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FACT SHEET - Hudson Raritan Estuary (HRE) NY and NJ Ecosystem Restoration

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

DESCRIPTION: The Hudson Raritan Estuary (HRE) is within the boundaries of the Port District of New York and New Jersey, and is situated within a 25-mile radius of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. The HRE study area includes 8 Planning Regions: 1) Jamaica Bay; 2) Lower Bay; 3) Lower Raritan River; 4) Arthur Kill/Kill Van Kull; 5) Newark Bay, Hackensack River and Passaic River; 6) Lower Hudson River; 7) Harlem River, East River, and Western Long Island Sound; and 8) Upper Bay.   

The study purpose is to identify and document water resource related problems, existing conditions and factors contributing to environmental degradation within the estuary in order to develop potential solutions aimed at ecosystem restoration. The overall objective of the HRE is to restore ecological function and diversity that have been lost or degraded as a result of human activities.  Implementation of the HRE Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study’s recommendations will enable the USACE, its non-Federal cost-sharing sponsors, and other regional stakeholders to restore and protect lost or degraded aquatic, wetland and terrestrial habitats within the HRE study area. These activities will be accomplished by implementing various site-specific ecosystem restoration projects formulated within the context of an overall strategic plan.

The USACE and multiple non-federal sponsors commenced six (6) concurrent ecosystem restoration feasibility studies in the 1990s and early 2000s that focused on the restoration of different areas of the HRE.  In an effort to streamline parallel efforts, and maximize efficiencies, resources and benefits, the feasibility studies were integrated into the HRE Feasibility Study effort.  The HRE Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (FR/EA) fulfills the authorizations of all six (6) studies.

AUTHORIZATIONS:

HRE, HRE-Lower Passaic River, and HRE-Hackensack Meadowlands- House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Resolution dated April 15, 1999, Docket Number 2596.

Flushing Bay and Creek- Congress Resolution dated September 28, 1994, Docket Number 2442.

Bronx River Basin-U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Resolution dated March 24, 1998, Docket Number 2551

Jamaica Bay, Marine Park, Plumb Beach- Committee on Public Works and Transportation of the United States House of Representatives Resolution dated August 1, 1990. 

STATUS: The USACE Reconnaissance Phase for HRE commenced in January 2000 and a Section 905(b) WRDA 86 Analysis was approved in June 2000. The Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreements (FCSA) were executed as follows with the following local sponsors: 

 

 Feasibility Study

FCSA Execution

Study Sponsor

Current Study Cost

HRE

July 2001

PANYNJ

Total: $19,658,228

Federal: $9,829,114

Non-Federal: $9,829,114

HRE-Lower Passaic River*

June 2003

NJDOT

Total: $8,988,204

Federal: $4,494,102

Non-Federal: $4,494,102

HRE-Hackensack Meadowlands

April 2003

New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (formerly Hackensack Meadowlands Commission)

Total: $5,403,856

Federal: $2,701,928

Non-Federal: $2,701,928

Flushing Creek and Bay

September 1999

NYCDEP and PANYNJ

Total: $2,875,144

Federal: $1,437,572

Non-Federal: $1,437,572

Bronx River Basin

November 2003

NYCDEP and Westchester

County

Total: 4,488,780

Federal: $2,244,390

Non-Federal:

Westchester- $863,544

NYCDEP- $1,380,846

Jamaica Bay, Marine Park and Plumb Beach

February 1996

NYCDEP

Total: $4,806,294

Federal: $ 2,403,147

Non-Federal: $2,403,147

 

*Note: The HRE-Lower Passaic River Feasibility Study was conducted in partnership with USEPA, NOAA, USFWS and the State of New Jersey to develop a comprehensive solution for restoration and remediation (in coordination with the Superfund Program). The USEPA and USACE are Co-Leads of the Lower Passaic River Urban Waters Federal Partnership. 

As a first step of the HRE Feasibility Study, the USACE identified a need for a strategic plan.  With participation of the regional stakeholders, the USACE and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey developed a Comprehensive Restoration Plan (CRP) that now serves as the master plan and blueprint for future restoration within the HRE region.  The CRP provides the framework for an estuary-wide ecological restoration program by utilizing restoration targets -Target Ecosystem Characteristics (TECs) established through a collaborative effort among the region’s stakeholders in 2005 through 2007.  The CRP Program goal is to develop a mosaic of habitats that provide society with renewed and increased benefits from the estuary environment. Each TEC is an important ecosystem property or feature that is of ecological and/or societal value including restoration of coastal wetlands, shellfish/oyster reefs, eelgrass beds, waterbird islands, public access, maritime forest, tributary connections, shorelines and shallow habitat, fish crab and lobster habitat, reduction of contaminated sediments and improvement of enclosed and confined waters.  The CRP provides a strategic plan to achieve the TEC goals, identify potential restoration opportunities and mechanisms for implementation. The Draft CRP was released in April 2009 and was adopted by the New York/New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (HEP) as the path forward for restoration in the future. Following intensive public outreach, CRP Version 1.0 was released in June 2016.

