BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ (Nov. 3, 2021)—The Open Space Institute (OSI), the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and their partners today announced the successful acquisition of a priority property for clean drinking water resources within the Delaware River Watershed. Located in the New Jersey Pinelands region, the land is to be added to the popular Evert Trail Preserve, where it will also provide habitat for several species of songbird.
The 202-acre “Blueberry Acres” property has been a State of New Jersey priority for conservation for many years. Protection of the land will allow the reforestation of the property's former blueberry agricultural fields. The property also includes wooded wetlands, which filter the headwaters of the Jade Run-South Branch Rancocas Creek — the only Pine Barrens watershed that drains west to the Delaware River.
OSI supported the project through its Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund — made possible by the William Penn Foundation — which seeks to harness land protection to ensure abundant, clean water within the 13,000 square mile drainage of the Delaware River. Fifteen million people rely on the watershed for drinking water — including residents of the cities of Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and New York City. To date, the Fund has conserved more than 4,000 acres in the Pinelands, including several former cranberry and blueberry agricultural lands, connecting more than 35,000 acres of protected land.