Final Reports and White Papers

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Final reports and white papers published by the Division of Science and Research. Short, 3-5 page research project summaries for many of these reports can be found in the Research Project Summary collection:


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Now showing 1 - 20 of 158
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    Geochemical and Mineralogical Investigation of Elevated Arsenic and Trace Elements in Soils and Sediments of New Jersey Inner Coastal Plain
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2024-04) Aziz, Zahid
    Soil cores were collected in 2018 at four locations in the Burlington-Bordentown-Hamilton region of central New Jersey to examine occurrences of elevated concentrations of arsenic (As), vanadium (V), and other metals at various depths in this region. Chemical analyses by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) and by portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF), and mineralogical studies by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning-electron microscopy (SEM) were performed on collected soil samples to evaluate geologic factors that may control the distribution of the high As and V zones in soils.
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    Generator Cooling Water Effluent Restriction Effects of Oyster Creek Generating Station Closure on the Barnegat Bay Fish, Crab, and Infaunal Invertebrate Community
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2023-10-31) Grothues, Thomas; Jivoff, Paul; Piper, Sophia; Petrecca, Rose; Taghon, Gary; Able, Kenneth
    Closure of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Generating Station in Forked River, Lacey Township, NJ, in September of 2018 resulted in a 95% reduction of cooling water flow. Since cooling water was drawn from and discharged back into the Barnegat Bay near Barnegat Inlet, the historical effluent plume heated water with the potential to affect the thermal ecology of cold-blooded fish and invertebrates. The cooling water pumps also entrained larval fish and crabs directly and thus potentially affected the mortality of select species in the bay’s larval source pool. The effluent plume secondarily affected stratification and flow in the area through production of a warm, low-density, plume . Closure allowed a retrospective examination of these potential effects as well as provided a model for the sensitivity of the local fish and invertebrate community to climate change. This study leveraged previously collected samples of fish, crabs, and invertebrates from as far back as 2012 for comparison with recent sampling (2018-2021) in a Before/After Control/Impact design (for fishes and crabs) or a Before/After/Gradient design (for benthic infauna) to challenge the null hypothesis that there was no effect of closure and to quantify any noted effects relative to natural variation. Measures included abundance/distribution (for fishes, crabs and benthic infauna), assemblage change/beta diversity (for fishes and invertebrates), and size (for fishes) at different life stages as sampled by plankton net, otter trawl, crab traps, and gillnets. The strength of effects and the confidence in their measure was dependent on species and life stage, and for some there were no measurable effects. In all cases, BACI/BAG interactions (effects measured as different after closure in the Impact sites relative to their measure in the Control sites) were secondary to other sources of variation, including habitat, seasonal, and interannual variation, and spatial variation among the control sites. It is apparent that control site choice, as a function of measurement scale, affects the answer, pointing to a recognized and fundamental challenge in ecology. In retrospect, the plant was well sited because the spatial extent and persistence of the plume effects were dampened by regular tidal exchange with the ocean through Barnegat Inlet. Measured effects on sex-specific crab distribution and benthic invertebrate distribution and abundance decreased rapidly with distance from the discharge. Abundance was never seriously depressed (and was increased for adult fish) during operation in the Impact site, most likely because it was never source limited. Fish, benthic infauna, and many of the crabs utilizing the bay arrive from distant spawning sites as larvae, and many of the adult stages arrive as migrants; thus, local consumption by the plant was mitigated. Further, the life history of these species are adapted to and experience, individually and as populations, a greater annual and range-wide thermal variation than that produced by the generating station. This is a function of the station’s location near the apex of the Middle Atlantic Bight, and should be expected to differ from similar power-plant cooling water disturbances elsewhere in the country or world.
