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New York Ocean Action Plan

Image of the cover of the New York Ocean Action Plan PDF
Click the image to view the NY Ocean Action Plan (PDF)

As a result of the 61 actions identified by the OAP, initial research and monitoring projects have been established with involvement and guidance from multiple stakeholders. Both short and long term goals are progressing, along with the development of future initiatives.

Dive in to learn more about existing OAP projects:

For current information about New York State's cooperative effort to meet the goal of 9,000 MW of offshore wind energy generation by 2035, visit Offshore Wind Development.

Goals of the Ocean Action Plan

The New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP), (PDF) was announced by Commissioner Seggos in January 2017. The OAP is a coordinated and inclusive effort focused on improving the health of our ocean ecosystems and their capacity to provide sustainable benefits to New Yorkers. Scientists, resource managers, and a wide range of stakeholders will take stock of New York's ocean-related activities and programs. Through a ten-year, sixty-one point action plan, the goal of the OAP is to achieve better-managed and healthier ocean ecosystems that will benefit people, communities, and the natural world. Grounded in short-term actions to reach long-term goals, the OAP will guide State government funding, research, management, outreach, and education choices.

The OAP outlines the following four interconnected goals that reflect New York's priorities for immediate action:

  • Goal 1- Ensure the ecological integrity of the ocean ecosystem;
  • Goal 2- Promote economic growth, coastal development and human use of the ocean in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with maintaining ecosystem integrity;
  • Goal 3- Increase resilience of ocean resources of impacts associated with climate change;
  • Goal 4- Empower the public to actively participate in decision making and ocean stewardship.
Sand tiger shark. Photo courtesy of Brandon Puckett.
Sand tiger shark. Photo courtesy of Brandon Puckett.

The corresponding long-term objectives and specific actions outlined in the OAP were developed through a stakeholder process with a diverse array of stakeholders, many of whom we would expect to be partners and take the lead in implementing the identified actions.

More About the New York Ocean Action Plan:

The implementation of New York's Ocean Action Plan works to support the achievement of tasks and actions identified within the OAP itself. With the help of DEC sponsored programs, competitive research grants, and monitoring and data collection priorities, DEC can make well informed decisions in conserving our ocean resources. Many of the sixty-one Actions are underway. Following the timelines identified within the OAP, regular updates will be provided through a State of the Ocean Report. DEC and our partners are leading the nation in effective ocean management.

Use the left hand column above to take a closer look at some of the projects we are working on through the New York Ocean Action Plan!

Protecting New York's Ocean Resources

New York's ocean resources face growing challenges. Changing ocean temperatures affect the health and distribution of valuable fish stocks, making efforts to sustainably manage our fisheries more difficult. In response to fishery and other management challenges, the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council (Council) called for development of an OAP in its April 2009 report to the Governor and legislature. The Council recognized that current management can be improved by implementing a more comprehensive and integrated approach to ocean management.

Map of the Ocean Action Plan focus area
Map of the Ocean Action Plan focus area.

Ecosystem-Based Management

Ecosystem‐based management (EBM) is a comprehensive, place-based approach to resource management-distinctive from traditional approaches that manage resources individually. EBM recognizes that people are an integral part of any ecosystem and that ecosystems are vital in supporting human life. EBM also emphasizes the necessity of sound scientific understanding and strong partnerships to address complex and often contentious issues. Using EBM, New York can take a comprehensive look at its ocean and coastal resources, leading to better management decisions and healthier communities and ecosystems.

Ocean Action Plan Focus Area

The geographic area encompasses the State's ocean waters stretching from New York City to the end of Long Island, including ecological connections to offshore waters out to the edge of the continental shelf. Additionally, given the interconnectedness of ocean waters with nearshore waters, the ecological relationship with several estuaries and their habitats will also be examined: the Peconic, Hudson River, and NY-NJ Harbor Estuaries, Long Island Sound, and the lagoonal bays of the south shore of Long Island-Great South Bay, Jamaica Bay, Moriches Bay, Hempstead Bay, and Shinnecock Bay.

New York Coastal Management Program Atlantic Ocean Amendment

The New York Department of State, working with stakeholders and State and federal partners, is mapping offshore uses and compiling resource data to identify offshore habitat areas and locations that may be best suited for offshore wind energy development. The Atlantic Ocean Amendment to the State's federally approved Coastal Management Program will provide information for a stronger New York voice in decisions on proposed federal actions in the ocean, including projects proposed well beyond State waters. The OAP will help to inform future Amendments to the State's Coastal Program.

