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:
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
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.