Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bergen SWAN

Bergen SWAN's (Save the Watershed Action Network) primary focus has been, since its founding in 1988, on the preservation of the natural lands surrounding the drinking water supply reservoirs in Bergen (NJ) and Rockland (NY) counties.

They have been a major force in saving over 8oo acres from residential and commercial development, and work with numerous national and regional land trusts to negotiate land preservation deals.

In 1997, they established the Hackensack River Watershed Fund to facilitate the financing of local watershed lands threatened with development.

Bergen SWAN has been working for the preservation of the watershed buffer forests around drinking water reservoirs. These narrow, protective, forest buffers around reservoirs represent some of the only unbroken stretches of woods in an intensely populated, increasingly urban northern New Jersey area.

The watershed buffers are a critical link to sound watershed management for the Upper Hackensack, helping to maintain safe drinking water quality for nearly one million Bergen and Hudson County residents in New Jersey and in Rockland County, NY.

Watershed buffers not only filter and slow runoff while absorbing pollutants, but help control erosion, mitigate flooding and provide habitat for wildlife.

Additionally, these areas can provide areas for hiking and passive recreation

Part of the preservation process is educating residents of the area about good "streamkeeping" by those residents living alongside waterways. The installation of stormwater controls (such as rain gardens), eliminating the use of high phosphorus fertilizers, and promoting non-toxic, environmentally sound practices in public places and golf courses.

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