West Brook Preserve purchase protects watershed

Says move protects one of the most important watersheds lfet in state


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  • Photo by Sandy Urgo The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has taken over the management of West Brook Preserve in West Milford.



BY ANN GENADER

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has completed the purchase of 170 acres of West Brook Preserve property in West Milford for $975,000.

An additional adjacent parcel of 28 acres, donated by The Passaic River Coalition has been added to the tract.

The conservancy's website refers to this parcel as one of the most important watershed properties remaining in New Jersey. It contains the beginning of the West Brook, one of the primary water sources for Wanaque Reservoir which provides two million New Jersey residents with their drinking water.

The preserve includes a valley with steep, rocky hillsides, wetlands and a "Category One" trout production stream.

The water flow is designated as a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection designation ‑‑ indicating a clean and high quality of water.

“This is one of the most important remaining unprotected watershed properties remaining in the state and by preserving it we are securing clean water, open space and new recreational opportunities for future residents of West Milford, Passaic County and New Jersey,” said David Epstein, president of the conservancy.

The conservancy will remove an existing house from the property, create a parking lot and develop hiking trails within the preserve.

Studies will continue to seek ways to restore the natural hydrology of the preserve which was damaged by past construction.

The 200-acre preserve will be managed by the conservancy and further the mission of protecting waterways in Passaic County and the rest of the state.

The funding for the purchase was provided by the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Passaic River Coalition, Green Acres Program, New Jersey Highlands Council, the Victoria Foundation, the PSE&G Foundation, the Union Foundation, the E.J. Grassman Trust and 25 individual donors who provided $266,000 in private contributions.

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