After several years of study, permitting, and fundraising, The Watershed Institute has initiated repairs and restoration of Wargo Pond at the organization’s nature reserve in Hopewell Township. The pond has been drained of water since 2019 when the mechanism that regulates the pond’s water level failed. With the help of a $475,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Green Acres Stewardship Program, and private donors, work has begun to repair and restore the four-acre water body.
In addition to making the necessary repairs to the structure of the pond and related erosion to the pond’s earthen dam, contractors will be removing sediment that has accumulated in the pond since it was created in the late 1960s. The sediment will be moved to a location south of the farm buildings on the Watershed’s organic farm on the east side of Wargo Road.
“The Watershed Institute is grateful to New Jersey’s Green Acres Program and several individual donors for helping us restore this critical centerpiece of the preserve,” said Jim Waltman, executive director of The Watershed Institute. “We are looking forward to seeing life return to Wargo Pond.”
The pond had been a central part of Watershed education and recreation activities and a vibrant wildlife habitat since its construction. In 2019, the mechanism that regulates the pond’s water level failed and The Watershed Institute was required to drain the pond. Before doing so, more than one thousand fish were removed from the pond and transported to a local wildlife management area. In addition, silt has accumulated in the pond over the years, reducing the pond’s depth, diminishing its habitat for fish and wildlife that require deeper water, and causing the water that remains in the pond to heat up.
Please note that the dredging and relocation of sediment will begin on or around July 27 and may create some temporary inconveniences for travelers on Wargo Road, south of Wargo Pond.
The pedestrian entrance to the pond from Wargo Road and the trail around the eastern side of the pond will be closed during the repairs and dredging operation. The trail segment around the western side of the pond and access to the northern portion of the Watershed Reserve will remain open during construction.
Prior to 2020, Wargo Pond was a popular spot for anglers who enjoyed catching bass, bluegills, and sunfish. The pond was a stopping place for many migratory birds and host to other species including bald eagles, egrets, herons, sandpipers and many more.
The Watershed Institute is dedicated to keeping Central New Jersey’s water clean, safe, and healthy. Founded in 1949, The Watershed Institute protects and restores water and the environment through conservation, advocacy, science, and education.
Learn more about the Watershed, www.thewatershed.org .