RESTORATION OF THE WHIPPANY RIVER IS FEATURED IN A NEW
DOCUMENTARY FILM TO BE UNVEILED WEDNESDAY IN MORRIS COUNTY
FILM DETAILS THE EFFORTS OF THE WHIPPANY RIVER WATERSHED ACTION
COMMITTEE, IN CONCERT WITH THE DEP AND OTHER PARTNERS
(14/P121) TRENTON – The successful decades-long effort to clean up and restore the Whippany River, which runs through Morris County, is detailed in a new documentary film, “River’s Journey,’’ which will have its “hometown’’ premiere in Morris County on Wednesday evening.
The 32-minute movie, produced and directed by veteran documentary filmmaker Glenn Silber and narrated by actor Peter Coyote, was commissioned by Hanover Township and the non-profit Whippany River Watershed Action Committee (WRWAC). It was funded by a $45,000 grant from the Bayer USA Foundation, which is headquartered along the Whippany River in Hanover Township.
The screening on Wednesday will take place at 6:30 PM at the Morris County Park Commission’s Frelinghuysen Arboretum, 353 East Hanover Ave., in Morris Township. The event is free and open to the public.
“This is a remarkable clean water success story here in New Jersey, an effort that has improved our environment and improved the quality of life in Morris County,’’ said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “On behalf of the Christie Administration, I congratulate Hanover Township, the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee, Bayer USA, our DEP water team, and all of the partners in Morris County who have worked so hard to improve this river and watershed.’’
“The ‘River's Journey’ documents how cooperation between state and county and local government, the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee, and concerned citizens, stakeholders, schools and businesses resulted in the dramatic improvement of the Whippany River Watershed over the past 30 years,’’ said Art Vespignani, facilitator of the WRWAC.
Silber, a West Orange native who has earned two Oscar nominations for documentary work, made the “River’s Journey’’ on location last summer throughout Morris County. He called the movie a “positive, community oriented story.’’
“It details the rise and fall and recovery of the Whippany River, which had been an historic economic engine for this community but ended up in the mid-1900s as a dumping ground for sludge from paper mills that lined the river,’’ said Silber. “The movie shows how the community had the vision and the will to take action to save and restore this river.’’
The Whippany River watershed covers 69.3 miles in in 16 municipalities in Morris County. It contains all of the streams and tributaries that drain into the Whippany River. The 16-mile long river, which is a tributary of the Rockaway River and eventually flows into the Passaic River, is a key source of drinking water for systems that serve more than one million people in North Jersey.
In 1996, the DEP initiated the Whippany River Watershed Project as a pilot project to help restore the Whippany and to develop a comprehensive water management process that also could be reproduced in other watersheds across New Jersey. This initiative enabled the DEP to learn how to better protect the state’s water resources by coordinating regulatory and non-regulatory programs on a watershed basis and by integrating water resource issues, such as water quality, water supply, point source pollution, nonpoint source pollution and stormwater management.
Also, in partnership with the Morris County Freeholders, municipalities, civic and business partners, conservation groups and an engaged public, the DEP prepared the Whippany River Watershed Management Plan in 1999 to articulate a vision for the continued restoration of Whippany Watershed.
The Whippany River Watershed Action Committee, which celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, is dedicated to the health and integrity of the river. Its goal is to “preserve, protect and maintain the land and water resources of the watershed through broad-based community action, on-going river assessment, education, and promotion of resource conservation.’’
The Committee received a Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in 2003 and in 2013 from the DEP for its implementation of clean water best management practices. http://www.state.nj.us/dep/eeawards/pastwin2013.html
For more information on the Whippany River and the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee, please visit: http://www.wrwac.org/About-Us.html
For information on DEP water quality, watersheds and water supply programs in New Jersey, please visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/infofinder/topics/water.htm
For information on and directions to the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, please visit: http://morrisparks.net/aspparks/frelarbmain.asp and http://www.arboretumfriends.org/directions.