JERSEY CITY, NJ (Sept. 28, 2018) – After two years of planning, a blueprint developed by the Open Space Institute (OSI) to enhance and safeguard the Boonton Reservoir in Morris County, NJ, was formally approved by the Jersey City Council. The plan will maintain and even enhance the quality of the reservoir’s water, while creating an approximately seven-mile loop trail for walkers and nature lovers.
A master plan — also led by OSI — will now be prepared to enact the “Boonton Reservoir Protection and Trail Project.” The project will enhance security to the area, while making the land publicly accessible to the approximately 15,000 local residents who live nearby.
“The Boonton Reservoir Protection and Trail Project establishes long-term strategies to ensure the families of Jersey City maintain access to safe, reliable drinking water, while expanding passive recreational opportunities,” said Terrence Nolan, OSI senior vice president.
“In addition to employing natural, land-based solutions to address problems such as storm water runoff, OSI looks forward to working with our partners in pursuit of potential land conservation projects throughout the Rockaway River watershed to protect water sources now and for future generations,” he continued.
The agreement for the 1,300-acrea reservoir site, will span 40 years. The Boonton Reservoir has been Jersey City’s primary water source since 1904.
The 1,300-acre Boonton Reservoir property is located in Boonton and Parsippany-Troy Hills Townships. Fed by the Rockaway River, the 700-acre reservoir serves as the primary source of drinking water for Jersey City. On its way to Jersey City, the water passes from the reservoir through a treatment facility which purifies an average of 50 million gallons a day.
The plan aims to reduce storm water runoff through new drainage solutions and the addition of native plantings, to serve as a buffer between the reservoir and the public rail. OSI will also conduct an analysis of the Rockaway River Watershed which feeds the reservoir. Through this analysis, OSI will identify key parcels of land for protection, that contribute to water quality in the watershed.
For decades, OSI has been a leader in conserving land for drinking water protection. OSI has protected over 11,000 acres through easements in the Beaverkill Valley and over 20,000 acres of New York City's watershed lands in Delaware County — including around the Ashokan Reservoir, New York City’s deepest drinking water reservoir, which is also ringed by scenic, celebrated hiking, and biking trails.
Within the Delaware River Watershed Basin, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, OSI has also built upon this decade-long experience using scientific knowledge to drive on-the-ground land conservation work. Through its Delaware River Watershed Initiative, OSI has approved grants totaling over $7.6 million to protect almost 20,000 acres of land to ensure water quality in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition OSI has supported efforts to integrate watershed science in public and nonprofit planning initiatives to channel funding to protect important watershed lands.