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Tuesday, July 23, 2024


The Lower Passaic River Restoration Project is an interagency effort to remediate and restore the ecosystem of the Lower Passaic River, which is the 17-mile tidally-influenced portion of the river located in northeastern New Jersey. The restoration goals for the Lower Passaic River are:

  • To create, enhance, and restore habitat.
  • To enhance plant and animal communities.
  • To improve water quality and sediment quality.
  • To support human use of the river.

The restoration goals of the Lower Passaic River are consistent with the larger goals established for the Hudson-Raritan Estuary and the New York/New Jersey Harbor. Click here for more information on the Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the Hudson-Raritan Estuary.

Focused Ecosystem Restoration Plan

The Focused Ecosystem Restoration Plan (FERP) is being developed to provide stakeholders with a vision of the Lower Passaic River. The FERP will provide conceptual designs and planning for potential restoration opportunity sites along the main riparian corridor of the Lower Passaic River. To maintain integration under the Urban River Restoration Initiative, the FERP is anticipated to be a companion document to the Focused Feasibility Study, which addresses CERCLA-related remediation in the lower 8 miles of the river.

Click here to download the restoration opportunities that have been identified to date which include existing data about the site, a proposed conceptual restoration plan and the Target Ecosystem Characteristics (TECs) that can be implemented within each footprint. The TECs that could be advanced at each site will advance the overall goals and targets outlined in the Hudson Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan.

The FERP will be based on previous planning documents, work group sessions, and field work conducted in the river, including:

Vegetation Sampling, Wetland Delineation, and Bio-Benchmark Report [December 2008] and Plant Resource Document [October 2008]

The USACE conducted vegetation studies at selected sites along the Lower Passaic River, its tributaries, and at reference sites during fall 2007 and spring 2008. Wetland delineations and bio-benchmarking were also conducted at select locations. The first document, "Vegetation Sampling Report," describes the field methods and findings of the sampling events. The results of the Vegetation Sampling Report were then used for the preparation of the second document, "Plant Resource Document," which provides a comprehensive list of plant species, recommended plantings zones, planting windows, and habitat recommendations to be restored. Both of these documents provide information that will aid in future restoration sampling and planning efforts for the Study. Click here to review the Vegetation Sampling Report, and click here to review the Plant Resource Document.

Restoration Opportunities [July 2006]

The Restoration Opportunities Report presents and describes potential restoration opportunities in the Lower Passaic River. The report was developed to facilitate the coordination of restoration-related actions among the involved regional stakeholders and the public.

Potential restoration opportunity sites were initially identified through an open nomination process, a computer-based screening process, and field reconnaissance efforts. Click here for a summary of the October 2004 field reconnaissance report, and click here for a summary of the December 2004-February 2005 field reconnaissance report.

Restoration Work Group [July 2006]
The Restoration Work Group met on July 26, 2006 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the USEPA offices at 290 Broadway, New York. Click here for the minutes from this Work Group. At the meeting, the agencies discussed their restoration visions and goals for the Lower Passaic River. For more information, click here for the slide presentation, and click here for the proposed Table of Contents of the Lower Passaic River restoration planning document. The group also discussed potential restoration opportunities (click here for the Draft Restoration Vision Balancing Ecosystem and Human Use Map and click here for the potential Restoration Actions Table).

Sediment Profile Imaging Report [August 2005] and Taxonomic Identification of Benthic Invertebrates Report [September 2005]
The Sediment Profiling Imaging (SPI) Report presents results from sediment sampling activities in the Lower Passaic River in June 2005. The goal of the report was to characterize the physical and biological conditions of surface sediments as well as assess intertidal and subtidal benthic habitats. The Taxonomic Identification of Benthic Invertebrates Report presents the result of a benthic community survey conducted in the river between June and July 2005 to identify benthic invertebrate fauna. The results of the SPI and benthic community surveys will be used to construct a profile of the benthic community and habitat in the Lower Passaic River.

Environmental Resource Inventory Biological Literature Review [December 2004]:
The Environmental Resource Inventory: Biological Literature Review examines the existing biological data for the Lower Passaic River. Data were obtained from various documents and databases authored by several government agencies and private sources.

Ecosystem Functional Assessment Technical Memorandum [August 2004]:
The Ecological Functional Assessment (EFA) Technical Memorandum documents the methodologies and metrics that may be used to guide the Lower Passaic River restoration. These methodologies and metrics will form the foundation for the habitat assessment technique, which will be used to establish existing ecological conditions in the river; formulate habitat restoration alternatives; determine success criteria following implementation of restoration projects; and quantify increases in ecological outputs associated with proposed restoration plans.

The FERP will also incorporate previous restoration planning concepts that have been developed for the Lower Passaic River. These restoration concepts incorporate visions of future use of the river developed by local municipalities.  

Lower Passaic River Restoration Planning Concepts [October 2008]
Restoration planning concepts for six restoration opportunity sites along the Lower Passaic River have been developed (click here for poster displaying concepts). Current site conditions and the restoration visions for each site are illustrated with the following landscape artistry:

Vision Maps for Future Use of the River [July 2010]

When developing restoration planning concepts, local municipalities were contacted to understand their vision of the future uses of the Lower Passaic River. Over 70 surveys were mailed to representatives of approximately 17 municipalities in the study area. A total of 13 surveys were returned covering areas within Clifton, Rutherford, Nutley, East Rutherford, Belleville, Bloomfield, Kearny, East Newark, Harrison, Bayonne, and Elizabeth. In addition to these surveys, master plans from Newark, Harrison, Kearny and Belleville were obtained to identify potential redevelopment initiatives in the future. Vision maps for the future use of the Lower Passaic River were then developed. Click here for the vision map associated with RM0 to RM8, and click here for the vision map associated with RM8 to Dundee Dam.