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Water in the Pines

The New Jersey Pine Barrens, comprising approximately 1.4 million acres, represents the most extensive wilderness tract along the mid-Atlantic seaboard.

Ecologically, it consists of generally flat, sandy, acidic soils, deposited in the region following the Atlantic Coastal Plains submergence under the Atlantic Ocean during the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods (approximately 135 to 5 million years ago).

The process of deposition, sea level change and erosion are responsible for the present topographic and hydrologic features of the Pine Barrens. The streams in the Pinelands are typically slow moving and shallow because of the very low topographic gradient. In addition, the Pine Barrens is underlain by the shallow Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, which provides approximately 90 percent of all the water to streams, rivers and wetlands in the area. This combination of sandy soils and groundwater fed streams supports the unique ecosystem that today we call the Pine Barrens.

Groundwater and Aquifers

Beneath the Pine Barrens there are a few sandy layers that contain enough water to be exploited for human use. These water bearing zones are known as aquifers.

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Streams, Rivers and Watersheds

One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Pine Barrens, are its surface water bodies of streams, rivers and wetlands.

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Threats to Pinelands Water

Our water is a precious natural resource and not an unlimited commodity.

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Forests and Water: Pinelands and Highlands Connections to Our Water Supply

"The forest is connected to the faucet: the cleanest water flows from healthy forested watersheds."-George E. Dissmeyer, United States Forest Service

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