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River-Friendly Certification Programs promote clean water and a healthy environment through voluntary action by individuals and institutions. To achieve these goals we work one-on-one with residents, businesses, golf courses and schools to improve land stewardship practices. The program works to reduce pollution, conserve water, restore habitat for wildlife and educate the public about becoming better environmental stewards. 

The Watershed Institute (formerly Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association), New Jersey Water Supply Authority and Raritan Headwaters Association have formed a partnership to implement a suite of River-Friendly programs for businesses, golf courses, schools and residents in New Jersey.

In 2020, Rahway River Watershed Association joined the River-Friendly program as an affiliate. 

         What does "River-Friendly" mean to us?

The River-Friendly Programs revolve around four main components with specific goals 



River-Friendly Programs are voluntary and tailored specifically to your home, school, businesses and golf courses. Working in concert, they come to represent a cooperative effort. We provide an opportunity for anyone to become a steward of their water and land and to celebrate any positive environmental actions. Participants receive ongoing technical information and guidance for implementing actions unique to their location, resources and needs.


Manage stormwater on property to reduce

polluted runoff



Decrease indoor and outdoor potable water usage


Enhance property features to support beneficial native species



Share information and encourage environmental stewardship 

Where We Work

Search your address and match the area to the organizational colors below to see who is your nearest River-Friendly Service Provider:

the partnership

The River-Friendly Partners are the original creators of the program and maintain the program standards.

The Watershed Institute
​(Formerly SBMWA)

The Watershed Institute (formerly The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association) pioneered the River-Friendly Programs in the 1990s. They are central New Jersey's first environmental group. Since 1949 The Watershed Institute has worked to keep water clean, safe, and healthy through conservation, advocacy, science, and education. The Watershed Institute speaks out for local water and the environment, protects and restores  sensitive habitats, tests waterways for pollution and inspires others to care for and protect the natural world. Their goal is to improve the health and quality of central New Jersey’s water and sustain a network of protected habitats for wildlife and people.  They have a successful track record of more than 60 years of effective environmental protection.

The Watershed Institute is a member-supported, 501(c)(3)  non-profit environmental organization, headquartered at the LEED Platinum Certified Watershed Center on the    beautiful 930-acre Watershed Reserve.

River Friendly Coordinator:

Olivia Spildooren

609-737-3735 x21

The New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA) manages the water resources of the Raritan Basin and the Manasquan Reservoir for the residents of the State. These systems provide drinking water for more than 2 million residents in central New Jersey.  The Authority operates the major components of the water supply system, which are Spruce Run Reservoir, Round Valley Reservoir, the Delaware and Raritan (D&R) Canal, and the Manasquan Reservoir.

Water purveyors purchase the water under contract from the Authority before treating and distributing the water to their customers. Through rate support of our customers, the NJWSA seeks to maintain a dependable supply of water to central New Jersey residents while preserving and enhancing source water quality and quantity.

The NJWSA Watershed Protection Programs Division was formed in 1999 to administer a systematic source water protection program for the watersheds that the Authority relies upon for its water supply.

River-Friendly Coordinators:

Heather Desko

School & Business

908-730-0270 x231

Kathy Hale
Golf Course

908-730-0270 x228

The Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, member-supported conservation organization. RHA's headquarters is Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve, a 170-acre property in Bedminster. RHA's annex office in Flemington is home to an award-winning Well Test Program for communities and homeowners.

RHA's Mission is to protect, preserve and improve water quality and other natural resources of the Raritan River headwaters region through science, education, advocacy, land preservation, and stewardship.

RHA began in 1959 as two separate organizations dedicated to water quality, the Upper Raritan Watershed Association (URWA) and South Branch Watershed Association (SBWA).

RHA coordinates the School and Resident Programs in the region while supporting the Business and Golf Course Programs.

River-Friendly Coordinator:

Lauren Theis

908-234-1852 x314

We are able to bring the River Friendly programs to our region through the support of these three organizations and our Technical Advisory Committee.

Affiliates of the

river-Friendly program

River-Friendly Affiliates administer the River-Friendly program in their geographic area and adhere to the River-Friendly program standards that the Partners maintain.


The Rahway River Watershed Association (RRWA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Rahway River and its ecosystem. Encompassing 83 square miles, the Rahway River watershed is one of the oldest urbanized areas in New Jersey. Despite the highly developed landscape that predominates the region, the watershed remains resilient. Remarkable natural areas teaming with wildlife are tucked in pockets along various branches of the River. Since 1992, The RRWA has been the region's leading voice in championing the causes of preserving open space, improving water quality, and protecting the natural resources of the Rahway River watershed.

River-Friendly Coordinator:

Clea Carchia

School & Resident


If your Watershed Organization is interested in becoming an Affiliate to administer the River-Friendly program in your region of New Jersey, please contact

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