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Hudson River Estuary Program

Helping People Enjoy, Protect & Revitalize the Hudson River & Its Valley

Cover of State of the Hudson 2015 report

What is the Hudson River Estuary Program?

The Hudson River Estuary Program helps people enjoy, protect, and revitalize the Hudson River and its valley. Created in 1987 through the Hudson River Estuary Management Act, the program focuses on the tidal Hudson and adjacent watershed from the federal dam at Troy to the Verrazano Narrows in New York City (see map of Hudson River Estuary Program Boundary (PDF, 489 KB).

The mission of the Estuary Program is built around six benefits:

  • Clean Water
  • Resilient Communities
  • Vital Estuary Ecosystem
  • Estuary Fish, Wildlife, and Habitats
  • Natural Scenery
  • Education, River Access, Recreation, and Inspiration
Hudson River Estuary logo of a sturgeon

How does the program work?

The program is guided by an Action Agenda, a conservation and restoration blueprint developed with significant community input. The Hudson River Estuary Program collaborates with many partners including nonprofit organizations, academic and scientific institutions, businesses, local governments, state and federal agencies, and interested citizens. This collaborative approach includes:

  • Grant funding for planning, access, and education projects
  • Research, education, and training
  • Natural resource conservation and protection
  • Restoration projects
  • Community planning assistance

Built on sound science and principles of ecosystem-based management, the program is steered by the Hudson River Estuary Management Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of the commercial fishing industry, recreational anglers, utility companies, local government, educators, researchers, conservationists and other river users helps engage many representatives of the public in working together toward common goals.

What are some of the program's accomplishments?

A tidal marsh along the Hudson River

With projects that help manage and restore key species like striped bass and bald eagles, Estuary Grants have allowed counties, towns and villages in the Hudson River Valley to take ownership of their resources and define the future of their communities while contributing to the overall health and beauty of the region. Cooperation with partners such as the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve is key to the Hudson River Estuary Program's success, which includes noteworthy achievements like the following:

  • Dramatically improved water quality in the Hudson River Estuary;
  • Awarded more than 477 grants to local municipalities and non-profits for education, open space, conservation, and river access;
  • Protected more than 60,300 acres of scenic vistas, habitats, and pastoral landscapes
  • Restoring fish populations, which drive $1.6 billion annually in economic activity.
  • Provided river education to school children (5,000 annually), trained teachers, and developed estuary focused curriculum;
  • Trained more than 7,000 community leaders to achieve local conservation and land use goals;
  • Established a network of new and upgraded parks, docks, piers, trails, and boat launches in nearly every shoreline community;
  • Installed monitoring equipment that reports real-time river conditions from Albany to New York Harbor to provide accurate data on water quality, weather, and currents.
  • Mapped the entire river bottom, and documented the region's global, regional, and statewide significant plants and animals for the first time;
  • Planted more than 43,000 native trees and shrubs to improve water quality and reduce erosion;
  • Assisted communities that have taken the "Climate Smart" pledge to adopt emission reduction strategies and prepare for the effects of storms and flooding.

Details of these and other achievements can be found in our Hudson River Estuary Progress Reports.

Resources for the Public:

Available resources from the Estuary Program include educational materials, presentations, trainings, maps, planning guidance and links to further information. Click on the names of the topics below to explore the available resources or contact us.

Students holding a blue crab
  • Grants: Funding for municipalities and not-for-profits to complete projects that carry out the Action Agenda goals for restoring the Hudson and the human uses it supports.
  • Education: Resources for educators, students and families to learn about the Hudson, including outdoor programs, lesson plans, posters, education centers, exhibits, interpretive signs, and descriptions of key river issues.
  • Watersheds and streams: Information on conservation issues and guidance on practices that protect water resources.
  • Plants, animals, habitats of the river basin: Information about the Hudson Valley's unique biodiversity and conservation resources for land managers, landowners, planners, and policy makers.
  • River Access and Recreation: Where to go, what to do and what the Estuary Program is doing to make the Hudson River more accessible.
  • Climate Change: Efforts to develop a regional strategy to respond to climate change in the Hudson Valley

Background on the Hudson River Estuary Program:

During the 1960s and 70s, public concern for the protection of the Hudson's fisheries led to the passage of the 1979 Hudson River Fisheries Management Act. In 1987, recognizing that conservation of the river's fish, habitats and ecosystem requires a broader, multi-disciplinary approach, the fisheries law was replaced by the Hudson River Estuary Management Act, found in Section 11-0306 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law. This act directed DEC to develop a plan and program for the conservation of the estuary-the tidal portion of the river from the Troy dam south to the Verrazano Narrows-- and its associated shorelands.

Links to other Hudson River Estuary Program pages:


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