Musconetcong River Management Council
River Management Plan Update
The Musconetcong River Management Plan forms the basis for managing water quality, recreation, critical wildlife habitat, cultural, historic and pre-historic resources that resulted in roughly half of the Musconetcong River being designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 2006. Periodically, the River Management Plan is updated to include significant changes. Several conditions have changed which are resulting in the creation of a new Plan, and new information is being developed for the River Management Council’s partners.
The original River Management Plan from 2003 was written using land use and zoning information from 2001 and 2002. Following designation in 2006, the Musconetcong River Management Council worked on revisions from 2008 to 2011, resulting in an updated Plan. This plan included some updates regarding the Highlands Water Quality Planning Act, passed in 2004 and implemented in 2008. However, the municipal land use and zoning information largely remained the same. Since then, there have been new policy developments, such as municipal stormwater regulation requirements and land use changes, including the removal of several dams along the Musconetcong River, improvements to fishery habitats and recreational boating.
The current River Management Plan is now more than 10 years old. The Musconetcong has since been designated a National Water Trail, and the lowermost Wild and Scenic River segment of the Musconetcong River will soon be added to the National Wild and Scenic River System. These changes will be incorporated in the next River Management Plan Update.
First Step: Updating the Land Use Zoning in the River Management Plan
The first step in this process was to conduct an analysis of the zoning of the 14 riverfront municipalities in the Wild and Scenic sections of the Musconetcong River. A Zoning Analysis was competitively bid and performed by H2M, a regional firm of professional planners, engineers, and architects. The analysis includes a report for each municipality with zoned land uses, adopted water quality protection ordinances, recommended ordinances prioritized for their water quality benefits, and funding sources to develop the ordinances. The project was completed in March 2021. It was funded by the National Park Service, and materials are publicly available below. The Musconetcong River Management Council and Musconetcong Watershed Association will use the data and analysis gained through this study to guide municipal outreach, river restoration project planning, and updating of each municipality’s section in the River Management Plan.