The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the draft Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2021-2025, a five-year blueprint for conserving and restoring the Hudson River estuary and its watershed.
DEC is accepting public comments on the draft through July 9th, 2021. In addition, DEC released the 2015 – 2020 Hudson River Estuary Program Coordinator’s Report, which provides the context for the strategies and actions outlined in the draft Action Agenda.
The Hudson River Action Agenda is updated every five years to address current trends and opportunities. For example, some of the estuary’s signature fisheries, such as shad, are in a trend of decline while others, like Atlantic sturgeon, appear to be recovering. Changing land-use patterns in the watershed affect the region’s biological diversity and water resources, and climate change and related tidal flooding are affecting community shorelines and river access sites such as parks and preserves. The proposed actions are built around delivering the key benefits people receive from a strong and vibrant Hudson River Estuary ecosystem.
Highlights of the 2021 – 2025 Action Agenda include:
- Research and monitoring to improve the sustainability of migratory fishes;
- Restoration of river habitats;
- Long-term plans to bolster progress being made to better manage wastewater discharges into the Hudson;
- Management for habitat and flood resiliency of tributary streams;
- Assistance to help communities adapt to climate-change impacts and address land use changes;
- Outdoor programs and web-accessible content to inform and engage the public; and
- Enhancements to make sites along the Hudson accessible to more people.
DEC believes the outcomes included in the Action Agenda are measurable and achievable by 2030, and build on a successful record of progress in each of the Hudson River Estuary Program’s core areas of expertise. As described in the 2015 – 2020 Hudson River Estuary Coordinator’s Report, from 2015 – 2020, this DEC program provided technical assistance, grants, research, or other support in 163 watershed communities, including at least 700 specific projects. DEC awarded 156 Estuary Program grants totaling more than $10 million.
The Hudson River Estuary Management Advisory Committee helps guide DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, and includes representatives of the commercial fishing industry, recreational anglers, utility companies, local government, educators, researchers, conservationists and other river users, and helps engage many representatives of the public in working together toward common goals. DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program was created in 1987 and helps people enjoy, protect, and revitalize the estuary and the Hudson River Valley.
Implementation of the Action Agenda is funded through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and carried out through extensive outreach, coordination with state and federal agencies, and public-private partnerships through grants and restoration projects; education, research and training; natural resource conservation and protection; and community planning assistance.
The Draft Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2021-2025 is available on DEC’s website. Comments can be emailed with “Action Agenda” in the subject line to email@example.com or mailed through July 9 to: Hudson River Estuary Program, NYSDEC Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, New York 12561.
Photo of Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda provided.