A $23 million project that dredged Newton Lake, Peter’s Creek and two ponds adjacent to the lake is out of the water. Launched in August 2020 by the board of commissioners and the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, the expansive project aimed to improve the water quality of these bodies.
“This project has been an all-hands-on-deck effort and it’s yet another substantial investment we have made into improving the health of our county’s waterways and natural landscapes,” Commissioner Jeff Nash, liaison to the Parks Department, said. “Projects like this allow our residents and visitors to get continued enjoyment of Camden County’s parks and greenspaces. Furthermore, this has ensured that we are preserving and building up the banks of the creeks and lakes, supporting and allowing riparian buffers to grow and trying to end much of the non-source-point pollution that has contributed to the sedimentation of the waterway and spadderdox growth suffocating these bodies of water.”
Sedimentation is a natural process that occurs as soils and other matter collect in the bed of a lake or river. Sediment problems can disrupt drainage systems and cause other complications for the waterway. The project approved by the commissioners removed sediment from these waterways, and, by doing so, improved water quality, habitat and access for park patrons.
Additionally, improvements are planned for bank stabilization surrounding streambanks, outfall pipes and storm water infrastructure that will slow and limit any future sedimentation. The restoration and maintenance of the riparian buffers on all these bodies of water will provide protection from the elements that have undermined them in the area from Cuthbert Boulevard to the Black Horse Pike.
To ensure that the project was environmentally sound, the commissioner board and the CCMUA worked with the Camden County Soil Conservation District, Delaware Riverkeeper and the Newton Creek Watershed Association.
“We pulled out all of the stops to make sure that this project went over as smoothly and sustainably as possible,” Nash said. “It is wonderful to see all of this hard work finally coming to a close. Working with our partners from the state Department of Environmental Protection to our community partners, we have enhanced the environment and the county with this substantial close of this project.”
In 2022, I-Bank nominated the project for the New Jersey Alliance for Action’s project of the year.
The project was funded by the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust financing program. The county is paying back the bond over the course of the next 30 years at less than 1% rate to the taxpayer.