Economic Growth and Environmental Stewardship at Spruce Run
Route 31 and Route 173 highway corridors represent a tremendous
potential for economic growth in the Spruce Run region. Unfortunately,
this growth potential also represents a significant threat to the water
quality of the reservoir. With these issues in mind, the New Jersey
Water Supply Authority teamed up with the Townships of Bethlehem,
Lebanon and Union and High Bridge Borough to secure a grant from the Association
of New Jersey Environmental Commissions to explore ways to
accommodate reasonable growth while protecting the environment.
January through May the staff of NJWSA’s Watershed Protection Unit
working with the Environmental Planning firm of
AKRF, Inc. and member
municipalities of the Spruce Run Initiative collected and analyzed data
on local land use, economic trends, and watershed protection practices.
The project team also hosted a series of public meetings, workshops and
roundtable sessions to receive input from town leaders,
environmentalist, businesspeople and area residents. The result of the
study, entitled “Spruce
Run Initiative Corridor Study” is a series of
recommendations offered to local communities, which help guide future
growth in an environmentally responsible manner.
are organized into two categories: watershed scale and site scale. At
the watershed scale the study encourages redevelopment and growth in the
existing town centers at Clinton Town, High Bridge, and Glen Gardner.
The study further recommends reducing the land available for commercial
growth overall, thereby limiting the potential for sprawl type
development. This could be achieved by limiting future development to
cluster nodes at West Portal, exits 11, 13 and 15 of I-78, Glen Gardner,
and the flats in High Bridge. At the site scale the study offers
recommendations to improve local stormwater management, protect on-site
environmentally sensitive lands, reduce impervious surfaces, and foster
good site design.
pursuit of regional studies, which recognize the needs of individual
communities and result in proactive environmental improvements, is a
founding principal of the Spruce Run Initiative. The watershed
protection unit of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority is developing
similar partnerships in the Raritan-Highlands region, the Somerset
region and elsewhere in the Raritan Basin.