$60 million investment in open space, wildlife habitat and wetlands
KEYPORT, NJ - "NY/NJ Baykeeper applauds the Port Authority of NYNJ Board of Trustees and the States of New York and New Jersey for approving an additional $60 million for its Hudson Raritan Estuary Resources Program (HRERP) as part of its environmental and sustainability initiative included in the recently approved $27.6 billion, 10-year Capital Plan," said Greg Remaud, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Deputy Director.
This is the second 10-year allocation of HRERP funding, in which funds are split between New York and New Jersey to acquire natural lands that provide wildlife habitat, open space, public access to waterways, and storm resiliency to the millions of residents living in the region.
"Around the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary region every acre of open space is extremely valuable," said Remaud. "The ability to acquire hundreds of acres of the highest priority natural lands to protect communities in this densely-populated region is what has made the Port Authority's HRERP so exceptional."
So far, in New Jersey the Port Authority has protected over 300 acres of land through twelve acquisitions that were initiated through partnerships between Baykeeper and variety of government entities and community groups. These acquisitions helped create three new waterfront parks in formerly underserved areas - the Barge Park in Carlstadt, Hackensack River Waterfront Park in Jersey City, and the Passaic River Waterfront Park in Newark.
The preserved land also includes floodplains and wetlands in places like the New Jersey Meadowlands, Middlesex County's Dismal Swamp Freshwater Wetland Complex and the stream corridors of the Raritan Bayshore. These acquisitions provide a variety of quality of life amenities while serving as buffers to protect communities and properties from events like Hurricane Sandy.
"We thank Executive Director Patrick Foye for his leadership and aiming this next round of funds at natural lands that have the capacity to strengthen resiliency against future losses from extreme weather and sea level rise," said Remaud. "And we look forward to working with Deputy Executive Director Deborah Gramiccioni on continuing the great success of this program."
"The lands that were protected are a great reflection of the Port Authority's desire to strike a balance - to provide public access and protect the estuary's coastal edge, with a focus on areas that absorb climate-related flooding, while reducing sediment loads into the harbor", said Marc Matsil, NYS Director for The Trust for Public Land.
In New York, the Port Authority has protected 153 acres through work with NYS Trust for Public Land and others. These acquisitions include some of NCY's most iconic landscapes including Pouch Camp and North Mount Loretto in Staten Island, Depot Place along the Harlem River, and Idlewild Marshes in Jamaica Bay.
All properties acquired through this program were listed on the bi-state Harbor Estuary Program priority acquisition site list and were vetted and endorsed by over a dozen federal, state and municipal agencies as well as conservation organizations. Baykeeper has been honored to work with the Port Authority of NYNJ and our close colleagues and New York counterparts, the New York State Office of the Trust for Public Land, in assisting with identifying and acquiring sites that meet program criteria.