DEC Releases the Draft Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2015-2020
Public Comments Accepted Until May 15
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released a draft of the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2015-2020, a six-year blueprint for conserving the Hudson River estuary and its surrounding valley. Public comment on the draft will be accepted until May 15.
“The goal of the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda is to present a shared vision and opportunities for action for the tidal river and its valley, from the dam at Troy to the Verrazano Narrows,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “DEC developed the draft Action Agenda with the input of many community groups and citizens throughout the region over this past year and I encourage all stakeholders to share their thoughts. The Action Agenda supports Governor Cuomo’s initiatives to promote stewardship of the estuary’s magnificent natural resources for future generations and to enhance tourism and economic opportunities, while also improving resiliency in these times of a changing climate and extreme weather.”
When final, the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2015-2020 will build on past projects, partnerships and action plans by charting a course to achieve the following benefits:
a vital estuary ecosystem;
conservation of estuary fish, wildlife, and habitats;
preservation of the river’s natural scenery; and
enhanced opportunities for education, river access, recreation and inspiration.
The Action Agenda will guide DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program and its partners to take strategic action that yields real results.
The Estuary Program was created in 1987 and helps people enjoy, protect and revitalize the estuary and the Hudson River Valley. The program uses science and citizen engagement to carry out the Action Agenda. The volunteer members of the Hudson River Estuary Management Advisory Committee provide valuable input and advice and help advance the collaborative spirit of the program.
Commissioner Martens continued, “Today, the trends, challenges and opportunities that face us have taken on a new urgency with the extreme weather, flooding and coastal storm surges we have experienced. We now know that sea-level has been rising on the Hudson for a century, affecting waterfront communities.”
Some of the signature fisheries of the estuary, such as shad, are in a trend of decline, while others, such as sturgeon, appear to be recovering. Highlights in the Action Agenda to address this include:
Continued monitoring programs for species that are harvested or are of special concern to detect changes requiring management action.
Analyze available data sets and conduct spatial analysis to inform management strategies for economically important species.
Adjust management plans and management targets as needed to sustain signature species.
Develop and implement recovery plans as needed.
Understand habitat use and species interactions that may affect sustainability of target species.
Engage anglers in stewardship projects.
Implement strategies for habitat protection to support American shad, river herring, striped bass and sturgeon populations during critical life stages and seasons.
Highlights of the Action Agenda that address the changing land-use patterns in the watershed that affect the region’s biological diversity and water resource include:
Understand and monitor river habitat trends and threats, especially changes in location, coverage, community composition, and sediment accretion rates of submerged aquatic vegetation, tidal wetlands, and shore zone habitats, as well as changes in bottom characteristics and habitat quality of river bottom habitats.
Work with the NYS Invasive Species Program to identify potential aquatic invasive species of concern for the estuary and participate in programs to prevent their entry to the Hudson River system.
Conduct research that increases understanding of key linkages among land, tributaries and the estuary and use that knowledge to inform management actions that provide the greatest benefit to estuary health and resiliency.
Implementation of the Action Agenda is funded through the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and carried out through extensive outreach, coordination with state and federal agencies, and public-private partnerships including:
grants and restoration projects
education, research and training
natural resource conservation and protection
community planning assistance.
The Draft Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2015-2020 is available on DEC’s website. Public comments on the draft will be accepted until May 15, 2015. Comments can be emailed with “Action Agenda” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, comments can mailed to:
NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561