Join • Donate

Individual Membership Button

Organization Membership Button

Get Involved

Link to Action Alerts

Link to Comments to Agencies

Link to Forest Stewardship Position Paper

Link to In the News page

Link to the Highlands Plan for Citizens

Link to the small Grants Program page

Link to Form990

Amazon Smile Button

Find Us
Find Us on Facebook
  Follow NJ Highlanders on Twitter   Instagram

Natural Resources

Angler, Speedwell Lake, Morristown

Speedwell Lake, Morris County
Photo Courtesy The Land Conservancy of New Jersey


Water Supply

The New Jersey Highlands is a vital source of water for New Jersey. The region’s forests, wetlands, wells, streams and reservoirs provide as much as 770 million gallons of potable water daily. Over five million people — more than half of the State’s population — rely on the Highlands for their drinking water. Most of them live outside the Highlands region, in Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset, Passaic, and Union counties.

Highlands residents get their water from wells that depend on groundwater aquifers, while residents of the rest of the state are supplied by the surface water of Highlands streams and reservoirs. The major surface water supply systems located in the Highlands include:

[back to top]


Forests, Biodiversity, and Wildlife

Over half of the area in the New Jersey Highlands is forested land. Forests help protect water quality by capturing rainfall, recharging groundwater aquifers, filtering nutrients, preventing soil erosion and reducing run-off. Forests also moderate temperature, filter the air, and help combat global warming. Moreover, forests provide habitat to plants and animals, and preserve biodiversity.

The New Jersey Highlands have exceptionally diverse natural communities. Black bear, river otters, bobcat and wild trout make their homes in the region, as do many other species of mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles. And, more than 200 species of birds breed in, migrate through and winter in the region.

Seventy-two New Jersey-listed endangered, threatened and rare animal species live in the New Jersey Highlands, including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies and mussels. Three species — the Indiana bat, bog turtle, and bald eagle — are Federally-listed. Also, 137 endangered, imperiled and rare plant species can be found in the region.

[back to top]


Open Space and Recreation

The region’s parks, lakes, hills, and beautiful landscapes give the millions of people in the New York Metropolitan area a chance to escape the congestion. Nearly one third of the area of the NJ Highlands is open space — lands and farms that, through the preservation efforts of governments, private individuals, and non-profit organizations, have some level of protection.

Visitors to the Highlands can find many miles of hiking trails, as well as opportunities to swim, boat, canoe, windsurf, sail, hunt, fish, downhill or cross-country ski, bike, golf, picnic, photograph, or bird watch.

[back to top]