Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA), a nonprofit dedicated to protecting land that safeguards clean water, has achieved national recognition for its work.

Raritan Headwaters was just accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission, joining a network of over 400 accredited land trusts across the United States that have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and maintaining the public’s trust.

“We’ve worked very hard to meet the rigorous standards for accreditation, and we’re excited to receive this distinction,” said Cindy Ehrenclou, RHA’s executive director. “Accreditation is like a seal of approval that shows that we are following best practices, and that we are a strong and effective organization.”

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For nearly 60 years, Raritan Headwaters has served as watershed watchdog for a 470-square-mile region in Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris counties. “Accreditation demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation in the upper Raritan River watershed, and our accountability to local residents who support our mission,” said Ehrenclou.

Raritan Headwaters has its headquarters at Fairview Farm, a 170-acre wildlife preserve in Bedminster. It owns and stewards ten preserves, holds 33 conservation easements, and has worked with partner groups to permanently preserve thousands of additional acres that protect local water resources. In addition, RHA has extensive education, science and policy programs.

“It is exciting to recognize Raritan Headwaters with this national mark of distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 400 accredited land trusts across the country that are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

RHA is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States, according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent census. Accredited land trusts steward almost 20 million acres of land – roughly the size of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. A complete list of accredited land trusts can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.