By Amanda Valenti
Protection of the Ramapo River has been an issue for years. Finally, something is going to be done about it rather than just talk. The Ramapo River provides drinking water for over 200,000 residents. At times, the Wanaque Reservoir system also taps into the Ramapo supply.
Protection of this watershed will support cleaner water to maintain aquatic life, recreational use, public bathing, drinking water, and shell fishing. So good planning across the board is important.
The Ramapo River has been very popular with those who enjoy fly fishing. Every year around 3,000 trout are placed into the river for fisherman. Brown Trout, Brook Trout, and Rainbow Trout are the species present in the Ramapo River. People who enjoy this sport know where the deep pockets of the river are located and prefer to do their fishing there.
Another issue is the storm runoff. During large storms, the Ramapo River floods certain areas, sometimes causing severe damage. Because of this, a flood protection program has been initiated to control the river during such storms.
Because so many people depend on this water, keeping it clean is essential. Not only is it the main supply of water for many residents, it is also a backup for another area, putting many at risk should the water be contaminated. In order to achieve this goal, the surrounding vegetation areas must be looked after. The land must be healthy in order for the water to remain healthy. Over time, the uses for the land changes, so steps must be taken to provide protection through all changes that may occur. In terms of funding, the money for this operation will be supplied by the Ramapo River Intermunicipal Council and the AmeriCorps Program.
In order to obtain correct information, samples must but be taken and examined in order to properly assess the situation. By obtaining such information, the community will be able to determine the best uses of the land. Some land can be used for construction, vegetation, fishing, etc. A budget will also be figured out while determining the usage percentage of the water.
All the steps to be taken are imperative to the success of this operation. Without proper knowledge, the Ramapo River cannot be used to its full benefit and the community will be unable to take advantage of its many gifts. Though it will indisputably turn out to be a very expensive project, the outcome will be priceless for those who come in contact with the water on a regular basis.