Wetland Restoration Scenarios Feasibility Study

Application for non-point source project for fiscal year 2002 funds available through 319(h).

Cox Hall Creek Wetland Restoration Scenarios Feasibility Study
  • Huc-14 Code: 02040206230060
  • Watershed Management Area: Watershed Management Area-16
  • Watershed Region: Atlantic Coastal Region
  • Applicant Name:
  • Contact Name: Steve Hampton, 609-465-1065
  • Amount of Money Requested: $100,000
  • Date: September 17, 2001
Grant Tracking Page
  • Type of water body: Stream/estuary
  • Is water body on 303d list? No
  • Anticipated start date: January 2003
  • Anticipated completion date: April 2004
  • NPS Category of Pollutants: 4000 and 7000
  • NPS Functional Category of Activity: 404
Building next to a pool of water and a steep slope to the left of the building and water
Project Description
Cox Hall Creek is a complex drainage system in Lower Township, Cape May County with numerous tributaries. It is affected by development surrounding its perimeter and its Delaware Bay outfall exhibits a seasonal contravention of bacterial standards, as well as elevated levels of ammonia, total phosphate, organic nitrogen, and nitrates. Local residents and visitors use adjacent Delaware Bay beaches for swimming and other recreational activities. Horseshoe crabs use the beaches for annual nesting and the area is on the seasonal flyway for numerous migrating birds. The outfall also has the potential to impact nearby shellfish beds. When the outfall is closed the site becomes eutrophic. There are at least 10 storm water outfall pipes that empty into the creek and many more that bring storm water into this micro watershed. The goal of this project is to develop baseline data and modeling which will result in the development of potential restoration scenarios.

From 1969 to 1990, Cox Hall Creek received treated effluent from the Lower Township MUA sewage treatment plant. In 1971, a pumping station was installed and all flow from the creek was mechanically discharged to the bay. This pumping station restricts tidal backflow of bay water to the creek basin. Historical sampling, (1985 Cox Hall Creek Survey by Cape May County Health Department) which was instrumental in stopping LTMUA from discharging their effluent into the creek, and more recent preliminary investigative sampling has shown a regional impact of likely Non Point Source bacteria and nutrients to the creek. The Cox Hall Creek subcommittee and the Technical Advisory Committee are interested in identifying potential restoration scenarios that may positively impact non-point source pollution factors within the basin. The Cape May County Mosquito Commission monitors and applies chemical pesticides to this area. The development of restoration models and scenarios could provide a long term resolution and minimize pesticide applications. The partners in this project believe that the baseline hydro-logic, geologic, chemical and biological data developed under this grant can be applied to various restoration models to determine a best course of action. Restoration under any model or scenario must enhance the ability of this drainage basin to assimilate the remaining non-point sources of pollution, which cannot be effectively controlled by implementing mitigation measures.

Focus Area
The feasibility study and preliminary design will focus on 5 main areas:
  • Groundwater impact, in particular on the shallow aquifer, that provides primary drinking water to many adjacent residents. The partners anticipate contracting with the U.S. Geological Survey for this aspect of the study.
  • The potential impact on local storm water runoff and flooding under various restoration models. The partners anticipate hiring an engineer to perform detailed topographic analyses of the surrounding terrain to establish potential impacts.
  • Restoration model and scenario development, utilizing the baseline data developed under Items 1 and 2 above, a consultant will be utilized to develop and evaluate restoration models and offer recommended future actions including but not limited to the retrofit of the principal outfall.
  • Non-point source education program directed toward all properties and owners identified as potentially providing non-point source pollution within the basin.
  • Establishment of a continuing monitoring program for site characterization including identification of source nutrients, bacteria, pesticides, herbicides, volatile organics, fauna and flora of the area.
Cape May County has been sampling Cox Hall Creek since 1975. We have a long term commitment to bring all water bodies in the county up to or better then the minimum standards of the state and federal levels.

Upon project completion, restoration and remediation scenarios will have the potential to resolve or mitigate local storm water flooding, non-point source pollution, bacterial contamination, shallow aquifer contamination and fire safety issues. Scenarios could also contribute and improve habitat for local and migrating bird species, decrease pesticide use for mosquito control, and improve bay water quality.

Possible partners for the project include:
  • Area 16 Watershed Management Program
  • Cape May Beach Property Owners Association
  • Cape May County Engineer
  • Cape May County Health Department
  • Cape May County Mosquito Commission
  • Cape May County Planning Department
  • Ducks Unlimited (possible source of additional funding)
  • Lower Township MUA (possible source of additional funding)
  • U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
  • U.S. Geological Service
  • U.S. Wildlife Service (possible source of additional funding)
Cox Hall Creek Public Meeting Reports
View Cox Hall Creek public meeting reports.
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