Regional Planning Protects Our Water Supply – and much, much more …
These two special regions – the Highlands and the Pinelands of New Jersey – each have unique laws and regional growth management plans that aim to protect forests and water supplies from being destroyed by sprawling, uncontrolled development. These plans bar or limit development of hundreds of thousands of acres of forests, while channeling growth into existing towns and designated growth areas.
By restricting sprawl, the Pinelands and Highlands programs protect the forests that provide us clean water, as well as beautiful natural areas for all New Jersey residents. Without these special programs, sprawling development will destroy critical water supplies and replace our already diminishing natural landscapes with more subdivisions and shopping malls.
Forest Protection is Key
Forests cleanse and store our water supply. In contrast, developed land contaminates water and streams and rivers, preventing water from infiltrating back into the watershed and depleting the natural hydrological cycle.
New Jersey’s history of sprawling development and loss of forests shows that only long-term, proactive, regional planning of where development should and should not go can save our remaining forests and maintain our long term economic health.
Because the natural and man-made systems that enable water resource protection extend beyond municipal and county boundaries, water can only be saved if growth is managed at a regional level, by a regional planning authority, such as we find in the Highlands and Pinelands land use plans.
By protecting forests and water, the Pinelands and Highlands regional land-use plans promote healthy, sustainable state and local economies. Through regional planning, economic and environmental goals can be successfully balanced.
Focus Growth in the Right Places
Focusing growth in existing communities protects our investments in existing infrastructure maintains the economic vitality of our cities and towns, and is necessary to protect the environment.
Planning on a regional scale requires the cooperation of many different interests that are bound by a common purpose and vision. It is the only way to focus growth in the right places and protect our surviving forests and working farms.
And the Highlands and Pinelands plans bring many other benefits as well:
- Beautiful natural areas for strolling, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, and all sorts of nature activities.
- Habitat for a unique diversity of wildlife and plants, including many species that have become extremely rare due to loss of their habitats in other places.
- Air cleansing services, as forests absorb excess carbon dioxide and other air pollutants.
New Jersey’s regional planning programs in the Highlands and Pinelands work, benefiting the entire state.
SaveH20NJ.org is a campaign of Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. Contact either organization for more information or learn more here.
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