The Great Swamp Watershed Association’s List of 25 Concerns of Homeowners in the Watershed
Clean Water: We must maintain water quality and water supplies by protecting and preserving our watershed and its lakes, rivers and streams. To secure clean, safe and affordable drinking water for present and future generations, we must protect and conserve land and water resources today.
Water Supplies: We want to ensure the proper response to water supply drought emergencies and we need better education on water conservation practices.
Natural Areas: We must preserve and protect our natural areas so that we can enjoy our beautiful trees, scenic areas, plant diversity and wildlife habitat for many generations to come.
Recreational Trails: We want safe and accessible trails for hiking, biking and walking.
Parks and Recreation: We must provide safe, clean, attractive, and easily accessible recreational areas such as neighborhood parks, playgrounds, ball fields and other places where people can play safely.
Sprawl: Development pressures are intense and open space is disappearing at an alarming rate in our watershed. In order to preserve the quality of our water, we need to make sure our communities use “smart” growth rather than growing in an uncontrolled and unplanned way.
Land-preservation Agreements: We want to protect land in order to preserve our natural areas. How can conservation easements allow owners to continue to hold the land in their deed but also promote proper protection of wildlife habitats and natural areas?
Land Use Regulations: The local land use regulations required to create the proper balance between homeowner rights and community interests, including water and land issues, can sometimes be complex, cumbersome and difficult to understand.
Deer Control: We must control the over-population of deer in the area. White-tailed deer have reached problematic numbers in many suburban communities in New Jersey. Increased deer-vehicle collisions, damage to ornamental plantings and gardens, damage to agricultural crops and destruction of the natural forest ecosystem are some of the problems associated with high deer populations.
Food Quality: We want access to natural and organic food products without harmful pesticides and chemicals. While we want affordable, safe, and high quality meat and poultry, we want to also support humane living conditions for the animals.
Ocean Pollution: We are concerned that our oceans are soon to be in trouble. Our world’s fish stocks are disappearing from our seas because they have been over-fished or harvested using damaging fishing practices.
Rising Costs of Energy: We are concerned about the rising costs of energy, ways to conserve energy and the longer-term availability of energy sources. We want to understand more about energy-efficient and environmentally sound buildings and practices that can reduce the annual operating cost of running a household or business. We want to learn more about attractive alternative options to fossil fuels that could decrease costs as well as harmful emissions.
Pests and Plant Diseases: We are concerned about injurious insects, such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle; diseases, such as Bacterial Leaf Scorch infecting our native Oak trees; and invasive plants that threaten our gardens and our natural environments.
Lawn and Garden: We want a dense, healthy lawn that makes our home more attractive and valuable, but we also know that how we care for our lawn and garden has an impact on the environment and ultimately on our waterways and ground water. We know that fertilizers and pesticides used on home lawns and gardens can be a significant source of water pollution.
Chemical Use: We need better education and help on how to dispose of toxic materials and other household hazardous waste cleaners, and we need to better understand the impact of municipal road salting.
Education: We want programs that foster environmental awareness and promote environmental education in our schools and communities so that future generations can develop personal responsibility toward the environment and its stewardship.
Traffic Congestion and Transportation infrastructure: Our watershed contains Interstate and State highways with major traffic congestion. In addition, New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure is in dire need of repair, including massive road repairs and maintenance. Mass transit is key to easing transportation problems; facilitating metropolitan commuting is important for the many citizens who work in New York City. Local municipalities need to support mass transit with parking as well as safe bike and pedestrian paths.
Property Value: We all want to protect our property values; however, we are concerned that the sky-high value of property in the watershed and its surrounding area might limit the area’s diversity and keep seniors and young people from the area.
Taxes: We are very concerned about high property taxes in the communities in the watershed, which limits the affordability of the area.
Air Pollution: We must have clean air if we are to have a healthy environment. Our proximity to New York City and the car traffic, our factories and power plants, our gasoline stations, printers, and dry cleaners all emit hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which generate ozone and cause smog.
Noise Pollution: We are concerned about increased noise pollution in the watershed, with cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and airplanes all producing excessive noise. Add to this the noise of major construction equipment like jackhammers and bulldozers and the huge increase in mechanized lawn maintenance equipment, and we have a problem that affects everyone in the Watershed, physically and mentally.
Health Issues: Human health depends upon the health of the environment. To protect ourselves and our children, we must do everything we can to protect the Watershed.
Waste Management: We want fact-based assessments of the public interest in recycling, waste reduction and composting. We need to generate awareness about ways to reduce waste and understand what can be recycled. Also, we need to alert residents that landfills are quickly filling to capacity, and we need an alternate solution.
Wastewater Management: We are concerned about our watershed’s wastewater management plan and with the quality of the output of the sewage treatment plant; how do we control and measure the wastewater entering the system and the effluent out of the system, and the quality of the water before and after it enters the treatment plant?
Stormwater Management: We are concerned about both the quality and quantity of stormwater. We need to protect the stormwater system from sources of pollution and prevent people from illegally dumping leaves, debris, motor oil or hazardous chemicals in our stormwater collection systems, which are then carried into our wetlands and streams. We are also concerned about managing stormwater to reduce the impact of development on local watersheds and aquifers by minimizing the disruption in the natural flow.