Action Alert

NJDEP public hearing on proposal to increase the septic density in the Highlands Preservation Area:

6:00PM, Wednesday, June 1
NJ Highlands Council
100 North Rd
Chester, NJ 07930

(This is a non-adversarial public hearing by DEP. The Highlands Council is not a participant in the hearing. The Highlands Preservation Area Rules, which DEP proposes to amend, are implemented entirely by DEP).
Currently, in response to the Highlands Act's mandate that all permitted activity in the Highlands Preservation Area reflect a policy of “non-degradation” of groundwater resources, new construction of residential units on septic systems require a minimum acreage of:
88 acres in forested areas
25 acres in non-forested (agricultural) areas

In an amendment to the Highlands Preservation Area Rules (NJAC 7:38), DEP is proposing to decrease the minimum acres to:
11 acres in the Existing Community Zone (Highlands Council Land Use Capability Zone Map)
12 acres in the Conservation Zone (agricultural areas)
22 acres in the Protection Zone (forested areas)

The proposed change would result in an average 400% increase in allowed development in the Highlands Preservation Area, the 415,000-acre core forest that acts as a natural, no-cost water filtration system, thus providing 70% of New Jersey with a plentiful supply of clean water. Increasing the amount of new construction further compromises the ability of the Highlands Preservation Area forest to provide this ecological service, permanently.

More details to follow.

Read our recent OpEd on and The Star-Ledger here. Below is the design for our parody that will appear on a billboard outside of NJDEP headquarters in Trenton:
​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! 
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