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Bureau of Freshwater & Biological Monitoring
Chemical/Physical Monitoring; Rivers and Streams
Monitoring Programs
Below is a list of the core Chemical/Physical Water Monitoring programs conducted by the Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring. Click on any program to learn more.

The Ambient Surface Water Quality Monitoring Network is New Jersey’s long-term statewide freshwater monitoring program. Initiated in 1976, the network is a cooperative effort between the DEP's Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring and USGS’ New Jersey Water Science Center, using both State and Federal funds (with some additional funding and input provided by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority). General network objectives include:

Click on the tabs below and left, for project process:

Network Objectives:

  • Continued tracking of status and trends in statewide water quality
  • Investigate and determine background water quality
  • Obtain water quality data that can be correlated with specific land uses
  • Coordinate the collection of water chemistry and biological data at common locations

Measuring flow at a probabilistic site along the Tuckahoe River McDonalds Branch, a reference site located within Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
aswqmnmap2017

Network Design:

Currently, the network consists of 123 monitoring stations. 73 stations are fixed, long-term stations and 50 are re-selected every two years. These 123 stations are divided into 4 groups depending on what objectives they were selected to address. They are as follows;

Long-Term Fixed Monitoring Stations:

  1. Reference/Background stations: Located throughout the state, these 7 stations are sited in undeveloped areas to determine least impacted water quality. This information is used to help gauge the status of water quality at other monitoring locations.
  2. Land Use Indicator stations: There are 43 land use indicator stations. These stations were selected to represent four distinct land use categories; urban, agricultural, undeveloped and mixed. Data obtained from these stations is used to evaluate water quality differences between these various land use categories
  3. Watershed Integrator stations: These 23 stations are located at the pour-point or bottom (above the head of tide) of most of New Jersey’s larger watersheds. Data from these stations provides information on water quality for many of New Jersey’s largest river and stream systems.

Probabilistic stations:
  1. There are 50 probabilistic stations, which are re-selected every two years. These stations are selected using a Generalized Random Tessellation Stratified survey design. The purpose of this design is to enable statistically valid estimates of water quality condition for statewide assessments.

To see the current list of 123 stations, click here.

Sampling Frequency and Parameters:

Sampling for this network is conducted quarterly by both BFBM and USGS staff to obtain data which represents water quality conditions in both warm and cold weather months. Parameters include field parameters which are analyzed on-site (e.g., dissolved oxygen, pH), conventional/nutrient parameters (e.g., phosphorus, total suspended solids), metals parameters (e.g., lead, mercury), pesticides (e.g., atrazine, carbaryl) and sediment parameters (metals, nutrients, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)). To see the full list of parameters, click here.



Field and conventional/nutrient samples are measured or collected at all sites during each quarterly site visit. Metals, pesticides, and sediment samples are collected at a reduced frequency. Metals samples are collected twice a year at all background stations and at a subset (22 reselected every two years) of land use indicator and watershed integrator stations. Pesticide samples are collected once a year all background stations and at a subset (22 reselected every two years) of land use indicator and watershed integrator stations. Sediment samples are collected at a subset (~20 per year) of probabilistic stations.




Click Here for Station List Click Here for QAPP Click Here for Parameter List


Click on the tabs below and left, for project process:

Sampling site in the Lower Delaware Region

Network Objectives:

In 2014, New Jersey employed a rotating regional approach to integrated water quality assessment required under Sections 303(d) and 305(b) of the federal Clean Water Act. Through this approach, the Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards 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 each assessment cycle [every 1-2 years]). This produces 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 region. The Regional Targeted Water Quality Network was established in 2014 to support this approach.

map

Project Design:

During each monitoring cycle (1-2 years), 25 stations are monitored in regions prioritized by the DEP’s Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards. Sites targeted for monitoring are selected based on a list of prioritization criteria (e.g. historical monitoring data, land use variables). A greater emphasis is placed on waters that currently have no water quality data or ones that are lacking enough data to make assessment decisions.

Beginning in 2019, monitoring will be conducted in the Northeast and Raritan regions for a period of one year.

See the map or click on the station list button below for the 25 current monitoring stations as well as information on previously monitored stations.

