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McGreevey: the Water You Drink is from the Highlands
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Build a Better New Jersey: Protecting Drinking Water

March 02, 2004 (rt23 news) - (PARAMUS)—Governor James E. McGreevey today visited Dunkerhook Park in Paramus to highlight the importance of saving the Highlands region’s drinking water. Paramus and 53 other Bergen County towns receive part of its drinking water from the New Jersey Highlands. Other area rivers, including the Saddle River, provide the remaining drinking water.

Working towards their “Water Drop Patch,” Paramus Girl Scout Troops 271 and 404 joined the Governor and Hackensack Riverkeeper Bill Sheehan for a testing of water from the Saddle River. U.S. Senator Jon Corzine, Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney, Senator Joseph Coniglio, as well as other local officials and community advocates were present to show their support for protecting drinking water.

“For two years, we’ve fought to protect our drinking water, and nowhere is this fight more important than in the Highlands,” said McGreevey. “While the Highlands may be located miles away, the region provides more than half of New Jersey’s families with drinking water, including Paramus. When we talk about saving the Highlands, we are talking about saving the water you and your children drink everyday.”

Senator Corzine said, “The Highlands region is a unique, precious resource that all of us in New Jersey must work hard to protect. I commend Governor McGreevey for his bold preservation initiatives, which are aimed at protecting both land and water resources. It is why I have been working in the Senate to pass the Highlands Conservation Act, which will provide $100 million in funds over the next ten years to preserve land in the region. Millions of people in our state depend on the Highlands as a source for drinking water supplies. As public officials, we can’t let them down.’’

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell said, “The Highlands is a vital source of drinking water for more than half of New Jersey’s families, including many who live a great distance from the area. I commend Governor McGreevey’s bold efforts to protect the Highlands and its valuable resources from encroaching development.”

"Protecting our potable water supplies is tantamount to the health and well-being of all residents in Bergen County," said McNerney. "I commend Governor McGreevey for his role in preserving the quality of our water and all of our natural resources. I will continue to work with him in his environmental efforts that maintain our high quality of life both in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey."

"Clean drinking water is something that is often taken for granted in our society, but is so very important to our way of life," said Coniglio. "Without strong restrictions in place for development in the Highlands, 53 municipalities in Bergen would have a public health crisis on their hands. I thank Governor McGreevey for his forward-thinking on preventing such a crisis from occurring."

The New Jersey Highlands is a 1,000 square mile area in the Northwest part of the State noted for its rugged hills, lush forests and scenic lakes. It stretches from Phillipsburg in the Southwest to Ringwood in the Northeast, and lies within portions of 7 counties (Hunterton, Somerset, Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic and Bergen) and 87 municipalities. The larger Highlands region runs from Connecticut through New York and New Jersey into Pennsylvania.

The region is a vital source of drinking water for more than half of New Jersey’s families, yielding approximately 379 million gallons of water daily.

The following Bergen County communities are served by the Oradell reservoir and depend upon New Jersey Highlands rivers and streams for part of their drinking water supply: Allendale, Alpine, Bergenfield, Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Emerson, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Hackensack, Harrington Park, Hasbrouck Heights, Haworth, Hillsdale, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Maywood, Montvale, Moonachie, New Milford, Northvale, Norwood, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, River Edge, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Rockleigh, Rutherford, South Hackensack, Teaneck, Tenafly, Teterboro, Upper Saddle River, Wallington, Washington Township, Westwood, Wood-Ridge, Woodcliff Lake.

In addition to water resources, the Highlands region contains exceptional natural resources such as contiguous forest lands, wetlands, pristine watersheds and plant and wildlife species habitats. The region contains many sites of historic significance and provides abundant recreational opportunities. Approximately 110,000 acres of agricultural lands are in active production in the New Jersey Highlands region.

The Governor has made protecting the drinking water and open space in the Highlands one of his top priorities. He established a new Highlands Task Force charged to advance conservation efforts. In his two years in office, the Governor has preserved 50 farms—4,589 acres of farmland in the Highlands, protected nearly 17,000 acres of open space in and around the Highlands, and applied C1 designation to waterbodies in the region.

“This Administration is working diligently to shield the Highlands from sprawl,” said McGreevey. “Between 1995 and 2000, sprawl consumed 25,000 acres of forests and farmland in the Highlands. We must protect the Highlands from further development.”

Posted by: Staff at
March 02, 2004

McGreevey: the Water You Drink is from the Highlands

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