The New Jersey Highlands Coalition represents a diverse network of organizations — small and large, local, regional, statewide and national — and individuals. Our mission is to represent their common goal to protect,
enhance and restore the New Jersey Highlands and to preserve the quality and
quantity of drinking water both for the 850,000 people in the Highlands as well as the more than
four million people in surrounding areas who depend on Highlands water.
Subscribe to the Highlands News Service: Once each morning, six days a week, important news pertaining to the NJ Highlands delivered directly to your inbox. A free service sponsored by the NJ Highlands Coalition, ANJEC and the Musconetcong Mountain Conservancy.
Water in New Jersey is owned by the people of New Jersey. That includes the pond in your neighbor’s backyard, the stream that runs along the road, the water in the soils a few feet under your feet, etc. It is held in public trust by the State to manage and protect for us. The Legislature reminds us of this arrangement—which is rooted in Roman Law— whenever it enacts laws that pertain to our shared water resource. For example, the opening of the 1981 Water Supply Management Act (58:1A-2) states:
“The Legislature finds and declares that the water resources of the State are public assets of the State held in trust for its citizens and are essential to the health, safety, economic welfare, recreational and aesthetic enjoyment, and general welfare, of the people of New Jersey; that ownership of these assets is in the State as trustee of the people…”
Water is both a natural resource and a commodity with mercantile value. If the State is not executing its public trust responsibility faithfully, diligently, and with all due care, we must remind it of the obligation. If the State through its actions or inaction allows conditions or activities that threaten to degrade the quality or diminish the quantity of our water, it must be challenged.
At the present time there are too many examples of State level policy and actions that pose threats to our water resources, in both the Executive and Legislative branches; NJDEP’s Waiver Rule, the Permit Extension Act of 2012, the Governor’s hostility towards the Highlands Act and his undermining of the New Jersey Highlands Council, to name just a few. Together, these amount to pervasive and alarming governmental malfeasance that is squandering our public trust resource. It is time to insist that it end.
Through our Uphold the Highlands Campaign, we intend to engage you in helping us demand that our government officials act responsibly, and to place the public need over those of special interests, particularly when it comes to protecting our water and other natural and cultural resources. Watch for our Uphold the Highlands Campaign messages.
Our friend, naturalist, wildlife photographer and active member of the NJHC Natural Heritage Committee, Blaine Rothauser, offers a deeply insightful presentation on the nexus of beauty, wildlife and water in the Highlands, illustrated by his stunning photography. Check out the details here.
CHECK OUT OUR LATEST BILLBOARD
Our joint Water Campaign with the Pinelands Preservation Alliance includes a regularly updated billboard on W. State Street in Trenton, directly outside of NJDEP. This is a copy of the current billboard.
Check out the highlights video and you won't miss it again next year!
|Video recording of the firing of
Highlands Council Executive Director Eileen Swan
|Governor, You are Misinformed! Watch the video!|
New Jersey Highlands Coalition
508 Main Street
Boonton, NJ 07005