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.