Urban Waters and the Passaic River/Newark (New Jersey)
About the Lower Passaic River
The Passaic River's lower reach is a 17 mile tidal stretch from Dundee Dam in Clifton, NJ, to Newark Bay. The Lower Passaic has borne a heavy burden of pollution from a century of industrialization in the Passaic River Watershed.
Manufacturing has left behind layers of dioxin, mercury, PCBs and many other toxic contaminants in the river's sediments. This pollution, along with harmful disease causing organisms brought in through combined sewer overflow events, has worsened the river's water quality. Fishing and crabbing advisories have been in place since 1984. Poor land-use management has also degraded the river's shorelines and exposed vulnerable, often immigrant populations, to flooding while obstructing access to the waterfront.
To date, two cleanups of the river have been completed. The plan for a third cleanup, bank-to bank for the lower eight-mile stretch of the river, was issued in March 2016. Diverse partners continue to work with parties responsible for the pollution to complete the investigations and river cleanups for the full 17 miles of the river. Residents, local governments, community and environmental groups are working to bring residents back to the river through park creation, education and cultural events.
The Lower Passaic Urban Waters Partnership
The Lower Passaic River Urban Waters Federal Partnership (LPR UWFP) is a collaboration of federal and state agencies, municipalities, and community-based organizations advancing cleanup, restoration, and stewardship of the Lower Passaic River and equitable, sustainable development along its banks. The Partnership is guided by a steering committee made up of two federal co-leads, from EPA and USACE, as well as representatives from the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program, the Trust for Public Land, Ironbound Community Corporation, and NY/NJ Baykeeper.
The Partnership enhances existing work on the Lower Passaic through four main avenues:
- Identifying community-prioritized projects where interagency coordination could accelerate or provide technical expertise in implementation;
- Breaking down agency silos and improving communication surrounding existing federal project;
- Connecting community groups with grant opportunities;
- Growing the constituency for the Lower Passaic River.