Essay on The Unique Soil Composition Of New Jersey 's Pine Barrens

Essay on The Unique Soil Composition Of New Jersey 's Pine Barrens

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The unique soil composition of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, which is about 85% sand, allows the formation of an even more distinctive feature – a large aquifer underneath much of the pinelands. Aquifers are ground water reservoirs formed when rock allows water to flow to underground areas below the water table. The area below the water table is then saturated with water forming an aquifer (Perlman 2016). The porous nature of the soil composition in the Pine Barrens allows water to be soaked up into the aquifer more efficiently. While the sandy soil is left dry and prone to fire, the aquifers can accumulate up to six inches of water intake per hour (McPhee 1968).
There have been past attempts to capitalize on New Jersey’s aquifers. Joseph Wharton, between 1876 and 1890, purchased almost a hundred acres of land in the Pine Barrens. The plan was to build an aqueduct to transport water from the Pine Barrens, under the Delaware River, and into Philadelphia (McPhee 1968). The plan never went into effect and federal and state laws passed in later years prevented the use transport of pinelands water outside of the area. The appeal of water from the Pine Barrens is not only its large quantity but for its ability to “recharge” or refill with water. Its low water table and soil composition allows it to refill quickly. However, the pines are still at a high risk for contamination. Water from the Pine Barrens “rises in the pines” meaning that the water flows either into the Delaware River or into the Atlantic Ocean. Neither the water from the aquifers nor the streams comes in contact with water from the surrounding cities. While not at risk for contamination from other water sources, the sandy soil and low water table makes the Pine Barrens ill ...


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...ies of fish and vegetation than areas with lower pH values (Zampella et al 2006). Therefore, increased land development in the Pine Barrens effects the overall pH levels of the water and can cause non-native species to move into the area and directly compete with existing species.
The waters of the Pine Barrens are one of the region’s most unique features. The aquifers below the Pine Barrens feed the streams and rivers in the region. Though there is less of risk of runoff from urban areas contaminating the aquifers because the water from the region follow directly out to the Delaware River and Atlantic Ocean, the sandy soil which is responsible for quick recharging capabilities of the aquifer also puts it in danger of contamination because pollutants cannot be easily filtered out. Regardless, the aquifers play an important role in the ecosystem of the Pine Barrens. 

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