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    Assessing the impacts of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station and its Closure on Gelatinous Zooplankton and Planktonic Community Structure
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2023-04) Bologna, Paul; Gaynor, John; Meredith, Robert; Schuler, Matthew
    For the last decade we have been monitoring and investigating the gelatinous zooplankton community in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. During this time frame, Barnegat Bay was severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy, which directly impacted the density of the top predator the Bay Nettle (Chrysaora chesapeakei), allowing a more diverse community of gelatinous zooplankton species to flourish after the storm. In addition, the operation of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station (OCNGS) has put significant stresses on the health of Barnegat Bay for over 50 years through direct destruction of planktonic organisms, redirection of water flow used in cooling the plant, and a chronic thermal stress. This research looked at determining the changes associated with the closure of the plant on the zooplankton community to assess whether the closure resulted in improved ecological conditions to support the recovery of Barnegat Bay after this chronic stress.
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    A Multi-Metric Site Evaluation Tool for Restoration of New Jersey’s Tidally Influenced Wetlands.
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2023-02) Yepsen, Metthea; Nassry, Mike; Raper, Kirk; Morrison, Donald
    Wetland restoration is a complex science that attempts to facilitate positive changes in ecologic function via changes in integrated physical and biologic structure. Although wetland ecology is driven by a suite of interactive factors, frequently, a single parameter or metric is used to determine the restoration goals and measures of a project. Additionally, restoration and/or mitigation targets may be set and evaluated without a complete understanding of appropriate reference conditions the project is proposing to duplicate. As interest in adaptive restoration (focusing on resilience to sea level rise and storm impacts) grows, it is vital to provide information to correctly characterize baseline and changing conditions of the wetland being manipulated relative to a natural or reference condition for greater resilience. Precise evaluation of condition, function, and structure will allow for greater refinement in project design, effective monitoring plan development, and adaptive management strategies to achieve the target goals and objectives. The goals of this effort were to: 1) fill gaps in tidal wetland reference data in New Jersey, and 2) increase the accessibility of monitoring data to the public. This was accomplished by: 1) developing the NJ Reference Wetland Tool database; 2) filling data gaps on tidal wetland hydrology and water quality; 3) adding a long-term monitoring site in the Raritan River; and 4) developing tools that will assist standardized data collection in the future.
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    Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Groundwater Quality
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2023-10) Aziz, Zahid
    This report synthesizes available scientific literature on the potential responses of different hydrogeological and biogeochemical processes to climate change and discusses how these processes could impact groundwater quality. This review suggests that the effects of climate change are likely to cause ephemeral and long-term impacts on groundwater quality driven by modifications of hydrogeological processes, including precipitation, groundwater recharge, discharge, capacity, and seawater intrusion. These modifications would influence biogeochemical reactions and the ultimate chemical fate and transport of contaminants, and are likely to drive the variability of both anthropogenic and geogenic contaminants.
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    Sources of Atmospheric Fine Particles and Mercury in New Jersey
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2023-09) Polissar, Alexander
    Statistical analyses showed that the annual mercury wet deposition levels in New Jersey did not decline substantially despite new regulations that significantly reduced mercury emissions in New Jersey. To explain this and to identify possible sources of air pollution in New Jersey, a receptor modeling study was conducted. The goal of the study was identification of the major sources of fine particles (PM2.5) and mercury (Hg) in New Jersey and investigation of changes in their contributions over time. An advanced factor analysis method, Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF), was used as a receptor modeling tool for the combined mercury and chemical composition particulate data set from Brigantine, New Jersey. Different sources of air pollution, such as coal and oil combustion, metal production, wood combustion, soil, and sea salt emissions, have been identified. Midwestern coal combustion was identified as a major source for PM2.5 in New Jersey. Time series for the three sources – oil combustion source with high loadings of V and Ni, coal combustion source with high loadings of SO4=, and incineration/metal production source with high loadings of Pb and Zn showed a negative trend. Major sources of the different mercury fractions have been identified as well. Time series for some of these sources, related to mercury emissions, showed a negative trend, while others exhibited no trend. Further research is necessary to determine the reasons behind the lack of decline in wet deposition of mercury. The results of the receptor modeling show that the PMF represents a useful and important tool for identifying and quantifying the sources of air pollutants.
