Our Mission & Our History
The Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of the Musconetcong River and its Watershed, including its natural and cultural resources.
Musconetcong Watershed Association members are part of a network of individuals, families and organizations that care about the Musconetcong River and its watershed, and are dedicated to improving the watershed resources through public education and awareness programs, river water quality monitoring, promotion of sustainable land management practices and community involvement.
We believe that a community that is fully aware of the importance and vulnerability of its natural resources is a community that will actively support efforts to ensure environmental quality. We carry out our mission through grassroots activities including educational programs in local schools, municipal government outreach, workshops and seminars for the public, stream cleanups and outdoor educational programs. A Board of Trustees and committees that focus on specific activities oversee the operations and programs of the MWA. Five professional staff members conduct the daily operations of the Association.
The region served encompasses the Musconetcong River watershed, a drainage area of 157.6 square miles in northwest New Jersey which includes portions of Morris, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties, and all or parts of 25 municipalities. The Musconetcong River runs 42 miles from Lake Hopatcong to the Delaware River.
In 1992 the MWA was formed by local residents who were concerned about preserving the watershed's unique natural and cultural resources, and how those resources are managed by state and local governing bodies. The founders saw the need for a locally based organization composed of individuals of different backgrounds who held a common goal of promoting a watershed-based approach to land and river resource management.
MWA's earliest efforts included volunteer water quality monitoring, educational seminars for property owners, teachers and local officials, and annual river cleanups. MWA's founders were instrumental in making the Musconetcong River valley a high priority for the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection (NJDEP) Green Acres land acquisition program during the 1990's.
MWA created broad-based local support for a National Wild and Scenic River Study of the Musconetcong River. MWA was the lead organization in developing the "Musconetcong Wild and Scenic Eligibility and Classification Report" that identified the "outstandingly remarkable river-related resources" that qualified the river as being eligible for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Federal designation of the river as 'Wild and Scenic' was achieved at the close of Congressional business in December 2006.
With a current membership base composed of families, businesses and organizations, MWA is active with public educational programs, river cleanups, municipal outreach and ordinance review, water quality monitoring, and promotion of appropriate and scientifically sound state environmental legislation.
More recently MWA has begun an extensive campaign to remove obsolete dams that block the Musconetcong and form pools that negatively impact water quality and harm local ecosystems.
In 2008-2009 MWA constructed the River Resource Center on the river in Asbury, which is now the Association's headquarters. This building was donated by the Riddle family and was designed and renovated to meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design) Platinum standards. The objective of the Board in making the difficult decision to enroll in the LEED program was to demonstrate that small structures designed for environmental sustainability can be affordable, attractive, efficient and comfortable.