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FACT SHEET - Hudson River Habitat Restoration, NY

Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published March 5, 2021

DESCRIPTION: The study area includes 125 miles of the Hudson River Federal channel from the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge to the federal lock and dam at Troy, NY.  The reconnaissance study completed 30 April 1996 found there was federal interest for proceeding with the feasibility level analyses for navigation improvement measures and aquatic ecosystem restoration measure, including evaluation of eroding shorelines, degraded fish and wildlife habitat, impediments to fish passage, and flooding control measures. 

AUTHORIZATION: Section 551, Water Resource Development Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-303)

STUDY HISTORY: A feasibility cost-sharing agreement (FCSA) was executed in 1996 with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and New York State Department of State (NYSDOS) serving as non-federal sponsors. In 2002, the study was suspended when focused restoration sites were found to be no longer available for construction and consensus was not reached on path forward with the sponsor.   

NYSDEC Commissioner Joseph Martens requested that the study be resumed in July 2012. The sponsors’ renewed interest resulted from the recommendations of the Hudson Raritan Estuary Feasibility Study and the publication of the Comprehensive Restoration Plan (CRP) with the intent to develop a complementary restoration plan for the upper 125 miles of the Hudson River.   The local sponsors, NYSDEC and NYSDOS, formed the “Partners Restoring the Hudson” with more than 30 organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Hudson Riverkeeper, and Scenic Hudson, with overwhelming support to advance the study. 

The New York District and Partners, with support from the Congressional Delegation, were successful in resuming the Feasibility Study in 2016.  The Study has been in the President’s Budget since 2017 and received completion funds in FY19.   

STUDY STATUS: Following study resumption, FY17 activities included the development of restoration goals and objectives, evaluation of baseline conditions and identification of restoration opportunities.  A total of 1665 habitat restoration opportunities were identified through Geographic Information System [GIS] analysis and nomination during municipality outreach meetings hosted by TNC, ”Partners Restoring the Hudson” and NYSDEC.  Sites were screened and prioritized in order to advance sites that provided the maximum ecological benefits meeting restoration goals.  A total of thirteen sites were selected for further evaluation and alternative development which included restoration of side-channels, wetlands, shorelines and aquatic organism passage (AOP).  The Alternatives Milestone was held in July 2017.   

FY18 activities included field reconnaissance (September/ December 2017) at 13 sites followed by more detailed field sampling in summer of 2018 at Binnen Kill, Schodack Island (side channels/wetlands/ mosaic habitat), Henry Hudson Park and Charles Rider Park (shoreline restoration) and Rondout Creek and Moodna Creek (AOPs) (including ecological functional assessments, shoreline profiles and tide data). In addition, engineering designs, quantification of benefits and cost, and Cost Effectiveness/Incremental Cost Analysis were completed.  The Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) milestone, held on 18 December 2018, achieved concurrence on the proposed plan which included restoration at five sites within three restoration categories (including Shoreline Restoration, Mosaic Habitat/Side Channels and Tributary Connections) for approximately $98.4 Million. The Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment was released for public review in June 2019.

Comments received from the public and landowners articulated opposition to the plan for two sites: Rondout Creek (Eddyville Dam) and Binnen Kill.  Coordination with NYSDEC resulted in these sites being excluded from the Recommended Plan. The Recommended Plan includes three individual projects that would restore tidal wetlands (23 acres), 1 side channel/wetland complex (9 acres), 1,760 linear feet of living shoreline and would reconnect 7.8 miles of tributary habitat to the Hudson River.  The plan would provide a total of 59 average annual functional capacity or habitat units.  The plan would lessen some of the impacts constructing a federal navigation channel in the Hudson River had on aquatic ecosystems, including the loss and degradation of subtidal, shallow water and side channels, intertidal, and shoreline habitats, as well as the fragmentation of aquatic habitats that occurred as small dams were placed on tributaries to the Hudson River for industrial purposes. The estimated total first cost of the Recommended Plan is $44,638,000 and total fully funded project cost (escalated to the estimated mid-point of construction) is $64,810,000. The Chief’s Report was executed by the Chief of Engineers on 19 November 2020.

 Recommended Plan Summary.

RESTORATION CATEGORY

SITE

Element DESCRIPTION OF RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVEs

Shoreline Restoration

Henry Hudson Park

  • Tidal wetland restoration (3.7 acres)
  • Replacement of eroding hardened shoreline with a living shoreline (1,760 linear feet of shoreline with 0.6 acres of tidal wetlands)

Large River Mosaic/Side Channel

Schodack Island

  • Side channel and tidal wetland complex restoration (8.5 acres)
  • Tidal wetland restoration (19.1 acres)

Tributary Connectivity

Moodna Creek

  • Removal of a utility crossing (barrier 1)
  • Removal of Firth Cliff Dam (barrier 2)
  • Partial removal of Orr’s Mill Dam (barrier 3)
  • Collectively, reconnects 7.8 miles of habitat

Total

22.8 acres of tidal wetlands in the Hudson River Corridor

8.5 acres of side channel and tidal wetland complex

1,760 linear feet of living shoreline with 0.6 acres of tidal wetlands

7.8 miles of river habitat reconnected

 

 

STUDY COST: Total Estimated Study Cost (all phases): $5,015,000
Reconnaissance Study (Federal): $525,000 
Feasibility Phase (Federal): $2,245,000 (Post Resumption- $ 1,700,000) 
Feasibility Phase (Non-Federal): $2,245,000 (Post Resumption- $1,700,000)   

 

CONTACT:
Lisa Baron
Project Manager
P: (917) 790-8306
Email: lisa.a.baron@usace.army.mil
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Programs and Project Management Division, Civil Works Branch

 

CONGRESSIONAL INFORMATION:

Senator Charles E. Schumer (NY)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
District Area: NY #17, NY #18, NY #19, NY #20