New York - New Jersey Harbor Coalition
The Campaign for a World-Class Waterfront
The NY-NJ Harbor Coalition is a campaign of local and national advocacy organizations focused on transforming our region's waterways into a truly world-class harbor and estuary with waterfront parks, ecological health and critical infrastructure to meet the economic, environmental and recreational needs of the 22 million residents of the nation’s largest, most diverse urban area.
The value of the NY-NJ harbor – America’s harbor – is immense, from its diverse ecology to its incredible opportunities for commerce, recreation and transportation. It is a cultural icon, with the Statue of Liberty and the nation’s first urban National Park, the Gateway National Recreation Area.
But despite local, state and federal efforts to protect and restore these incredible natural and historic resources, public access to the water remains limited, iconic parks and landmarks are crumbling, maritime commerce is impeded, and the region’s biodiversity and ecology continue to suffer – a status quo that harms everything from wildlife to commercial fishing to children seeking a clean, safe place to swim.
The Harbor Coalition was formed to address these deficiencies and transform America’s harbor into a 21st Century harbor by galvanizing and elevating public support for our waterways and working with elected leaders and other stakeholders to increase funding for regional waterfront projects. The group will also build on the comprehensive research and planning done by local, state and federal agencies to advocate for public policies and resources that can sustain the waterfront’s restoration and transformation into the future.
The Coalition is led by a Steering Committee of eleven members who have national reach and represent hundreds of thousands of groups and individuals in the New York-New Jersey region. Support for the New York-New Jersey Harbor Coalition's work is provided by the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and others.
Goals and Objectives
The objective of the Harbor Coalition is to achieve the transformation of the waterfront, commercial and recreation areas, and natural resources of the Lower Hudson and Raritan Estuaries into a world class Harbor that meets environmental, recreational and economic needs of the diverse 22 million residents of this major urban region. To do this, the New York-New Jersey Harbor Coalition will:
- Galvanize and elevate the public support behind the New York – New Jersey Harbor to the same level as those for Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and other Great Waters.
- Research and advocate for adoption of legislation and policies in Congress, the States and by the EPA, US Department of Interior, Army Corps of Engineers and/or other agencies represented in the New York–New Jersey Harbor by establishing a dedicated funding source and appropriate policies for the Harbor.
- Secure federal authorizations and appropriations to ensure such funds:
- Restore the ecology of the Harbor and improve quality of life in this urban region by implementing the high priority ecological restoration projects and public access goals of the Comprehensive Restoration Plan (CRP).
- Provide and enhance public access and enjoyment of the Harbor for all through land acquisition and the restoration of parks and natural areas of the Harbor, including Gateway National Recreation Area and the other federal, state, county and local lands and waters.
- Invest in green and/or natural infrastructure systems in all neighborhoods to treat storm water, reduce the affects of climate change, green our neighborhoods, and reduce combined sewer overflows that harm fish and wildlife and limit the utility of the Harbor for boating, fishing, and swimming.
- Reduce pollution from the port’s ships, trucks, heavy machinery, and other local industry to promote environmental justice and the health of maritime communities and workers.
- Ensure waterborne cargo is moved effectively and efficiently to promote the economic vitality of maritime commerce.
- Protect people and property in our most vulnerable areas by addressing current risk and the disproportionate impacts of catastrophic floods and storm surge, and adapting to the challenge of sea level rise and a changing climate.
An Agenda for Action
The NY-NJ Harbor Coalition was created to galvanize and elevate public support for comprehensive restoration and creation of urban waterfront parks in the NY-NJ harbor region, as well as create a long-term system of sustainable resources and the appropriate public policy to help transform the NY-NJ waterfront into a truly world-class harbor and estuary that meets the needs of the region's 22 million people.
The Coalition will build upon the existing efforts and work with elected officials and other stakeholders to secure funding for critical projects - and ensure that these monies are well spent. To meet our the goals for our Harbor, the Coalition will build on existing planning and research efforts, including the following:
- New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program - Summary of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, a compilation of the Harbor Estuary Program’s study and proposal for the region.
- Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan – “The Waters We Share”, an overview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal for wetlands restoration and other environmental improvements.
- Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Floyd Bennett Field – “The Next Jewel in New York’s Urban Park Crown”– a proposal from the Regional Plan Association and the National Parks Conservation Association for the 1,440 acre field that is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
- Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, created by the NYC Department of City Planning as a blueprint for the City of Islands future.