Your Spring Gift is Needed to Protect our Water: an Earth Day appeal.

Please respond ASAP or by April 22.

This Earth Day we must defend our Water more than ever before.
I am sure you are wondering why this Earth Day has such urgency. Friday April 22nd is Earth Day 2016 and we have a critical focus to this year’s activities.
You see, in 2004, the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act became law, bold legislation that preserved NJ’s most precious asset: a clean and abundant source of drinking water.
Now, twelve years after the Act's passage, we applaud the good sense of our elected officials who preserved, for generations to come, the source of drinking water on which we and 70% of New Jersey’s residents depend.
By enacting this Legislation, the State of NJ set in motion one of the most environmentally and economically important programs ever adopted.  Yet, ironically, we now have to defend it because it is under attack by Trenton! I need your help to protect it.  The Governor is determined to reverse environmental regulations while he’s still in office.  Rules to protect the Highlands and its forests and headwaters, prevent downstream flooding, preserve water quality, and allow stormwater and wastewater management will be decimated to make it easier to develop in environmentally sensitive areas.  WE ARE PUSHING BACK, BUT WE NEED YOUR ACTIVE HELP AND SUPPORT!

Elliott Ruga at the Statehouse "Save the Highlands" Rally
Will you make a donation now?  We won’t succeed in protecting our water without your help!
Please know that your membership support has not gone unnoticed.  Thank you for that.  However, this spring appeal is needed over and above your annual membership gift because of the work at hand to defend our clean waters.
Your additional support at this time is crucial to help us meet the challenges we face from Trenton. 
Please be assured that anything you give is appreciated, celebrated and used well.        
Recently, the NJ Geological and Water Survey reported that 332 municipalities in 16 New Jersey counties depend on the Highlands for their water supply. This means that 70% of the State’s population, or 6.2 million people, need us!  This is an increase from the 64% previously reported. Clearly, the growing need for clean water will continue, which means that as the pressure to develop the Highlands increases, there is even more reason for us to work together and take immediate action.
In an October rally on the steps of the State House in Trenton, I stood with Elliott and George, our Coalition staff, and with New Jersey’s most prominent environmental leaders, as your voice. We were leading the “Save the Highlands” campaign, working to prevent the Department of Environmental Protection from weakening regulations that protect against building in environmentally sensitive areas and reduce the impacts of the downstream flooding it causes.
The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is considering a major roll back of the rules that safeguard the Highlands. Recently, the DEP informed us of their intention to allow a four-fold increase in residential development in the Highlands Preservation Area.  Won’t you help us stop this proposal by making a donation now?

George Stafford promoting a municipal resolution of support for the goals of the Highlands Act
Over the last few months, with your support and acting as your voice, we have worked with Coalition members to submit extensive, expert comments to the DEP and the Highlands Council on many issues.  You can find them online at  Each of these comments was researched and developed by experts and defended in critical peer review meetings.
We are also excited to be working with the Columbia Environmental Law Clinic and the Eastern Environmental Law Center on legal challenges to a number of these rule proposals.
May I count on your donation?  If we are going to succeed in our efforts to protect the Highlands from continued assault, we need you to stand with us now.  Your calls and emails for the open space implementation bill (A4197) helped ensure its passage in the Assembly with solid, bipartisan support! Your strong backing for ACR-249 (the state water quality and flood protection resolution) facilitated its passage in the Assembly with 45 of 80 legislators in favor, a significant victory and hard fought battle in the Legislature to stop the weakening of Flood Hazard Area Rules.  Please continue your part by supporting the Coalition with a donation today.
You make all of our efforts possible.  Your support protects the Highlands and this place we call home. Working together, we will ensure protection of the NJ Highlands and leave a true legacy for generations to come. Too many of our hard won environmental laws are at risk of being rolled back, so you and I together need to stand up for clean water and stand up for effective and critical Highlands protections. Please stand with us and make a contribution now.
We need to raise $20,000 with this appeal, which is part of our $526,000 annual budget.
You can visit to make your gift on-line. 
Celebrate Earth Day and join forces with me, our volunteers, the Board of Directors and the staff to ensure that the Highlands will continue as an abundant source of clean drinking water, diverse wildlife, healthy forests and beautiful open space for us all to enjoy.
As always, I welcome your calls or emails if you have any questions. I hope to hear from you ASAP or by April 22.

Julia Somers
Executive Director
​About the New Jersey Highlands Coalition

We represent a diverse network of organizations - small and large, local, regional, statewide and national - and individuals with the common goal to protect, enhance and restore the New Jersey Highlands and to preserve the quality and quantity of drinking water both for the 850,000 people in the Highlands as well as the more than 4.6 million people in Northern and Central New Jersey who depend on Highlands water. For more information visit our website:

Thank you for all of your support! 
508 Main Street | Boonton | New Jersey | 07005