Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

A hydrologic primer for New Jersey watershed management

January 1, 2000

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), and many other agencies and organizations are striving to educate the public about New Jersey’s water resources. In 1996, the NJDEP began implementing a “watershed management approach” to maintain the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of New Jersey’s waters. This approach concentrates on managing individual watershed areas by (1) defining the physical geographic boundaries of the watersheds, (2) basing water policy on sound scientific principles, and (3) developing partnerships with the public--the people most affected by watershed-management policies.

New Jersey can be divided into five water regions as defined by the NJDEP: the Northeast, Raritan, Northwest, Lower Delaware, and Atlantic Coastal water regions (fig. 1). Each water region has been divided into three to five “watershed-management areas,” each of which encompasses a particular group of major rivers (fig. 2a-e). Each watershed management area consists of many smaller watersheds.

Hydrologic data collected by Federal and State government agencies are invaluable as resources to policymakers who make decisions that affect the use of water in a particular watershed. The purpose of this report is to educate water-resource managers, policymakers, government officials, and the public about hydrologic concepts and the water-resource data needed to make informed decisions about water-management issues. (“Hydrologic” means relating to the occurrence, distribution, movement, and chemistry of all waters of the Earth (Fetter, 1980)). The first part of the report describes basic hydrologic concepts and includes explanations of the hydrologic cycle, the water budget, the surfacewater and ground-water flow systems, water-quality concepts and standards, and water use. The second part of the report summarizes the types of waterresource data that are available from Federal and State government agencies. Instructions on how to obtain the data and contact the appropriate Federal and State agencies, as well as suggestions for additional reading, also are included.

Publication Year 2000
Title A hydrologic primer for New Jersey watershed management
DOI 10.3133/wri004140
Authors Martha K. Watt
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 2000-4140
Index ID wri004140
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse