Land Trust Accreditation

GSWA becomes the 8th Organization in New Jersey to Receive the Prestigious Accreditation Seal

In 2017, the National Land Trust Accreditation Commission announced that the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) was formally designated as an accredited land trust, joining an elite group of only eight land trusts in New Jersey. Currently, we are part of their network of 950 member land trusts. This accreditation was the culmination of years of work and leadership by the GSWA to protect, preserve and promote New Jersey’s open spaces. This serves as the key anchor for us, as an organization, to provide stronger and broader involvement in land conservation.

GSWA has developed and implemented a series of initiatives to serve New Jersey as the premiere land conservation and advocate in the Passaic River region, providing environmental education to community groups, teachers, and students, serving as a needed advocate and defender of New Jersey’s precious natural resources, and promoting an understanding of the importance of protecting our drinking water and preserving the natural beauty of our environment. In addition to the National Land Trust Accreditation, we have expanded our mission to advocate on behalf of the entire Passaic River and became the formal river affiliate to the nationally-based Waterkeeper Alliance.

GSWA’s ownership of the wooded 73-acre natural area in Harding Township, known as the Conservation Management Area (CMA), is a great example our preservation efforts done through a series of land acquisitions over many years and the initial catalyst to applying for the National Land Trust designation. The CMA is an ecological gem—free of deer and invasive species, and home to several state and federally designated threatened species. It’s an excellent spot for families, schools, community groups, and individuals to hike the trails and learn more about what we do through interpretive signs. Through this accreditation, GSWA will continue to focus on securing additional environmentally sensitive properties in the area.

The Land Trust Alliance and Accreditation Commission

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance’s leadership serves the entire land trust community—their work in the nation’s capital represents the policy priorities of land conservationists from every state; their education programs improve and empower land trusts from Maine to Alaska; and their comprehensive vision for the future of land conservation includes new partners, new programs and new priorities. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission is an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. The process by which an organization achieves this accreditation is a rigorous one. Applicants are required to provide extensive documentation and undergo a comprehensive review, providing proof of sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance and lasting stewardship of the lands they protect. Once achieved, accreditation ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands.

The Great Swamp Watershed Association

Founded in 1981, GSWA is an environmental non-profit organization located in Harding, NJ. GSWA is dedicated to protecting and improving the waters and land of Great Swamp Watershed region and the Passaic River from the Great Swamp headwaters to Newark Bay, for present and future generations.  Through education, advocacy, science, land preservation, and stewardship, in collaboration with partners, GSWA works to instill its communities with an awareness of water’s effect on health and the beauty of the environment, from source to sea. The organization educates more than 2,500 school children, monitors 49 stream locations, and holds over 40 public events each year. For those interested in working with GSWA to preserve land in the region, please contact our Executive Director, Sally Rubin, at (973) 538-3500 or via email at

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