Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve
Four distinct tidal wetland sites on the Hudson River Estuary were designated the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve in 1982, as field laboratories for estuarine research, stewardship and education. They are part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, which now includes 27 reserves in 22 states and Puerto Rico. The Reserve is operated as a partnership between New York State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and relates to federally-designated and state-protected sites along 100 miles of the Estuary.
The Reserve's Management Plan provides a framework to guide its direction and activities. This plan was approved by NOAA in 2009. You may use the links below to download a pdf version of the document.
Hudson River Research Reserve Management Plan (PDF) (12 mB). This is a large document and may be slow to download. As an alternative you may download specific sections using the links below.
Sections for easy download
- Hudson River Research Reserve Management Plan - Cover through Executive Summary (PDF) (1.7 mB)
- Hudson River Research Reserve Management Plan - All Chapters (PDF) (2.4 mB)
- Hudson River Research Reserve Management Plan - Appendices (PDF) (5 mB)
Nearly 5,000 acres of tidal wetlands and upland buffer represent the diverse plant and animal communities of the Hudson Estuary at: Stockport Flats in Columbia County, Tivoli Bays in Dutchess County, and Piermont Marsh and Iona Island in Rockland County.
Reserve staff and partners conduct estuarine research studies of physical, biological and chemical characterizations; ecosystem processes; and exchanges between wetlands and the Hudson's main stem. Research provides a solid foundation for all reserve programs in education, outreach, training, stewardship and restoration. The Reserve participates in the The Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS), a river wide monitoring collaborative. More information about the collaborative and monitoring plans is available in the HRECOS overview (PDF) (330 kB).
The Reserve holds many public events and workshops. Education and outreach include guided canoe programs, lectures, interpretive exhibits and community events for the general public; information and training sessions for coastal decision makers; workshops for teachers; and field-based programs for middle school, high school, and post-secondary students.
Fall at the Norrie Point Environmental Center
The Reserve's headquarters at Norrie Point Environmental Center within Mills-Norrie State Park in Staatsburgh, Dutchess County, is located directly on the Hudson River and includes conference and classroom space, interpretive exhibits, a research lab, and a weather station. In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we're tightening up the "building envelope" by installing foam insulation, energy efficient lights, new siding, and solar panels.
Additional reserve facilities include a research base and weather station at Bard College Field Station on Tivoli South Bay; a major interpretive exhibit at the Tivoli Bays Visitor Center in Tivoli, Dutchess County; and on-site interpretive panels at Piermont Marsh, Tivoli Bays and Stockport Flats. Please call the Reserve for more information about visiting our facilities or attending programs.
Research fellowships supported by the reserve are linked under the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of this page. They include the Tibor T. Polgar fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System's Graduate Research Fellowship.
Stockport Flats is the northernmost site in the Hudson River Reserve. It is located on the east shore in Columbia County, a few miles north of the city of Hudson, in the towns of Stockport and Stuyvesant.
The Stockport Flats site is a five-mile, narrow mosaic of landforms, including from north to south Nutten Hook, a bedrock outcropping; Gay's Point and Stockport Middle Ground Island, dredge features that are both part of the Hudson River Islands State Park; the mouth of Stockport Creek, a large tributary stream; a portion of the upland bluff south of Stockport Creek; the dredge spoils and tidal wetlands between Stockport Creek and Priming Hook; and the northern end of Priming Hook. The Hudson is entirely tidal freshwater at this site.
Stockport Flats is dominated by freshwater tidal wetlands, including subtidal shallows, intertidal mudflats, intertidal shores, tidal marshes and floodplain swamps. Stockport Creek drains a watershed of about 500 square miles.
Nutten Hook at Stockport features the remains of the largest icehouse on the Hudson, which is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places. Interpretive panels relate the history of the ice harvesting industry. There is a hand boat launch on Ferry Road in Nutten Hook and at Stockport Creek. A loop hiking trail from Ferry Road goes to the Ice House.
Floating dock at Tivoli North Bay.
The Tivoli Bay component extends for two miles along the east shore of the Hudson River between the villages of Tivoli and Barrytown, in the Dutchess County town of Red Hook. The Tivoli Bay's site includes two large coves on the east shore of the Hudson River including Tivoli North Bay, a large intertidal marsh and Tivoli South Bay, a large, shallow cove with mudflats exposed at low tide. The site also includes an extensive upland buffer area bordering North Tivoli Bay; sections of upland shoreline along Tivoli South Bay; Cruger Island and Magdalene Island, two bedrock islands, extensive subtidal shallows; and the mouths of two tributary streams, the Stony Creek and the Saw Kill.
Tivoli Bay habitats include freshwater intertidal marsh, open waters, riparian areas, subtidal shallows, mudflats, tidal swamp and mixed forest uplands. The Stony Creek has a watershed area of 22.2 square miles draining into Tivoli North Bay, and the Saw Kill has a watershed of 22.0 square miles draining into Tivoli South Bay. There are extensive hiking trails at Tivoli Bays and a canoe launch in North Bay, off Kidd Lane off Route 9G in the Town of Red Hook. Contact the Reserve headquarters for maps.
Tivoli Bays Visitor Center has hands-on exhibits about the Tivoli Bays and is the starting point for a trail that leads to North Bay. It is Located at the Watts dePeyster Fireman's Hall, 1 Tivoli Commons, Village of Tivoli. The Tivoli Bays Visitor Center is home to the Hudson River Collection, an extension of the Tivoli Free Library.
Iona Island marsh. (Chris Bowser)
Iona Island is located in Bear Mountain State Park on the east side of Route 9W in the Town of Stony Point in Rockland County, six miles south of West Point.
Iona Island is a bedrock island in the midst of the Hudson Highlands, bordered to the west and the southwest by Salisbury and Ring Meadows, two large tidal marshes, the mouth of Doddletown Bight, an expanse of shallows and mudflats. A separate Island, Round Island, was attached to the South end of Iona Island with fill in the early 20th century. The marshes and shallows occupy one mile between Iona Island and the west shore. In addition to being part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Iona Island and its associated tidal wetlands have been designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
The area of Iona Island is comprised of brackish intertidal mudflats, brackish tidal marsh, freshwater tidal marsh and deciduous forested uplands. Doodletown Brook is the principal tributary to the site, draining approximately 2.9 square miles. The Iona Island Component encompasses 556 acres. The marsh at Iona Island can be viewed along the causeway (off Route 9W), accessible by car or on foot. Visitors can not cross the railroad tracks.
Piermont Marsh encompasses 1,017 acres and lies at the southern edge of the village of Piermont, four miles south of Nyack in Rockland County.
The Piermont Marsh is on the western shore of the Tappan Zee. The site occupies two miles of shoreline south of the mile-long Erie Pier and includes the mouth of Sparkill Creek and extensive tidal shallows. Piermont marsh habitats include brackish tidal marsh, shallows and intertidal flats. The Sparkill Creek drains 11.1 square miles of watershed. There is a picnic area on Paradise Avenue in Piermont. Nearby, Tallman Mountain State Park offers many recreational opportunities.
More about Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve:
- Research - The Research program of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve monitors physical, biological, and chemical processes of the Hudson River estuary.
- Education at the Hudson River Research Reserve - Free public canoe programs, field-based Hudson River Estuary education for middle school and high school, fish seining events, and more are offered by the NYSDEC Hudson River Research Reserve.
- Directions to Norrie Point Environmental Center - Directions for the Norrie Point Environmental Education Center on the Hudson River, the headquarters of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve.
- Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines - The Sustainable Shorelines Project provides science based information for shoreline management that balances habitat protection and human use.