Governor Phil Murphy Lt.Governor Sheila Oliver
NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs  
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Home | About DEP | Index by Topic | Programs/Units | DEP Online 

  Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards

Watershed Education & Urban Fishing Program

Environmental Stewardship through Urban Fishing

Celebrating its 20th year, the Watershed Education and Urban Fishing Program (UWEP) is designed to educate children from urban areas in New Jersey about their local watershed. Children learn how people’s actions, including their own, can affect their water quality, other living creatures, as well as human health. Our Program also empowers students with choices they can make that will help to protect their water resources.

UWEP began as the Urban Fishing Program in 1996. Back then, students participated in a one-day fishing excursion in Bayonne. Students were taught about the importance of their estuary, a vital natural resource, to instill a sense of stewardship towards their community. In the 1980s, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Department) discovered high levels of potentially harmful contaminants in several species of fish and blue crab in the Newark Bay Complex. As a result, fish consumption advisories were put into place to guide citizens about their local fish. These advisories included practices such as limiting or avoiding consumption of specific fish or shelfish. The Urban Fishing Program was one of the measures put in place to help spread the word about the consumption advisories through the Fish Smart Eat Smart educational campaign.

Photo Credit: Hackensack Riverkeeper

After a few years, the Urban Fishing Program expanded from a a one-day fishing excursion in the Newark Bay Complex into a three-day program that is also implemented in additional urban areas including Camden and Trenton. These three-day watershed education programs now offer activities and instruction on a range of watershed issues that include: point and nonpoint source pollution, local fish advisories, water quality testing, effects of climate change on NJ, combined sewer outfalls, an Eco-Cruise in students' local waters, and the fishing excursion. To read an article about the program published in the May 2007 NJ Fish & Wildlife Digest (Vol. 20, No. 3, Marine Issue), click here.

For additional information: Click on any of the tabs at the top of the web page for more info on urban fishing programs and the fish consumption advisories in NJ. Please visit the Division of Fish and Wildlife's website for information on fishing throughout the state of New Jersey. Click on our Discover DEP logo to hear our podcast on the urban fishing programs.

Photo Credit: Hackensack Riverkeeper

To listen to the recent Podcast about the Urban Fishing Program, click on "Discover DEP"below.
podcast logo

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

Department: NJDEP Home | About DEP | Index by Topic | Programs/Units | DEP Online
Statewide: NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2021
Last Updated: February 16, 2021