NY-NJ Harbor and Estuary Program Releases Draft Action Agenda for 2017-2022
Anniversaries of Hudson River Protection Efforts Celebrated at Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Conference in NYC
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that officials from local, state, and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, scientists, and other stakeholders gathered to mark the 30th anniversaries of DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program and the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program, as well as the 35th anniversary of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. The three anniversaries were recognized at the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Conference in New York City.
"The State of the Estuary Conference is an opportunity to come together around a shared vision to improve the health of the Hudson River Estuary and the New York-New Jersey Harbor," Commissioner Seggos said. "The health and vitality of the Hudson River and the Harbor are critical to New York State, both environmentally and economically."
During the conference, State of the Estuary: Looking Back, Moving Forward, the federal/bi-state NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program released its draft Action Agenda for 2017-2022, available online at Harbor Estuary's website, (link leaves DEC) for public comment. The agenda, developed by representatives of federal, state, and local government; civic and environmental organizations; and the scientific community, identifies 35 proposed actions to continue progress towards cleaner water, restored fish and wildlife habitat, improved public access, and more efficient support of maritime activities.
The conference focused on actions needed to improve the health of the estuary, reflecting on past successes and upcoming challenges. Topics included investments in water quality, river access, and habitat conservation, as well as exploring the links between estuary health and community well-being.
The conference was organized by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program and the NY-NJ Harbor and Estuary Program with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. It was hosted by the New York University Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education, at the New York University School of Law.
Speakers included DEC Deputy Commissioner of Water Resources Jim Tierney; Dawn Zimmer, Mayor of the City of Hoboken; Javier Laureano, Director, EPA Clean Water Division; Angela Licata, Assistant Commissioner, New York City Department of Environmental Protection; Dan Kennedy, Assistant Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and The conference agenda is available on the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary (link leaves DEC) website.
"Healthy estuaries in the New York-New Jersey Harbor and the Hudson River are vital to the environmental and economic health of New York, New Jersey and beyond," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Catherine McCabe. "Today, we celebrate 30 years of successful collaboration in working with our states and bringing stakeholders together to work collectively to protect and restore these critical local resources of national importance."
"The NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program is celebrating thirty years of collaboration by inviting the public to submit comments on its draft 2017-2022 Action Agenda" said Robert Pirani, Director of the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program. "The 35 proposed actions by the Program and its public and private partners will continue progress on clean water, habitat restoration, and public access."
"The health and vitality of the Hudson River and the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary are paramount to the state of New Jersey," said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Bob Martin. "This conference is an opportunity to take stock of the steps that have been taken and the progress that still needs to occur as the states, scientists and stakeholders work toward a better estuary."
"From its Adirondack headwaters to the Harbor, the Hudson River is more fully understood, better managed, and more accessible than it was 30 years ago," said Clay Hiles, Executive Director of the Hudson River Foundation. "The Foundation is proud of its work to support the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary and the Hudson River Estuary Programs from their inception and joins with our other partners in celebrating their achievements."
"The Hudson River Estuary and the NY/NJ Harbor serve as a majestic outdoor classroom for promoting environmental literacy, STEM education and stewardship for thousands of students and educators. The State of the Estuary Conference is an opportunity to celebrate 30 decades of education, restoration, conservation and research," said Mary Leou, Professor at New York University and director of the NYU Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education.
The Hudson River Estuary Program's 2015-2020 Action Agenda (PDF, 1.40 MB), released in 2015 and available on DEC's website, is a blueprint to achieve six key benefits: clean water; resilient communities; a vital estuarine ecosystem; conservation of its fish, wildlife, and habitats; preservation of the region's natural scenery; and enhanced opportunities for education, river access, recreation and inspiration. Implementation of the Action Agenda relies on partnerships with federal and state agencies, as well as municipalities, academic and scientific institutions, businesses, and citizens.
Comments on the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program's draft Action Agenda are due July 14, 2017 to HEPAgenda2017@hudsonriver.org. The final agenda will be released in 2018.