and NJWSA PRESERVE HIGHLANDS PROPERTY
Acquisition Will Protect
Hunterdon County's Spruce Run Watershed
(05/63) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the preservation
of a 112-acre property located in the Spruce Run Reservoir watershed
in Union and Bethlehem townships in Hunterdon County. The DEP
Green Acres Program purchased the Highlands property in partnership
with the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA), Union Township
and the Environmental Infrastructure Trust.
"The preservation of this property further demonstrates
the state of New Jersey's commitment to protect open space in
the Highlands region," said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey.
"The Spruce Run initiative protects water resources and provides
space for public recreation using funds provided by those who
drink the Spruce Run's water."
The preserved property, which is located on Pattenburg Road,
contains open fields, steep slopes and wooded areas. The Category
One-designated Mulhockaway Creek runs through the property. The
DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and Union Township will manage
the property for passive recreation.
"This acquisition is another victory toward the protection
of the Spruce Run Reservoir watershed," said Commissioner
Campbell. "DEP's partnership with EIT and NJWSA has resulted
in the permanent preservation of almost 1,000 acres in the Spruce
Run watershed. I look forward to continued progress as we approach
This property was purchased at a total cost of $1,599,583. NJWSA
contributed $439,706, Union Township contributed $213,706, and
the DEP Green Acres Program contributed $557,614 in State Acquisition
funds and $388,557 through a Planning Assistance Grant to Union
Township. EIT financed NJWSA's contribution.
"The New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust began
financing open space purchases in 2001 and has provided over $52
million dollars for the preservation of 43 properties," said
EIT Chairman Robert A Briant, Sr. "We are proud to assist
in the effort to protect our water supplies."
Spruce Run Reservoir, which is designated a Category One waterbody,
augments the resources of the Raritan River. The Raritan River
provides drinking water to residents of 48 municipalities in Hunterdon,
Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset and Union Counties. Fifty-five
percent of the Raritan River's source water area is located in
the Highlands region.
"The preservation of this 112-acre property along the Mulhockaway
Creek, which feeds the Spruce Run Reservoir, is a continuation
of NJWSA's commitment to our acquisition partners, our neighbors
and our downstream users, to protect our water supplies,"
said NJWSA Executive Director Henry Patterson III.
The purchase of this property is part of NJWSA's Spruce Run Initiative,
which dedicates a portion of its Raritan Basin System ratepayer
funds to assisting local, county and state governments in the
preservation of critical watershed properties. The objective is
to maximize the efficiency of existing watershed preservation
programs through a coordinated effort of government, non-profit,
and private resources.
"Union Township is pleased to have been able to partner
with the New Jersey Water Supply Authority and the DEP Green Acres
Program in preserving this important property," said Mayor
Michael Beck. "Protecting water quality and well as preserving
our rural quality of life in Union Township is an important part
of Union Township's open space preservation program."
The New Jersey Highlands is a 1,000 square mile area in the Northwest
part of the State, stretching from Phillipsburg in the Southwest
to Ringwood in the Northeast. It lies within portions of seven
counties and 87 municipalities. Sixty-four percent of New Jersey
residents, about 5.4 million people, receive their water from
the Highlands. Those residents live in 292 municipalities, in
The DEP Green Acres Program purchases land to protect environmentally
sensitive open space, water resources and other significant natural
and historical open space. Land acquired becomes part of the statewide
system of parks and forest, wildlife management areas and natural
In 2005, the Green Acres Program has preserved 1,454 acres of
open space. To date, Green Acres has protected over 568,000 acres
of open space and provided funding to develop hundreds of parks
statewide. The statewide system of preserved open space and farmland
totals almost 1.3 million acres.