Sampling site located in the Upper Delaware region

Sampling Frequency and Parameters:

To achieve a comprehensive dataset, the network monitoring stations are sampled 10 times per year for 1 - 2 years at a time (once a month excluding November and January) for most parameters (metals parameters sampled four times per year). Sampling regions are then rotated resulting in a complete assessment of the entire state every 10 years. Network stations are sampled for a variety of physical and chemical parameters, such as the following.

  • Field parameters are analyzed immediately on-site and include dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, conductivity, and turbidity.
  • Conventional/nutrient parameters (e.g., Phosphorus, Total Suspended solids)
  • Metals parameters (e.g. Lead, Mercury).
  • A full list of sampled parameters can be found here



Click Here for Station List Click Here for QAPP Click Here for Parameter List


Click on the tabs below and left, for project process:

Barnegat Bay Restoration logo

Project Objectives:

In 2013, the Barnegat Bay Long-Term Ambient Monitoring Program was established to monitor changes in water quality over time and to document changes produced through restoration efforts within the watershed. The program is also part of the DEP’s Barnegat Bay Restoration, Enhancement and Protection Strategy. To view information about the overall strategy, click here.

Project Design:

As of 2018, monitoring is being conducted at 35 stations within the Barnegat Bay watershed. The Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring and several partner organizations are responsible for monitoring at 18 freshwater tributary stations. The Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring is responsible for monitoring at 17 bay locations.

Wangle BrookMeasuring flow at Wrangle Brook

Sampling Frequency and Parameters:

Sampling is being conducted at all 35 locations on a monthly basis. Network stations are sampled for a variety of physical and chemical parameters, such as the following.

  • Field parameters are analyzed immediately on-site and include dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, conductivity, and turbidity.
  • Conventional/nutrient parameters (e.g., Phosphorus, Total Suspended solids)
  • A full list of sampled parameters can be found by clicking the button below.
Continuous monitoring of water quality parameters is also conducted at several of the bay monitoring stations. That data can be viewed on and downloaded from the Division’s continuous monitoring website.



Click on the tabs below and left, for project process:

downloading data from a deployed temperature logger

Project Objectives:

The monthly or quarterly sampling of streams are part of discrete monitoring efforts, in which individual distinct water samples are collected. Continuous monitoring involves using data loggers and sondes with sensors and probes to collect water quality data at pre-determined intervals (often at 15 or 30 minutes) for a specified period. Continuous monitoring plays an important role in freshwater monitoring. In addition to characterizing baseline stream conditions more completely, continuous monitoring gives insight on diurnal (daily) and seasonal fluctuations that may not be seen with monthly or quarterly discrete sampling. Often, sites selected for continuous monitoring have been targeted for a specific parameter of concern, such as diurnal fluctuations in dissolved oxygen. During the day, in warm summer months, dissolved oxygen, may become dangerously low and produce anoxic conditions. Such conditions may not be captured by discrete sampling.

monitoriing

Project Design:

Currently, 40 sites are being targeted for continuous monitoring statewide. Often, sites are selected to assess water quality standards for certain parameters at specific streams. Other sites may have historical discrete data that suggest an exceedance of current surface quality standards in one or more parameters.

monitoriing

Sampling Frequency and Parameters:

Currently, continuous monitoring is used on a limited number of parameters (e.g. temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen). Other parameters such as total suspended solids and copper are still only monitored by discrete sample collection.

Using single or multi-parameter data loggers and sondes, measurements are recorded at a specific time interval (every 15 minutes, 30 minutes) for a designated period, depending on project goals. For example, for diurnal dissolved oxygen monitoring, devices are deployed during the growing season (when photosynthetic activity will likely affect parameters such as dissolved oxygen) anywhere from a few days to several months.

Data from the year 2010 to present is made available to the public at the Division of Water Monitoring & Standards Continuous Data Monitoring website. This data, along with more information on the Division-wide effort for continuous monitoring, can be found by clicking the button below. Data prior to 2010 is available through the National Water Quality Portal as summary statistics (minimum value, maximum value, etc.). Please contact the Bureau for full data sets for this older data.

Click Here for more information on the Division-wide effort for continuous monitoring


 

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Last Updated: December 11, 2018