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AWA Anchor Points and Proposed Action Agenda

Recommendations from the AWA Assessment
of the Aquetong Creek Watershed (2008-2011)

Water Quality

  1. Homeowners with wells that supply drinking water have responsibilities to their families and the community to monitor and safeguard their water supply. We need to develop a well testing education program and providing guidance so that homeowners can have their well water tested annually to ensure its quality and safety.
  2. We need to work with Solebury Township to ensure passage of the Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan and to educate property owners with onlot septic systems on good management practices to reduce the potential for contamination of the water supply.
  3. There are moderate to high nitrate levels present in the surface and ground water from fertilizers via residential and agricultural sources. We need to educate property owners on how to increase the use of meadows and rain gardens and apply fewer chemicals to lawns; and work with local conservation districts and the county agricultural officials to improve agricultural practices.

Water Quantity

  1. Various studies conducted by Solebury Township have concluded that the Aquetong watershed may have a water deficit of 500,000 gallons per day in normal precipitation years, and 750,000 gallons a day in drought years. Over the past ten years, we have only one drought year and seven years with above average rainfall. Yet, with population increases, continued exporting of waste water outside the watershed to Lambertville, and changes in weather patterns, we could face significant challenges if we are faced with two successive drought years (which has occurred 17 times in the past century). The time to prepare for such a possibility is now.

Watershed Conservation, Protection and Preservation

  1. Our local streams, ponds and lakes experience elevated temperatures during hot summer days, resulting in impaired conditions. The higher water temperature is exacerbated by the impact of dams, impervious surfaces such as parking lots and roads, impounded waters and the lack of adequate tree cover along much of the streambanks. We need to continue to seek ways to reduce the amount of water subjected to dams, improve stormwater and impervious surface ordinances, protect riparian buffers from encroachment, encourage people to stop mowing down to the streambanks, and plant more trees.
  2. Continued development along the Route 202 corridor threatens to create more impervious surfaces and runoff into the Aquetong Creek. We need to be more systematic in our review of proposed developments and re-zoning proposals. In addition, we need to work to improve green and low impact development practices, and create demonstration projects to protect the stream corridors.
  3. Riparian buffers serve a key role in protecting streams from encroachment, pollutants and excessive runoff. We need to be vigilant in finding ways to protect and preserve these areas from development, poor land use practices and poor maintenance.
  4. The region’s infrastructure was severely damaged and altered by the combined impact of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. Many roads are closed, bridges severely damaged, rivers flooded over their banks, lives threatened and there were hundreds of thousands of dollars in property losses. If the natural resource protections that were enacted in the last two decades had not been in place, the impacts of these storms would have been even more severe. We need to continue to work to protect and strengthen ordinances; scrutinize and challenge development that does not sufficiently protect the environment; participate in any comprehensive planning conducted by the township or borough; and work with local governments on the key findings of the assessment and problem areas identified. In addition, we need to be diligent to encourage municipal engineers and Planning Commissions to maintain a holistic perspective of the watershed and the water resource safeguards as projects are reviewed for approval.
  5. We continue to see the advance of invasive plants and the high concentration of the deer population. Invasive plants and deer crowd out or destroy native flora and generally distort the ecological balance of the forests. We need a long-term and integrated program to find ways to restore the balance, by working first in designating areas near the headwaters of main stream stems and proceeding downstream to mitigate negative impacts throughout the watershed.
  6. We need to encourage Solebury Township to diligently develop the Aquetong Lake property for the community. First, the dam and cold water by-pass issues are clear mandates for the Township and need to be resolved. Second, we need remind the Township that a park plan needs to be developed, shared and discussed with the community, and completed with proper phasing. Once a plan is approved, community support and funding need to be secured. The future restoration of a community building is one part of the overall plan to develop the property.
  7. The AWA will meet with Solebury Township and New Hope Borough officials to share the assessment study’s findings and proposed actions. These meetings will also provide us the opportunity to discuss specific issues that may require additional action by the township or borough.