Watershed Management Area 16 includes watersheds draining the Cape May portion of New Jersey. The region includes Cape May County south and east of the Tuckahoe River Watershed. The region contains minimal surface water flow. Ground water and shellfish harvesting water quality are the principal water issues. No fixed physical/chemical fresh (surface) water monitoring locations are currently located within this management area. The are includes the following watersheds: Dennis Creek, Delaware Bay Coastal Drainage, Cape May Atlantic Coastal Drainage.
Cape May County is located at the southern-most point of New Jersey and represents a continuation of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The county is 267 square miles in area and is bounded on the north by Atlantic and Cumberland Counties, on east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west and south by the Delaware Bay. The region represents a low lying, gently rolling plain whose highest point is 54 feet above sea level and whose surface is largely covered by wet soils and wetlands. Large swamps (Great Cedar, Timber and Beaver Swamps) occupy the north-central part of the county. Most, if not all streams are tidal in their lower reaches and terminate by flowing into fresh water swamps that, in turn, discharge into saltwater marshes near the shore.
The county's permanent year-round population is about 77,000, with approximately 42 percent of the population residing on the barrier islands that comprise the eastern perimeter of the peninsula. The summertime population rises to 564,000 with 69 percent residing on the barrier islands.
As stated previously, one of the principal water resource issues within this management area is drinking water supply. The resource is largely dependent upon ground water that is in turn highly vulnerable to saltwater intrusion from the west, south and east, especially in the southern portion of the peninsula. The expected increase in population (an expected 68 percent by 2040) is predicted to put further stress on the already overextended water supply.
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