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    Establishing Dialogue: Planning for Successful Environmental Management: A Guide to Effective Communication Planning
    (Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2014) Pflugh, Kerry Kirk; Shaw, Judith Auer; Johnson, Branden B.; New Jersey. Department of Environmental Protection. Division of Science and Research. Risk Communication Unit
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    Developing a Pipeline for Environmental DNA Detection of Cnidarian Communities in New Jersey
    (Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2023-05-23) Lockwood, Julie L.; Vastano, Anthony; Zoccolo, Isabelle; Dickey, Shannon
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    Improving Marsh Restoration
    (Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2023-01) Yepsen, Metthea; Wilburn, Brittany; Moody, Joshua; Haaf, LeeAnn; Beal, Irena
    Tidal wetlands are a prominent feature of New Jersey’s coasts, providing many ecosystem services, including water filtration, habitat for commercially and recreationally important animals, and carbon sequestration. Increasing rates of sea-level rise threaten the existence of tidal wetlands in New Jersey, and land managers are actively developing techniques to enhance resilience. This study aimed to address two emerging needs to support marsh resilience: 1) an evaluation of the effects of the beneficial use of dredged material to increase marsh elevation and 2) the development of a systematic approach to evaluating marsh condition.
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    Examining Precipitation Across the Garden State from 1900 to 2020
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2022-12) Robinson, David A.; Teale, Natalie; Soldo, Logan
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    A Reconnaissance of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Wastewater and Sludge from Three Publicly Owned Treatment Works in New Jersey
    (Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science, Research and Environmental Health, 2018-04-24) Louis, Judy; Lippincott, R. Lee; Goodrow, Sandra M.; Procopio, Nicholas
    The character of wastewater, landfill leachate, and sludge taken from three New Jersey regions (Areas) has been assessed for multiple contaminants of emerging concern to determine the likelihood of occurrence in various types of developed areas. Regions were determined based on land use and the projected character of wastewater. The distinct areas of land use that were the aim of this study consisted of residential, commercial, industrial (including two areas with pharmaceutical processing), and hospital/retirement areas. Areas contained various subsewersheds represented by a sampling station that was characterized by the land use type. For example, Area X contained residential sewersheds, industrial sewersheds, and commercial sewersheds. The three Areas contained a total of twenty-six (26) sampling sites, with seventeen (17) of those sites representing various characteristics of the sewershed and the other samples taken of the influent, effluent, and sludge taken from each of the Area’s publicly owned treatment works (POTW). Landfill leachate from one location in each of the three Areas was also analyzed for a suite of compounds.
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    Review of the Impacts to Marine Fauna from Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) Generated by Energy Transmitted through Undersea Electric Transmission Cables
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, 2021-03) Bilinski, Joseph
    As part of New Jersey’s overall renewable energy goals, Governor Murphy announced on November 19th, 2019 the State’s plan to produce 7,500 MW of electricity from offshore wind (OSW) turbines by 2035 (Executive Order No. 92). As a result, high-efficiency transmission cables will be required to connect each turbine in series, whereas each OSW farm would afterwards be connected to a larger common conduit, or export cable travelling to a mainland connection point and electrical substation. The installation and operation of submarine transmission cables can affect marine benthic organisms and habitats in a variety of ways, some of which can include sediment disturbance, reef effects, thermal emission, and notably the distortion of the natural geomagnetic field via emission of electromagnetic frequencies. Electromagnetic Frequencies, or EMFs are generated by electric current flowing through undersea transmission cables that can be associated with onshore or offshore renewable energy projects (wind or hydrokinetic resources) or other power-generating sources (traditional power plants). Based on empirical evidence and laboratory investigations, the observed impacts to marine biota and ecosystems are considered to be minor or short-term. Electrosensitive species such as elasmobranchs and benthic species have been shown to sense EMFs more acutely than marine mammals and pelagic fishes, although only minor responses such as lingering near or attraction to cabled areas have been noted. However, uncertainties do remain as to whether physiological impacts occur and what life stage is most affected, and or if any long-term impacts will develop. Herein, a review of the current scientific literature is provided summarizing the observed, in situ effects of EMF on marine fauna from interactions with and proximity to undersea transmission cables.
