Press Release Article


SUCCESSFUL PORT AUTHORITY LAND PRESERVATION PROGRAM RENEWED WITH ADDITIONAL $60 MILLION OPEN SPACE COMMITMENT MADE BY AGENCY’S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Date: Apr 24, 2014
Press Release Number: 87-2014

Agency’s Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program has already preserved nearly 400 acres of wetlands and other open spaces in the Port District

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an additional $30 million authorization each for the states of New York and New Jersey to preserve open space throughout the Hudson-Raritan Estuary area. The program, which began in 2001, provides the public with additional access to coastal resources, establishes new parkland in coastal and underserved communities, protects important wildlife and provides ecological benefits that help reduce damage to property from major storm events. It serves as a counterweight to the impacts of the Port Authority’s development in the region.

Under the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program, the Port Authority provides funds to not-for-profit or public entities for the acquisition of open space within the estuary endangered by development. Port Authority professional staff work with environmental groups to select properties that are in the Port District and on a list of properties that need to be preserved and in danger of development.

The Port Authority’s Office of Environmental and Energy Programs, in concert with the Real Estate Services Department, coordinates the program with outside third parties to help fund the purchase of strategic properties that foster conservation, ecological enhancement, public access, or environmental stewardship.

“The Port Authority strives to develop a balance in our investments in transportation infrastructure with creating valuable recreational space and preserving important wetland habitats,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “The additional funding for the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program allows us to continue with our commitment to improving the quality of life throughout the region.”

“The Port Authority's Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program also enables this agency to help protect the natural resources of communities impacted by Port Authority development within the Port District and along the waterfront,” said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni. “Several of the sites are in hurricane coastal hazard flood zones, and this program funding supports the development of storm buffers throughout the estuary.”

Since its launch in 2001 with an initial $60 million outlay, the Board has approved property transactions and improvements through funding agreements and reimbursements for approximately 152 acres in New York and 246 acres in New Jersey.

“The degradation and loss of wetlands allows more pollutants to enter our waters and leaves people more vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as flooding,” said Judith A. Enck, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator. “Land preservation programs, particularly programs that preserve wetlands, improve water quality and make communities more resilient. This is a great program that benefits communities throughout the Hudson-Raritan Estuary.”

"The lands that were protected through the HRERP 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. “This has been a win-win for public access and resiliency of the NY/NJ Harbor and bordering neighborhoods. The enormity of recent storm events, and the likelihood of more extreme weather in the future, underscores the need to better integrate land conservation and enhancements to better protect our coastal communities. Pouch Camp--one of the region's most iconic landscapes--has been protected due to the Port's great vision. Boy Scouts, many from some of our region's most underserved households, will continue to learn the value of outdoor environmental education under the stars. Bravo to Governors Cuomo and Christie and the Port Authority of NY and NJ.”

“During the past decade, no program has made a greater contribution to open space preservation and public access to the region’s waterways then the Port Authority of NY/NJ’s Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program,” said Greg Remaud, Deputy Director of NY/NJ Baykeeper. “Hundreds of acres of important salt marsh, freshwater wetlands, and woodland habitat were preserved; new waterfront parks were created; nature trails along rivers and creeks were connected and enlarged. And, the Port Authority’s investment in the region’s green infrastructure was successfully leveraged several times over through both matching funds and adjacent conservation land purchases by various government and non-profit entities.”

"The Port Authority's commitment to invest an additional $60 million for the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program will help millions of people enjoy green open spaces, wildlife habitat, and public access," said Robert Pirani, Program Director of the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP) at the Hudson River Foundation. "This new commitment supports HEP's ongoing comprehensive restoration efforts and the conservation of priority habitat and access sites identified by our partners, including the Port Authority."

Since 2001, the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program has invested in the following projects in New York and New Jersey to balance the agency’s development impacts across the region:

NEW YORK

Staten Island

  • North Shore Marina: In 2003, the Port Authority provided just under $3 million to purchase 9.7 acres in the North Shore Marina. In 2010, the Board approved an additional $3.5 million for improvements to facilitate safe waterfront access and create an event lawn and parking area.
  • Wiman Avenue: In 2004, the Port Authority provided $285,000 to the Trust for Public Land to acquire .3 acres of property on Wiman Avenue. The land is critical for a waterfront system of parkland and natural areas assembled by New York City Parks for the Crescent Beach section. It is open to the public for recreational purposes such as hiking and wildlife observation.
  • Quintard Street: In 2006, the Port Authority contributed $176,610 to the Trust for Public Land to acquire 3.63 acres on the Quintard Street section of the South Beach Bluebelt. The purchase protects wet woods and marshes that are an important habitat for wildlife. Keeping the land undeveloped prevents flooding by storing rainwater and filtering runoff.
  • Butler Manor: In 2006, the Port Authority contributed $2.1 million for the Trust for Public Land to acquire 18 acres in Butler Manor (balance of the $6.9 million purchase provided by Exxon Mobil and the federal government). The acquisition protects habitat and preserves open space.
  • North Mount Loretto Woods: In 2010, the Port Authority invested $12.5 million for 75 acres in North Mount Loretto Woods, a property conveyed to the State of New York. The tract will remain open space and a vital habitat for wildlife.
  • William H. Pouch Scout Camp: In 2012, the Port Authority contributed $4 million for the acquisition of a 42.7-acre conservation easement that is part of the 113.6-acre William H. Pouch Scout Camp property, the last remaining scout camp in New York City. The investment resulted in the creation of important public spaces, while also protecting critical wildlife habitat, including woodlands and wetlands for migratory birds and other wildlife.

