Hudson River Restoration Plan Released
A new tool to guide restoration and protection actions to sustain priority habitats in the Hudson River estuary is now available for community groups, government agencies, scientists and conservation organizations, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced.
The Hudson River Estuary Habitat Restoration Plan identifies four priority habitat types for restoration: intertidal (the area between high and low tide), shallow water, shorelines and tributaries, from the federal dam at Troy to the Tappan Zee Bridge. These habitats are all important to the overall health of the ecosystem; have been degraded or destroyed on a large scale by human action; and provide feasible opportunities for restoration.
“The Habitat Restoration Plan provides a foundation for achieving the Estuary Program’s goal,” said Commissioner Martens. “The work includes restoring tidal wetlands, natural shorelines and shallows, and facilitating fish passage up the Hudson’s tributaries. Restoring healthy habitats provides significant benefits for fish, birds, turtles, crabs, mammals, invertebrate animals and the residents of the Hudson River Valley and New York State.”
Dating back to the early 1800s a variety of activities damaged habitats in the Hudson River estuary including dredging of the navigation channel and filling of adjacent wetlands; construction of the railroad along sensitive shoreline habitats; and construction of dams in tributaries, affecting fish, bird and wildlife populations. In addition, loss of coastal shallows and wetlands has reduced the diversity and productivity of these important natural areas, limiting the Hudson’s ability to adapt to climate change and rapid sea-level rise.
Loss of coastal shallows and wetlands also has made coastal communities more vulnerable to flooding and intense storms by removing the natural barriers that protect against weather extremes.
The Hudson River Estuary Habitat Restoration Plan is intended for use by community groups, government agencies, scientists, conservation organizations and other restoration organizations throughout the region to plan, carry out and evaluate habitat restoration and protection projects that will improve ecosystem health and resilience and support adaptation to sea-level rise by river shoreline communities.
The Hudson River Habitat Restoration Plan was developed with input from state and federal regulatory agencies, scientists, natural resource managers and non-governmental organizations.