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  Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards
Surface Water Quality Standards (SWQS)
N.J.A.C. 7:9B
"Protecting, Maintaining, and Restoring New Jersey Surface Waters"

Answer: The Department has developed a digital representation of the surface water classifications and antidegradation designations established under the SWQS for all waters of the State. This digital representation is free and available for download as a data layer (coverage) in GIS and may also be viewed in NJ GeoWeb. [Learn more]

Answer: The surface water classification identifies the type of waterbody, based on salinity (e.g., freshwater (FW) or saline (SE)), and the designated uses to be supported by that waterbody type (e.g., trout production (TP)). The antidegradation designation identifies the level of water quality protection assigned to a particular waterbody/waterbody type to protect and maintain surface water quality and prevent (additional) water quality impairment. [Learn More]

Answer: Category One (C1) is a type of antidegradation designation that provides additional protection to specific waterbodies. C1 waters are protected from any measurable change in existing water quality because of their exceptional ecological significance, exceptional recreational significance, exceptional water supply significance, or exceptional fisheries resources. [Learn More]

Answer: Waters qualify for protection under C1 designation when they possess at least one of these four:

  1. Exceptional Ecological Significance,
  2. Exceptional Fisheries Resource,
  3. Exceptional Water Supply Significance, or
  4. Exceptional Recreational Significance.
Category One upgrades are processed as amendments to the SWQS Rule [Learn more].

Answer: Buffers and Riparian zones are established by the Land Use Management Program. Please visit the Division of Land Use Regulations webpage [Learn more].

Answer: A river or stream can be assigned a dual classification (e.g. FW2-NT/SE1) when the boundary between fresh and saline water varies within a waterbody due to tidal influences. Saline waters are defined as waters having salinities generally greater than 3.5 parts per thousand (ppt) at mean high tide. The water is considered fresh if the salinity is below 3.5 ppt.

Best viewed with:
Google Chrome, Mozilla, Internet Explorer (non-compatibility View), and Edge

For more information, please contact Kimberly Cenno, Bureau Chief,
Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards at (609) 633-1441.

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Last Updated: September 7, 2022