Apr 09, 2020

New Jersey's Cooper River Gets Upgraded Protections

The Cooper River is being upgraded to Category One

cooper river

New Jersey has upgraded the protection status of 600 miles of rivers and streams as a means to limit pollution and development. 

This includes a two-mile stretch of the Cooper River as it runs through Camden, which would make it the first urban waterway with such safeguards in place, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) adopted the rule, known as Surface Water Quality Standards. This upgraded the 600 miles of waterways to Category One, which is a level that seeks to limit pollution and development.

The new designations would mean nearly 7,000 miles of New Jersey’s 23,500 will now carry the Category One protection, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As of now, New Jersey has three levels of classification for freshwater streams, creeks, rivers and lakes: outstanding National Resource Waters, which is the utmost protective tier, and then Category One and Category Two.

A Category One designation means that segments of the Cooper River closest to the Delaware will get additional protection, such as: requiring a 300 foot buffer against development; tougher standards for discharges from businesses and sewage treatment plants; and more monitoring.

Category One also offers additional protections to ensure water quality and to discourage development harmful to natural resources, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. This is the first time in more than a decade that the state has upgraded designations for its waterways.

The Cooper River, for instance, will be more protected from past the Cooper Lake dam at the Pennsauken border and through the city to the Delaware River.

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