What is the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group?

In 1994, the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders (New Jersey) designated the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCMUA) as the lead agency to develop a Wallkill River Watershed Management Plan. As a result, in March 2000, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) awarded a contract to the SCMUA to facilitate the Wallkill River Watershed Management Project (WRWMP) as part of the New Jersey Watershed Management Program. The project's goal was to bring together major stakeholders including Federal, State, County, and municipal officials, farmers, lake communities, and interested watershed residents to work in partnership to study water quality issues and develop strategies to ensure the restoration of local waterways. Through this process, an organizational entity referred to as the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group (WRWMG) was formed and has taken on the role of "watershed liaison" for all of Sussex County.

For the past seventeen years, the WRWMG has operated under the administrative auspices of the SCMUA and utilized 319(h) non-point source pollution control grants allocated by the NJDEP to restore, enhance, and protect the surface waters of Sussex County, New Jersey. Whether it be conducting water quality monitoring, organizing volunteers to assist with a streamside planting project, assisting local farmers with conservation activities, or even helping a homeowner better understand the stream conditions on his property, the WRWMG continually strives to create a more informed citizenry, foster a greater sense of environmental stewardship, and implement watershed restoration initiatives to help ensure the long-term sustainability of Sussex County’s natural resources for future generations.

The WRWMG is composed of 3 full-time employees, Nathaniel Sajdak (Watershed Director), Eric VanBenschoten (Agricultural Outreach Specialist / Watershed Technician), and Kristine Rogers (Watershed Education and Outreach Specialist) responsible for the day to day tasks of the organization. The success of this team is directly attributed to their intimate knowledge of the watersheds of Sussex County, of which all members have lived and worked for many years.