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HLT’s Ceaseless Efforts to Protect Our Critical Waterways
The waters flow cool and clear, ceaselessly and effortlessly, over the smooth stones below. Overhead, branches from the trees along the creek banks provide much-needed relief from the sun for the aquatic life darting about in the creek. Downstream, a box turtle, tired of sun bathing upon a log, plunges into the waters, its legs churning toward the opposite bank.
You would be hard pressed to find a more idyllic scene of a healthy ecosystem. With a name that would challenge a champion spelling bee contestant, the Little Nishisakawick Creek flows south and west for several miles before emptying into the waters of the majestic Delaware River at Frenchtown. The name of this Delaware tributary is thought to originate from the Unami (Leni Lenape) word neschi-sakquik, meaning “double outlet or mouth.”
Hunterdon Land Trust has considered protecting our precious waterways, like the Little Nishisakawick, strategically important since our founding more than a quarter of a century ago. For years, HLT has adhered to a strategic, regional conservation plan that identified critical areas where preservation will have the greatest impact. These areas of focus include our water quality, wildlife habitat and scenic views, and target a number of regions, including the Delaware River Scenic Corridor and the tributaries of the Delaware River.
The Delaware River Scenic Corridor features spectacular vistas, forested ravines and historic villages with breathtaking views of the Delaware River Valley. This stretch of the Delaware River also falls under the purview of the National Park Service’s Lower Delaware Wild & Scenic Program, which works to protect the scenic values and water quality, and seeks to improve public recreational opportunities of this historic river.
Preservation of land along this corridor helps ensure clean drinking water for countless area residents. The maintenance of natural buffers along the river and prevention of additional development help reduce runoff, mitigating the damaging effects of disastrous storms like last year’s Hurricane Ida.
HLT’s consistent focus on this corridor through the years can be seen in places like Kugler Woods, along the Route 29 byway, which was preserved in 2001; Horseshoe Bend Park, by the Delaware River bluffs a decade later; and most recently at the O’Sakame Preserve in the Holland Highlands on land previously owned by Gilbert Power Co. This 70-acre preservation, completed in 2021, again demonstrates how our unrelenting, targeted approach bears fruit. (You can read more about this preservation on page 5).
Protecting the tributaries that flow into the Delaware River—like the Lockatong, the Wickecheoke, and the Nishisakawick and Little Nishisakawick creeks – comprises another key component of HLT’s strategic efforts. These stream corridors and their adjoining flood-protecting wetlands provide critical wildlife habitat, along with numerous opportunities for hiking and other outdoor recreational activities.
And, again, water protection is critically important here. HLT has concentrated efforts on these tributaries dating back to 1996 with one of our earliest preservations, Zega-Lockatong, and continued the work since then and most recently with the preservation of the Kollmer and DeSapio farms, both of which the Little Nishisakawick Creek run through or near. (If you missed reading about that preservation, please click here.)
All of these efforts to safeguard our critical waterways succeed because of our incredible partners and your amazing support. Your dedication to protecting the places we all love is vital.
We ask you to support our ceaseless efforts by donating to Hunterdon Land Trust today. We have included a remittance envelope in this newsletter for your convenience, or you can make a safe and secure donation online by going here. As always, we thank you for your support.