Photo courtesy of Lisa MacCollum, New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

Raritan Headwaters Association is pleased to be part of successful partnership to preserve a 268-acre property in East Amwell Township, Hunterdon County. This project will protect water quality in the Neshanic River, a tributary of the South Branch of the Raritan River.

On Oct. 26, the partnership spearheaded by New Jersey Conservation Foundation acquired the land off Wertsville Road in East Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, from landowner John Higgins.

The Higgins property includes woodlands, farm fields, a scenic lake and several tributaries of the Neshanic River. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife identifies the land as a “Core Habitat Area” for wildlife.

This project helps secure the health of the Neshanic River, an important watershed of the Raritan Basin, a source of drinking water for 1.5 million New Jerseyans. The project partners are helping preserve our rural communities, key watershed lands, and the health of vital natural resources.

The Neshanic River is one of the watershed’s more impaired waterways due to stormwater pollution. This project presented an excellent opportunity to help project water quality in the Neshanic, so we were happy to be part of it.

Other partners in the preservation project include the state Office of Natural Resource Restoration, the New Jersey Green Acres Program, Hunterdon County, East Amwell Township, the Hunterdon Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and an anonymous foundation donor.

The Higgins property connects 150 previously-preserved acres in East Amwell to over 600 preserved acres in neighboring Hillsborough Township, Somerset County. The properties will all become part of a 1,150-acre preserve, straddling Somerset and Hunterdon counties, in the Sourland Mountains of central New Jersey. Additional acreage is expected to be preserved later this fall.

The newly-preserved land will be available for passive recreational activities, including, hiking, horseback riding, birding and nature observation. The property includes some existing trails, and a formal trail system is planned for the future.

Thank you to New Jersey Conservation Foundation and all our partners!