Stretching along the southwestern coast of New Jersey’s Delaware Bay, just a short drive from the state’s industrial centers, the New Jersey Bayshore Region is an oasis of rich farmland, salt marsh, beaches and tidal rivers.
Here, we are working to protect land for drinking water within the Delaware River Watershed before development and other stresses claim it forever.
Protecting the Bayshore
Covering some 600,000 acres, the Bayshore includes some of New Jersey’s richest agricultural soils and its most ecologically important habitat. The region’s fragile beaches and dunes and coastal wetlands are home or a rest stop for over 300 bird species, including bald eagles, migratory shorebirds and waterfowl.
The area’s high value—economically and biologically—make it imperative to protect the New Jersey Bayshore.
Challenges and opportunities
In the New Jersey Bayshore, stresses from agriculture, development, stormwater, and water use are likely to slowly worsen. Proper regulation and allocation of the water supply has been deferred for many years, while depletion of freshwater aquifers for drinking water and irrigation allows saltwater to creep up rivers and intrude into water resources, making treatment costlier.
Starting in 2011, OSI managed the Bayshore-Highlands Fund, underwritten by the William Penn Foundation, to protect ecological, recreational trails and water resources in New Jersey’s Bayshore and Highlands regions. Now completed, the Fund provided of total of $5 million, approving 36 projects to protect 7,831 acres.