Request for Applications

2022 Marine Habitat Tributary Restoration and Resiliency Grant

DEC is pleased to announce funding for projects to help restore free-flowing waters to benefit water quality, conserve and restore habitat, and increase flood resiliency for communities in the Hudson River estuary watershed and the marine habitat priority areas. The information below provides details about applying for projects in the marine habitat priority areas which include Jamaica Bay, and the watersheds of Long Island Sound, the Peconic Estuary, and the South Shore Estuary Reserve.

Funding through this RFA is also available for projects in the Hudson River estuary watershed. Information about the funding, projects, and the geographic boundaries of the Hudson River estuary watershed may be found on DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program webpage.


Approximately $500,000 is available in Marine Habitat Tributary Restoration and Resiliency grants. Funding for this grant opportunity is provided by the New York State (NYS) Environmental Protection Fund, Ocean Great Lakes Program. The minimum award amount is $10,500 and the maximum award is $150,000.

Projects Eligible for Funding

Applicants may apply for planning and engineering projects for dam removal, construction of fish ladders, and for right-sizing of culverts affecting eel or herring migration within the boundaries of the Long Island Sound watershed, Peconic Estuary watershed, South Shore Estuary Reserve watershed, and Jamaica Bay. View a map of the boundaries of New York's Marine & Coastal District.

To be eligible for funding, projects must conserve and restore aquatic habitat connectivity for either the American eel and/or river herring found in the tributary streams of the watersheds, both of which are designated as Species of Greatest Conservation Need. In most cases, projects must also be designed to pass, at a minimum, a one percent annual chance storm (100-year flood) to promote flood resiliency. Priority will be given to dam removal projects near tidal waters, because of their importance for improving habitat for American eel and river herring.

To view the Tributary Restoration and Resiliency RFA, please visit the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website). Completed grant applications must be submitted online through the Grants Gateway by 3 p.m. on May 13, 2022. General questions about the Hudson River Estuary and Division of Marine Resources grants application process may be directed to Susan Pepe, Estuary Grants Manager, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3506;

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include Governmental Entities, Municipalities, and Quasi-Governmental Entities, including but not limited to Counties, Cities, Towns, Villages, or Indian nation or tribe recognized by the state or the United States with a reservation wholly or partly within the boundaries of New York State, or any combination thereof, Public Benefit Corporations, Public Authorities, Municipal Corporations, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, School Districts, and Community Colleges, and not-for-profit corporations with a 501(c)(3) designation.

How to Apply

All New York State (NYS) grant applicants - both governmental and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations - must be registered in the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website) to be eligible to apply for any NYS grant opportunity. The registration form and instructions, along with additional information on the Grants Gateway, can be found in the Grantee (link leaves DEC website) section of the NYS Grants Reform website (link leaves DEC website). Registration is not available online. Registration forms must be mailed and cannot be submitted online or faxed. Register early to allow sufficient time for processing.

Not-For-Profit applicants must prequalify in the Grants Gateway system prior to the application deadline to be considered eligible to apply for a grant. Registration and prequalification must be completed online at the NYS Grants Gateway (leaves DEC website).

More about New York Ocean Action Plan:

  • Summary of Actions in NY Ocean Action Plan - A summary of the actions recommended in the Ocean Action Plan.
  • Ocean Acidification Task Force - The New York Ocean Acidification Task Force has been established to assess impacts of acidification on the ecological, economic, and recreational health of New York's coastal waters, identifying contributing factors, and recommending actions to reduce and address negative impacts.
  • Ocean Monitoring Projects - Tracking and assessing environmental changes in the ocean and coastal areas is essential to make the best decision for the communities and environment.
  • Ocean Resource Planning - The ocean provides many basic necessities to the regional community and as technology advances the capacity to harness additional resources are being developed.
  • Ocean Stewardship and Outreach - Understanding and protecting our marine environmental from pollution and exploitation is critical to ensure it's resources are sustained for future generations.
  • Protecting and Conserving Marine Life - New York's marine waters are home to a variety of endangered and threatened species, including fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles.
  • Ocean and Ecosystem Based Fisheries - New York's marine fisheries includes hundreds of marine fish and shellfish that support economically important commercial and recreational fishing industries.
  • Offshore Ocean Habitats and Inshore Estuarine Habitats - New York's marine habitats support a variety of fish, wildlife, and plant species. These species are found in an array of habitat from coastal wetlands to the open ocean.
  • Coastal Resiliency Actions - Planning for climate change and being prepared for extreme weather is necessary for protecting coastal communities in the future.