Save H2O NJ

How the Highlands and Pinelands Regional Plans Protect Our Water Supply – and much, much more …

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At least 6.4 million New Jersey residents rely on water from the Highlands and Pinelands regions for their drinking water.

These two special regions – the Highlands and the Pinelands of New Jersey – each have unique laws and regional growth management plans that aim to protect forests and water supplies from being destroyed by sprawling, uncontrolled development. These plans bar or limit development of hundreds of thousands of acres of forests, while channeling growth into existing towns and designated growth areas.

By restricting sprawl, the Pinelands and Highlands programs protect the forests that provide us clean water, as well beautiful natural areas for all New Jersey residents. Without these special programs, sprawling development will destroy critical water supplies and replace natural landscapes with subdivisions and shopping malls.

Forests cleanse and store our water supply. In contrast, developed land contaminates water and sends it too quickly into streams and rivers, and ultimately to the sea.

New Jersey’s history of sprawling development and loss of forests shows that only long-term, proactive, regional planning of where development should and should not go can save our remaining forests.

Our water can only be saved by the regional planning of growth that we find in the Highlands and Pinelands land use plans.

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By protecting forests and water, the Pinelands and Highlands plans promote healthy, sustainable state and local economies. Through regional planning, economic and environmental goals can be made compatible and mutually supportive – not in conflict.

Focusing growth in existing communities is efficient for maintaining sound infrastructure, good for businesses, fiscally beneficial for municipal ratepayers, and necessary to protect the environment.

Planning on a regional scale is the only way to focus growth in the right places and protect our surviving forests and working farms.

And the Highlands and Pinelands plans bring many other benefits as well:

  • Beautiful natural areas for strolling, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, and all sorts of nature activities.
  • Habitat for a unique diversity of wildlife and plants, including many species that have become extremely rare due to loss of their habitats in other places.
  • Air cleansing services, as forests absorb excess carbon dioxide and other air pollutants.

New Jersey’s regional planning programs in the Highlands and Pinelands work, benefiting the entire state.

For more information:

New Jersey Highlands Coalition

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