Delaware Raritan Canal Commission

Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission


The Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission is a state agency created by law in 1974 whose mission is to:  prepare, adopt, and implement a master plan for the physical development of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park; review State and local actions that impact on the park to insure that these actions conform as nearly as possible to the commission’s master plan; and coordinate and support activities by citizens’ groups to promote and preserve the park.

The Commission works closely with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, State Park Service, which owns and manages the Delaware and Raritan Canal as a state park. The Commission coordinates its activities with the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, which operates and maintains the vitally important water transmission complex elements of the canal, which provide 100 million gallons of drinking water daily for 1 million people in central New Jersey.  Working together, the three agencies ensure that the environmental, recreational, historic and water supply resources of the Delaware and Raritan Canal are protected and preserved for future generations of New Jerseyans.  

Description of Commission and Commissioner's powers, functions & duties

The Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission was created pursuant to the “Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Law of 1974,” (N.J.S.A. 13:13A-1 et seq.), which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brendan T. Byrne in 1974.  The Commission consists of nine members:

  • The Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, who serves ex officio; or a designee of the Commissioner, who may lawfully vote in the Commissioner’s absence; and
  • Eight citizens of the State, appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate.  No more than four commissioners shall be of the same political party.   At least four of the commissioners shall be residents of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset, counties.  One commissioner must also be a mayor of a municipality appertaining to the Delaware and Raritan Canal  State Park.  Not more than one commissioner can be appointed from any one municipality.

Commissioners serve for terms of five years from their appointment, and until a successor has been appointed and qualified.  The law directs that the Governor designate one of the members of the commission, other than the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, to serve as the as commission’s Chairman.  Commissioners are uncompensated for their service.


The Legislature gave the Commission the power to perform three major duties: 

  • Review and approve, reject or modify any action by the State in the Canal Park, or any permit for action in the Delaware and Raritan Canal State park;
  • Undertake planning for the development of the park; and
  • To prepare and administer a land use regulatory program in designated “Review Zones” throughout a 450-square mile watershed around the canal that will protect the park from the harmful impacts of new development in central New Jersey.
Last Updated: 04/01/2022

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