Toms River Watershed

Toms River Subwatershed

The Toms River subwatershed includes the following Ocean County municipalities:

  • A portion of Jackson Township
  • A portion of Manchester Township
  • A portion of Berkeley Township
  • A small portion of Lakewood Township (the south west corner)
  • Most of Toms River Township
  • Lakehurst Borough
  • South Toms River Borough
  • Pine Beach Borough
  • Beachwood Borough
  • Island Heights Borough
  • Roughly half of Ocean Gate Borough (northern portion)

The Toms River subwatershed also includes portions of these Monmouth County municipalities: Millstone Township and Freehold Township.

Watershed Facts

Dozens of small tributaries drain the land in the Toms River subwatershed and feed the Toms River.   The larger of these tributaries are the Davenport Branch, Union Branch, Ridgeway Branch, and Wrangle Brook.  The Toms River subwatershed is 124 square miles, the largest drainage area of any river in the Barnegat Bay watershed.  Its many headwater tributaries begin in western Ocean County, draining a large area of the Pinelands, and eventually the river flows into Barnegat Bay, 11 miles north of the Barnegat Inlet.  The Toms River flows past the “river towns” of Toms River, South Toms River, Pine Beach, Beachwood, Island Heights, and Ocean Gate on its way to the Barnegat Bay.

Major impoundments of the Toms River are Lake Success in Jackson Township, Pine Lake in Manchester Township (where the Union and Ridgeway Branches meet), and Horicon Lake in the Borough of Lakehurst.

Ecological Features

Much of the headwaters of the Toms River is in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  Habitats of the Pine Barrens found in the Toms River subwatershed include cranberry bogs, Atlantic white cedar swamps, and pine-oak forests.  As you head further southeast in the Toms River subwatershed toward the Barnegat Bay, you will find remnants of maritime forests, as well as freshwater wetlands and coastal salt marsh.

Points of Interest

  • Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, Plumsted Township
  • Butterfly Bogs Wildlife Management Area, Jackson Township
  • The Forest Resource Education Center, Jackson Township
  • Ocean County Artists Guild, Island Heights Borough
  • Cattus Island County Park, Toms River Township
  • Winding River Park, Toms River Township

Related Links

Jackson Pathfinders
New Jersey Wildlife Management Areas
New Jersey Pinelands Commission
Pinelands Preservation Alliance
United States Geological Survey New Jersey Water Science Center

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