D&R Greenway Land Trust
High Falls

Why Preserve Land?

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"The story of land is older that the story of man. Every society must devise ways in which its members will share this gift and under what conditions that land will be passed on to the next generation. This is continuity." --From "The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model for Land Tenure in America."

Having sufficient amounts of contiguous natural lands is vital to the survival of our environment. This open space is required to protect our drinking water supplies and clean air, promote healthier, active lifestyles, preserve habitat for native plants and animal species, and provide nesting and breeding places for birds.
Land preservation plays a critical role in the future of our environment.

Protecting Water Supplies

D&R Greenway Land Trust's land preservation region encompasses the streams and headwaters that supply the Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Delaware River - both essential water resources for the citizens of New Jersey. The Delaware & Raritan Canal supplies drinking water to over one million residents in central New Jersey.

Our water can be protected by preserving land to create buffer zones and water recharge areas along rivers, streams, and creeks, preventing flash floods and keeping pollutants to a minimum. Promoting smart growth and green planning designs can help prevent the construction of impermeable surfaces in critical areas where millions of cubic feet of rainwater become polluted runoff. A significant amount of rainwater is lost annually to storage for our water supply because of increases in the amount of paved impervious surfaces. For more information on watersheds and water supply management, please
click here.

New Jersey has the highest population density in the country and maintaining an adequate supply of clean water is critical. Escalating development adds more impervious surface coverage which increases runoff, flooding, and water pollution.

Anatomy of a Land Deal - Printable Copy

Promoting a Healthier Environment

Over-development can deteriorate our way of life and the natural environment. The results are automobile pollution, and more roads and asphalt over land that is essential for water purification. Identifying greenways (see below) can help us design and control development to minimize its negative effects - pollution, traffic, reduced recreation space, loss of historically and biologically significant areas. 

Supporting a Better Quality of Life

People, from infants to the elderly, need access to open space for recreation, spiritual growth, and activity that promotes health. Parks and trails provide a vital resource for everyone for biking, hiking, walking, bird-watching, boating and quiet reflection. By protecting open space, we are also protecting the woodlands and fields, plants, birds, and animals that are essential to balance and biodiversity in our communities.

Why are Greenways Important? Cherry Valley Greenway in Montgomery Township, NJ

Greenways are unbroken chains of preserved open space surrounding stream corridors, headwaters, water recharge areas and significant ecosystems. Building and protecting greenways is important for several reasons. Contiguous properties provide better protection for streams, ponds and other waterways. Contiguous open space is better at recharging more rainwater into our underground aquifers. Wildlife, including neo-tropical migrating birds, requires a considerable number of intact acres of grassland or woodland in order to reproduce and thrive in significant numbers. Creating bands or swathes of protected open space is an effective smart growth tool, creating natural green barriers against unchecked sprawl.

Picture this...

Since 1989, with the help and support of our partners, D&R Greenway Land Trust has preserved over 17,000 acres. However, if this land had been developed, what would we have instead? Take 10,000 acres of land:

  • For every two acres, on average, one house would have been built. That's 2,500 additional houses.
  • Every house generates, on average, 10 car trips per day. That's a total of an additional 25,000 car trips per day. Or 175,000 car trips per week. Or 9,100,000 car trips per year.
  • Every house, on average, would use 350 gallons of water per day. That's a total of an additional 875,000 gallons of water per day. Or 6,125,000 additional gallons of water per week. Or 318,500,000 additional gallons of water per year.
  • Every home has, on average 2.2 children. That's a total of 5,500 children. Each child requires a municipal investment of $12,000 per year for primary and secondary education. That's a total of $66,000,000 in education costs per year.
  • Natural lands in our area costs between $5,000 and $100,000 per acre to preserve. However, not preserving them could end up costing all of us a whole lot more.

Please note: These statistics were generated with assumptions commonly used by municipal planning boards.

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