Rancocas Pathways, 501 (c) (3) Managers  of
the Rancocas Creek National Water Trail, nomination.

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Rancocas Pathways Inc.
Offical Applicant of the RCNWT nomination

Rancocas Pathways, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated 2 enhanced 
multi-use public access;
 promoting the nomination  of a Rancocas Ceek
Water Trail through fun, exemplary recreation,  stewardship, helathy exercise,
conservation and education.

Bacterial Contamination

The Rancocas Creek 3 major branches runs through and by over 35 different municipalities.  It to faces problems with water pollution. Bacterial contamination, especially following rain storms, remains a human health concern for some parts of the watershed.

It is prudent to wait 24 hours post any storm or rainfall before paddling on the Rancocas Creek.  A robust hot shower afterward also smart paddling.

What is bacterial contamination?

There are many forms of harmful bacteria that can contaminate a watershed. However, only one form of bacteria, E. coli, is measured as an indicator of the presence of bacteria in general.

Coliforms are a group of bacteria that includes a smaller group known as fecal coliforms, which are found in the digestive tract of warm-blooded animals. Their presence in freshwater ecosystems indicates that pollution may have occurred and that other harmful microorganisms may be present. A species of fecal coliform known as Escherichia coli, or E. coli, is analyzed to test for contamination, and its presence may predict the presence of multiple harmful microorganisms.

While most strains of E. coli are not dangerous, some strains and associated microorganisms, when taken into the body, can cause severe sickness. For more, see “Why do bacteria levels matter?

It is important to note, however, that an elevated level of E. coli in one part of a body of water does not mean that the entire body is contaminated. One key area where RP is working to define the scope of the bacteria levels in the Rancocas.  In sites of elevated E-Coli remediation plans to mitigate impacts are under development

How are bacteria levels measured?

E. coli levels are monitored at specific locations in the watershed on a regular basis. All designated swimming beaches across the state are required to test waters for bacteria levels on a daily basis during the swimming season.

Information on water quality along the Rancocas Creek, in the NJ State Parks and along the NJ Shore are found at the following web sites. (under development).

In addition, the Rancocas Pathways water quality program along the RSP Tidewater Bluetrail will involve taking samples at a range of randomly selected sites on a frequent basis to identify potential problem areas in the watershed. Finally, RP volunteers conduct a study to retrieve regular sample issues at different sites along the water-trail, both in the main stem and in the tributaries, Year-Round. Water samples are collected and will be sent to a lab, where lab staff determine a count of E. coli colonies if warranted.

If a persistent elevated levels of E. coli emerge through general sampling, Bacterial Source Tracking (BST) can be used to help determine the species of E. coli present and thereby narrow the scope of possible sources of the contaminant. BST uses genetic identification techniques and is more expensive than general monitoring, so it is only used after a potential problem has been identified.

With this in mind back around 1900 there was a Typhoid epidemic in Mt. Holly.  Since than much improvement.  Both Mt. Holly MUA and Burlington County track the Creek for issues.

Paddle safe when paddling after storms.   In summer months w low water in Mt. Holly on the creek water temps raise.  Do not drink creek water.   Paddle safe.