Boonton Reservoir

OSI-Led Plan to Enhance Boonton Reservoir Approved by Jersey City Council

Image Credit: Jack Morningstar

JERSEY CITY, NJ (Dec. 5, 2019) – A plan developed by the Open Space Institute (OSI) to protect and improve passive recreational access to the Boonton Reservoir has been formally approved by the Jersey City Council. With its endorsement, OSI and the Morris County Park Commission will proceed to the next phase in their creation of the “Boonton Reservoir Protection and Trail Project” (full version here).

The plan, approved on Dec. 4, will create a new, 7.7-mile trail around the 1,300-acre Boonton Reservoir, which has been the primary water supply of Jersey City since 1904. The trail will be open to the public, including the approximately 15,000 residents who live nearby. The project will also safeguard drinking water supplies by enhancing security, while installing new drainage solutions and native plantings to reduce stormwater runoff.

Boonton Reservoir Trail Jack Morningstar
The plan will create a new, 7.7-mile trail around the 1,300-acre Boonton Reservoir, which has been the primary water supply of Jersey City since 1904.
Image Credit: Jack Morningstar

In September 2018, the Jersey City Council passed a city ordinance authorizing the execution of a 40-year lease agreement with the Morris County Park Commission to develop and manage a trail at the Reservoir. The ordinance also authorized OSI to create a master plan to determine public use of the property. While developing the project, local consultants Greener by Design and Amy Greene Environmental were instrumental in developing and conducting outreach around the initial plan.

The Boonton Reservoir site 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.

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.

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