies that address the verified causes and sources of impairment. This process is critical to ensuring that New Jersey’s waters are safe for swimming and recreation, fish and shellfish harvested from our waters are safe for eating, water supply sources are safe for drinking, and aquatic life is healthy and sustainable.

The tabs above provide information about the status of each water region as well as results of current and previous assessments. The bars below offer additional information about the rotating regional approach, the assessment program, and general watershed information.











  • Develop restoration plans and implement actions for nonpoint sources of impairment
  • Develop TMDLs for point sources of impairment
  • Develop protection plans for healthy watersheds
  • Meet with stakeholders

  • Share information

  • Identify issues and priorities
  • Compile and evaluate data
  • Assess attainment of applicable standards and support of designated uses
  • Identify impaired waters and causes and sources of impairment
  • Work with Partners

  • Target Intensive Monitoring

  • Collect Data During Critical Periods



Photo Credit: NJDEP


Photo Credit: NJDEP


Photo Credit: NJDEP


Photo Credit: NJDEP
Previous Assessments


2012


2010


2008


2006


2004


2002


1975-2000

The following historic reports are available from New Jersey's electronic digital library using the links provided:




   
For more information, please contact Kimberly Cenno, Bureau Chief,
Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards at (609) 633-1441.

Department: NJDEP Home | About DEP | Index by Topic | Programs/Units | DEP Online
Statewide: NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2018
Last Updated: May 24, 2018