BOONTON — The next phase in the creation of a property management plan to protect the Boonton Reservoir and improve passive recreational access at the site will formally begin this month, as the Open Space Institute (OSI) and its partners begin a series of scheduled meetings with local municipalities.
The “Boonton Reservoir Protection and Trail Project” property management plan will create a blueprint for passive recreational access and water quality protection for the 1,300-acre Boonton Reservoir site in Morris County which has been the primary water supply of Jersey City since 1904.
“The Boonton Reservoir Protection and Trail Project lays the groundwork for creating a key public recreational opportunity that will be enjoyed for generations to come, while ensuring long-term protection of Jersey City’s drinking water,” said Terrence Nolan, OSI’s senior vice president.
At the public meetings, which will take place starting in October, local officials will be presented with a proposed, full property management plan, outlining details including the creation of an approximately eight-mile trail loop around the reservoir for walkers and nature lovers; installation of new drainage solutions and native plantings to reduce stormwater runoff; and making the land publicly accessible to the approximately 15,000 local residents who live nearby.
The dates of the public meetings are:
- October 1, Parsippany – 7:00 p.m. (1001 Parsippany Blvd, Parsippany, NJ 07054)
- October 2, Jersey City – 6:30 p.m. (280 Grove St, Jersey City, NJ 07302)
- October 21, Boonton – 7:30 p.m. (100 Washington St, Boonton, NJ 07005)
Additional meetings will take place in Jersey City. The times and dates of these meetings will be announced via the OSI Twitter account (@openspaceinst).
During the final meeting at the Jersey City Council, council members are expected to conduct a final vote on whether to move forward on the project. At each meeting, experts from the environmental consultancy Greener by Design, OSI’s consultants in developing the plan, will be in attendance.
In September 2018, the Jersey City Council passed a city ordinance authorizing the execution of a 40-year lease agreement with the Morris County Park Commission to develop and manage a trail at the Reservoir. The ordinance also authorized creation of a master plan to determine public use of the property.
The Boonton Reservoir site is located in Boonton and Parsippany-Troy Hills Townships. Fed by the Rockaway River, the 700-acre reservoir serves as the primary source of drinking water for Jersey City. On its way to Jersey City, the water passes from the reservoir through a treatment facility which purifies an average of 50 million gallons a day.
For decades, OSI has been a leader in conserving land for drinking water protection. OSI has protected over 11,000 acres through easements in the Beaverkill Valley and over 20,000 acres of New York City’s watershed lands in Delaware County — including around the Ashokan Reservoir, New York City’s deepest drinking water reservoir, which is also ringed by scenic, celebrated hiking, and biking trails.
Within the Delaware River Watershed Basin, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, OSI has also built upon this decade-long experience using scientific knowledge to drive on-the-ground land conservation work.
Through its Delaware River Watershed Initiative, OSI has approved grants totaling over $7.6 million to protect almost 20,000 acres of land to ensure water quality in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition, OSI has supported efforts to integrate watershed science in public and nonprofit planning initiatives to channel funding to protect important watershed lands.