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    Beneficial Use of Dredged Material to Enhance Salt Marsh Habitat in New Jersey : Monitoring and Project Assessment
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection and Energy, Division of Science and Research, 2023-01) Yepsen, Metthea; Wilburn, Brittany; Woollard, Jaclyn
    This report summarizes monitoring conducted at three pilot beneficial use of dredged material to enhance salt marsh projects in New Jersey. Constructed between August 2014 and April 2017, these projects tested sediment addition techniques that included thin-layer placement (TLP) of dredged material on the platform of vegetated, stressed marshes (Ring Island, Avalon, and Fortescue) and the filling of degraded and expanding pool-panne complexes with dredged material on the surrounding stressed marsh platform (Avalon). The objectives for the three marsh pilot projects were (1) to increase and maintain the optimal tidal elevation (hydroperiod) for native salt marsh species, (2) to increase the cover and health of native salt marsh vegetation, and (3) to return all other metrics to baseline (i.e., pre-implementation) conditions (unless they were expected to change due to habitat conversion). Topographic surveys indicated that 1) on average sites reached target elevations, but the placement was uneven, 2) all sites initially gained elevation, but it was challenging to measure small elevation changes, 3) the higher the final elevation, the slower vegetation grew back, and 4) sites gained resilience against 10- to 27-years’ worth of sea-level rise. As of 2021, none of the salt marsh sites had increased plant cover from baseline conditions or established the targeted Spartina patens habitat. However, several sites matched control site conditions, and much was learned about how to increase the rate of plant recovery. Soil makeup, benthic infauna communities, and epifaunal macroinvertebrates did not return to baseline conditions by 2021, but water chemistry returned to control conditions. Nekton and avian use were variable and results were dependent on changes to vegetation and elevation. These findings suggest that both thin- and thick-layers of sediment addition to existing tidal marshes led to large initial changes in the habitat, from which the ecosystems rebounded/are rebounding at different rates.
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    Routine Monitoring of Toxics in New Jersey Fish : Third Year (2006) of Routine Monitoring Program
    (Philadelphia, PA : The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 2008-12-12) Horwitz, Richard J.; Overbeck, Paul F.; Ashley, Jeff; Velinski, David; Zaoudeh, Linda
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    Final Report on Investigations of Potential Concentrations and Sources of Contaminants in New Jersey Hatchery Trout
    (Philadelphia, PA : The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 2007-09-17) Horwitz, Richard; Velinski, David; Ashley, Jeff
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    The Beneficial Use of Dredged Material to Enhance Salt Marshes : Project Monitoring Protocalls
    (Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, 2017-10) The New Jersey Chapter of The Nature Conservancy
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    Partners in Revitalization : Linking Urban Redevelopment and Environmental Resource Planning
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection and Energy, 1994-03) Shaw, Judith Auer; Von Hagen Pietz, Leigh Ann; Gandy, Julie; New Jersey. Department of Environmental Protection and Energy
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    Effect of Preparation and Cooking on Contaminant Distributions in Crustaceans : PCBs in Blue Crab
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection and Energy, 1991-12) Zabik, Mary E.; Harte, Janice B.; Zabik, Matthew J.; New Jersey. Department of Environmental Protection and Energy
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    Trophic Transfer of Oil Contaminants from Menhaden Fish: Will the Gulf Oil Spill Effect NJ?
    (Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, 2013-01-10) Summerill Bentivegna, Carolyn; Sowa, John R., Jr.; Cooper, Keith R.; Snow, Nicholas H.
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    Diatoms and the Biological Condition Gradient in New Jersey Rivers and Streams : A Basis for Developing Nutrient Guidance Levels
    (Trenton, N.J. : Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Science, 2010-09-21) Charles, D.F.; Tuccillo, A.P.; Belton, Thomas J.