Queens

  • Idlewild Marsh: The Port Authority invested $950,000 in 2009 to help acquire the 0.65-acre “Idlewild Marsh” property. The acquisition protects and preserves open space/wetlands and provides the community with access to adjacent Idlewild Park.
  • Beach 88th Street/Rockways: In 2009, the Port Authority contributed $1.93 million for acquisition of 1.1 acres near John F. Kennedy International Airport. The land provides public access to Jamaica Bay and protects a variety of wildlife. Eventually, the site is to be converted to a nature park and will include the installation of a canoe and kayak launch ramp that will provide recreational access to Jamaica Bay for area residents.

Bronx

  • Harlem River Promenade at Depot Place: The Port Authority provided $1.2 million in 2011 to acquire .58 acres along the Harlem River at Depot Place. The area is a key waterfront site that will provide a critical link in the long-planned Harlem River Promenade, providing public access to the waterfront for a community lacking recreational facilities and open space.

NEW JERSEY

Meadowlands

  • Meadowlark: In 2006, the Port Authority provided $450,000 to help purchase the 90.12 acre Meadowlark Tract in Bergen County, protecting wildlife habitat, marshes, open water, and uplands.
  • In 2006, the Port Authority also provided $322,683 to purchase the 10.56 acre Murray Hill property in East Rutherford, thereby protecting wetlands and maintaining an important habitat for a variety of shorebirds.
  • In 2007, the Port Authority invested in the Meadowlands by contributing $650,000 to preserve 1.6 acres at the Boulevard Tire site in Secaucus. The land purchase provides public access and parkland along the Hackensack River.
  • Barge Club/River Barge Park: In 2006, the Port Authority contributed $1.395 million to purchase the Barge Club, a 3.03-acre site along the Hackensack River in Carlstadt. In 2008, at the site of the original Barge Club, the Port Authority agreed to help create meaningful waterfront access by providing up to $5,047,000 for a fully accessible public waterfront, the River Barge Park.

    The Park opened in fall 2011 to acclaim and includes a public boat ramp, promenade, fishing piers, salt marsh restoration, outdoor environmental classroom, paddle center and a winter boat storage building.

Hudson County

  • Hackensack Riverfront Park in Jersey City: In 2010, the Port Authority contributed $4 million to the total $12.5 million cost to acquire a 32.5-acre property along the Hackensack River in Jersey City. Marion Greenway, also known as Hackensack Riverfront Park, will provide public access to the waterfront for underserved communities. Plans include a riverwalk and pedestrian bridge.

Essex County

  • Riverbank Park Extension: The Port Authority contributed $8.96 million to Essex County for the development of the Riverbank Park Extension in Newark. The site includes more than 12 acres of public open space and waterfront access along the banks of the Passaic River. The preserved area includes a public greenway stretching eight city blocks, soccer and baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, as well as two playground areas along with spectacular views of the Passaic River.

Middlesex County

  • Adams Property: In 2009, the Port Authority invested $1 million to acquire 9.74 acres in South Plainfield, Middlesex County. The acquisition helped to secure significant habitat for wildlife, including endangered species, while also serving to protect the ecological integrity of the site, add public access to green space in the middle of densely populated Middlesex County and also provide flood protection for local residents.
  • South Plainfield Holdings: In 2008, the Port Authority contributed $1.735 million to purchase 69 acres in South Plainfield. The property holds 44 acres of high-quality freshwater wetlands and wet forest habitat that have been designated as “Priority Wetlands” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Environmental Protection Agency. It also contains 25 acres of upland woodlands and scrub/shrub habitat that provides significant groundwater recharge and supports a great abundance of bird and wildlife species.

Monmouth County

  • Holmdel Township: In 2008, the Port Authority funded $1.38 million to acquire approximately 12.8 acres of woodlands and wetlands dubbed the “Lady Slipper” tract, located along Waackaack Creek in Holmdel Township, Monmouth County. This property provides public access to the community and protects a variety of wildlife species. It is a key parcel needed to complete a greenway that runs from Holmdel Township through Hazlet to the Raritan Bay waterfront. It is also adjacent to and expands Allocco Municipal Park.

CONTACT:
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.

 


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