Coastal Ecosystems

  • Coastal Ecosystems
  • Diamondback Terrapins
  • Peregrine Falcons

Coastal Ecosystems

New York and New Jersey's extensive system of interconnected bays, rivers, estuaries and wetlands is one of the region's true natural treasures. As a dedicated steward of these critical ecosystems, the Port Authority is working in a number of ways, including direct habitat preservation and pollution reduction, to protect these invaluable habitats.

Photo of a local estuary

Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program

Since 2001, the Port Authority has authorized a total of $60 million each for the states of New Jersey and New York to preserve open space throughout the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. Under the program, the Port Authority provides funds to not-for-profit or public entities for the acquisition of property in the estuary identified as suitable for conservation, ecological enhancement, public access or environmental mitigation. To date, the Port Authority has acquired 152 acres in New York and 246 Acres in New Jersey.

Sites acquired for habitat protection

Sites acquired to date for habitat protection include:

New York:
Staten Island: Quintard Street, Butler Manor; and North Mount Loretto Woods

New Jersey:
Meadowlands: Meadowlark Tract in Bergen County and Murray Hill in East Rutherford
Middlesex County: Adams Property and an additional 69 acres in South Plainfield

Sites acquired to date for public access include:

New York:
Staten Island: North Shore Marina, Wiman Avenue, and a portion of the William H. Pouch Scout Camp
Queens: Idlewild Marsh and Beach 88 Street
Bronx: Harlem River Promenade at Depot Place

New Jersey:
Meadowlands: Boulevard Tire Site and the Barge Club/River Barge Park
Hudson County: A site included in Hackensack Riverfront Park in Jersey City
Essex County: Riverbank Park Extension
Monmouth County: 12.8 acres in Holmdel Township

For more information regarding the Port Authority’s acquisitions, click here.

Our primary partners on these projects include:

  • New York New Jersey Baykeeper
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program
  • National Parks Conservation Association
  • New York City Audubon
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan (CRP)

Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps), the Port Authority helped fund the Corps' $18.8 million Hudson-Raritan Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study.

The study evaluated restoration opportunities within the Port District, and prepared the groundwork for a draft Comprehensive Restoration Plan (CRP) released in Spring 2009. A revised CRP incorporating comments and revisions submitted in the course of a region-wide public information process, is scheduled for release in late 2011.

The CRP is the product of a multi-year effort by contributors from throughout the New York-New Jersey region, including leading scientists, technical experts, and stakeholders to provide a science based consensus vision, master plan and strategy for ecosystem restoration in the New York and New Jersey Harbor. The strategy focuses on creating and restoring a mosaic of habitats and includes recommendations for future restoration actions.

Areas considered in the CRP

New York State Open Space Conservation Plan

The Port Authority serves as an advisor in the preparation of biennial updates to the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan.

Reducing Stormwater and Other Discharges

Stormwater Management Program

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snow events accumulates sediment and contaminants as it flows over streets, parking lots and other surfaces. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a program to reduce stormwater discharges from new development and redevelopment. EPA's Phase II stormwater regulations became effective on March 10, 2003. Since both NY and NJ are fully delegated states, NYSDEC is the NPDES permitting authority for all NY facilities and NJDEP is the NPDES permitting authority for all NJ facilities.

All applicable Port Authority facilities have obtained NYSDEC or NJDEP permits and implemented Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP). SWPPPs, including soil erosion and sediment control plans, are also developed for all construction activities that disturb one acre or more. Our SWPPPs are designed to prevent stormwater runoff from contacting pollutants and reduce total runoff to local surface waterways.

Diamondback Terrapins at John F. Kennedy Airport

diamondback terrapin turtles at John F. Kennedy International

The great annual migration of nesting diamondback terrapin turtles at John F. Kennedy International happens from mid-June to early July, with these wayward turtles plodding out of Jamaica Bay and crawling toward sandy areas near a busy runway and taxiway to lay their eggs.

Wildlife specialists from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the US Department of Agriculture have been rounding up the turtles for years by hand at the airport's southeastern end, keeping them safe from departing and arriving aircraft. They are measured, their shells are marked, and they are electronically tagged for identification, before being released to safer areas.

To ensure continued protection of both the local turtles and aircraft utilizing JFK, the Port Authority installed cylindrical plastic barriers at the base of JFK's perimeter fencing in order to minimize airside rescues and keep them safely away on nearby beaches. Since the installation of the barriers and the new fencing, there have been 416 Diamondback Terrapins that have been picked up – which is a 48% decrease from 2013, and a 68% decrease from 2012.

View Photos of the Diamondback Terrapins

Check out some recent media coverage on our Diamondback Terrapins:

NBC 4 New York - June 2014

The New York Times - July 2014

Falcon nesting season

Falcons do not build nests. Nesting boxes at the Port Authority's Hudson River crossings have been constructed to aid the protection of the falcon eggs. The agency limits bridge construction near the nests to protect the falcons and workers. Construction is carefully coordinated near the nests between March 1 and August 1, which are the nesting and fledgling periods for the falcons. Since 1989, the agency has recorded 126 falcons hatched at its facilities.

Falcon Nesting Season

Protect the falcons

Falcon Nesting Season

View Photos of the Peregrine Falcons


Peregrine Falcons Videos

Banding a Chick

Adult Falcon


Media Coverage

Follow Peregrine Falcons on Twitter

Star Ledger Slide Show

The Star Ledger

The Jersey Journal

NY1's coverage

News 12 New Jersey's coverage


Related Sites:

NYC Environmental Protection

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Peregrine Fund

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