The HRE Feasibility Study recommended specific restoration projects throughout the HRE Study Area that advance the CRP goals and provide solutions for water resource problems. Feasibility activities included the evaluation of a subset of priority CRP sites including ecological functional assessments, preparation of restoration alternatives, engineering designs and cost estimates, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessments and Cost Effectiveness/Incremental Cost Analysis (CE/ICA) for each site.  In addition, other restoration opportunities outlined in the CRP were recommended for further feasibility study investigation which would require subsequent Congressional construction authorization.  A total of 33 sites were recommended as the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) in the Draft Integrated FR/EA released for public review in February 2017 following the TSP Milestone accomplished in August 2016.

The District had coordinated with the Vertical Team to address policy comments and completed additional tasks to confirm the TSP and ensure policy compliance (tasks included update of costs, ecological benefits, relative sea level change analysis and Planning Region CE/ICA evaluations).  Following completion of these tasks, the Agency Decision Milestone (ADM) was held on September 5, 2018 and the following sites were removed from further consideration:

  • Jamaica Bay: Hawtree Point, Dubos Point, Brant Point and Bayswater Point State Park;
  • Lower Passaic River: Dundee Island Park, Clifton Dundee Canal and Kearny Point;
  • Bronx River: Muskrat Cove, River Park/West Farm Rapids Park; Crestwood Lake; Westchester County Center; and
  • Oyster Restoration: Soundview Park and Governors Island.

Final feasibility level activities were completed for the remaining sites and the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment was submitted to HQUSACE on 11 February 2020 for review and approval. The State and Agency review occurred March 16, 2020 through April 15, 2020. The Chief’s Report was signed by LT General Todd Semonite on 26 May 2020 making it eligible for congressional authorization. 

The Recommended Plan includes restoration at 20 individual project locations (See table below) that will restore a mosaic of 621 acres of habitat that will reduce long-term and large-scale degradation in the Hudson Raritan Estuary for a total first cost of $408,868,000 and fully funded cost (escalated to mid-point of construction) of $588,745,000.

The plan includes:

•   Restoration of approximately 381 acres of estuarine wetland habitat (including six miles of tidal channels), 50 acres of freshwater riverine wetland habitat, 27 acres of coastal and maritime forest habitat, 39 acres of shallow water habitat and 52 acres of oyster habitat.
•   Two fish ladders would be installed and three weirs would be modified to re-introduce or expand fish passage (24 miles) and control flow rate and water volume along the Bronx River.
•   A total of 1.6 miles of stream bank and 72 acres of stream bed and channel would be restored.

 

Final Sites included in the Recommended Plan for the Hudson Raritan Estuary Restoration Feasibility Study

 

 Jamaica Bay Planning Region

Oyster Reefs

Perimeter

Marsh Islands

• Fresh Creek

• Dead Horse Bay

• Elders Center

• Duck Point

• Pumpkin Patch East

• Pumpkin Patch West

• Stoney Creek

• Jamaica Bay, Head of Bay

• Bush Terminal

• Naval Station Earle

Hackensack-Passaic-Newark Bay Planning Region

East River, Harlem River, Western Long Island Sound Planning Region

• Meadowlark Marsh

• Metromedia Tract

• Essex County Branch Brook Park

• Oak Island Yards

• Flushing Creek

• Stone Mill Dam

• Bronx Zoo and Dam

• Shoelace Park

• Bronxville Lake

• Garth Woods/ Harney Road

 

See the project placemat (link) for the specific restoration projects and habitats and engineering designs for each site.  All documents can be found at: https://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Environmental-Restoration/Hudson-Raritan-Estuary/

 

CONTACT:

Ms. 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 Programs Branch

 

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS:

                     

New Jersey

NJ U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez

NJ U.S. Sen. Corey Booker

NJ-05 Rep. Josh Gottheimer

NJ-06 Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.

NJ-07 Rep. Tom Malinowski

NJ-08 Rep. Albio Sires

NJ-09 Rep. William Pascrell, Jr.

NJ-10 Rep. Donald Payne, Jr.

NJ-11 Rep. Mikie Sherrill

NJ-12 Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman

New York

NY U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer

NY U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

NY-02 Rep. Andrew Garbarino

NY-03 Rep. Thomas Suozzi

NY-04 Rep. Kathleen Rice

NY-05 Rep. Gregory Meeks

NY-06 Rep. Grace Meng

NY-07 Rep. Nydia Velazquez

NY-08 Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

NY-09 Rep. Yvette Clarke

NY-10 Rep. Jerrold Nadler

NY-11 Rep. Nicole Malliotakis

NY-12 Rep. Carolyn Maloney

NY-13 Rep. Adriano Espaillat

NY-14 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

NY-15 Rep. Ritchie Torres

NY-16 Rep. Jamaal Bowman

NY-17 Rep. Mondaire Jones