Hudson-Raritan Estuary Feasibility Report Available

Image source: USACE

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, has announced the availability of Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment and the opening of a 45-day review period for the public to submit written comments for the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study.

The Draft FR/EA addresses the impacts associated with implementation of ecosystem restoration actions within the HRE Study Area defined as a 25-mile radius of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

The analyses completed as part of these “source” studies were incorporated into and informed the current planning effort.

This Draft HRE FR/EA responds to all “source” studies’ authorities. The goal of the HRE study is to identify a plan that restores and sustains a mosaic of habitats within the human-dominated landscape important to the people of the HRE region and the nation that maximizes habitat benefits while minimizing impacts to environmental, cultural, or socio-economic resources.

The Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) includes the restoration of up to 33 sites throughout the estuary, said USACE.

The Hudson-Raritan Estuary study area includes eight planning regions:

  • Jamaica Bay;
  • Harlem River, East River and Western Long Island Sound;
  • Newark Bay, Hackensack River and Passaic River;
  • Upper Bay;
  • Lower Bay;
  • Lower Raritan River;
  • Arthur Kill/Kill Van Kull;
  • Lower Hudson River.

The Hudson-Raritan Estuary is located within one of the most urbanized regions in the United States.

Urbanization and industrialization over the past 400 years has put stress on the estuary, resulting in significant ecosystem-level changes due to residual, persistent impacts to numerous habitats, especially those linked to aquatic environments.

Regional development of the watershed and massive physical changes to the estuary, including dredging and channeling, filling, damming and bank stabilization, led to marked hydrologic alterations, acute sediment contamination, pervasive reductions in water quality, and habitat fragmentation and loss.

The ecological integrity, health and resiliency of the estuary have been severely compromised, USACE said.