|The NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program (HEP) announced today that more than $50,000 has been awarded to eleven New Jersey and New York community groups and nonprofit organizations dedicated to restoring and protecting the Estuary.
The projects, awarded through the HEP mini-grant program, include citizen-led projects to mark stormdrains, protect watersheds, monitory water quality, restore habitats, and improve public access to the water. Additional projects will educate young people about nonpoint source pollution, marine science and the role of the harbor as a port. The HEP mini-grant program is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and New York Sea Grant.
"EPA and our state and local government partners have made major strides to improve the Harbor Estuary," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator. "But the involvement of local residents is crucial if we want to continue to preserve and protect this vital resource for future generations. We look forward to seeing the results of these organizations' efforts, which will no doubt have a lasting positive effect on the harbor ecosystem."
The NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program is a cooperative effort sponsored by the EPA and the states of New Jersey and New York to analyze and correct the Estuary's most pressing environmental problems. The Harbor Estuary includes the waters of New York Harbor and the tidally influences portions of all rivers and streams that empty into the harbor, including the lower portions of the Hudson and Raritan Rivers.
Robert Nyman, Director of the Harbor Estuary Program, noted the importance of promoting stewardship throughout the harbor ecosystem. "We are proud to be able to support these groups as they work to improve the health of the Estuary and enhance citizens' enjoyment of their local waters," he said.
This is the third continuous year that funding has been offered under the HEP mini-grant program. A total of 33 projects have been funded since 2002, totaling to more than $142,000. In addition, three grant cycles from 1991-1994 awarded more than $150,000 in funding for 42 projects.
A total of forty-seven groups competed this year for the HEP mini-grants. The next request for proposals will be distributed during the winter of 2004-05. If you are interested in receiving the announcement, please contact Laura Bartovics, New York Sea Grant educator and coordinator of the HEP mini-grant program, at (212) 637-3787 or visit the Harbor Estuary Program Web site at www.harborestuary.org for more information.
Title: Storm Drain Labeling and Public Education Program in Raritan Bay
Project Description: The Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, an all volunteer group located in the Raritan Bay watershed region, will partner with environmental commissions in Aberdeen and Atlantic Highlands to label approximately 400 stormdrains for two creeks: Gravelly Brook and Many Mind Creek. The educational stormdrain markers will provide the important environmental message: "NO DUMPING DRAINS TO CREEK." In addition, door hangers with information on how to reduce nonpoint pollution will be distributed to residents living near the waterways. This project will help to increase public awareness of the connection between local waterways, which people notice virtually every day, and the health of the Harbor Estuary.
Location of Project: Aberdeen Township and the Borough of Atlantic Highlands
Contact: Joe Reynolds, 732-872-2834, email@example.com
Web site: http://www.shore.co.monmouth.nj.us/area12
HEP Funding: $1,670
Title: Newark Watershed Professional Development Program for Educators
Project Description: Greater Newark Conservancy's new professional development workshop, "Exploring Newark's Watershed," will teach about the water cycle, water conservation and the Newark Bay Watershed. This two-day workshop will begin at the Conservancy's new Prudential Outdoor Learning Center, where teachers will explore how to use the Urban Wildlife gallery's water features and newly developed curriculum to teach their students about the estuary. On the second day, workshop participants will learn how to take water samples and identify local wildlife aboard an ecocruise with the Hackensack Riverkeeper. The Newark Watershed workshop, designed for teachers of grades 5 and above, will become a regular offering in the Conservancy's professional development series.
Location of Project: Newark, NJ
Contact: Betty Goldfond, 973-642-4646
Web site: www.newark1.com/conserve
HEP Funding: $4,250
Title: Promoting Stewardship and Volunteer Monitoring in the Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed through Hands-on Experiences
Project Description: Kean University, in partnership with Future City, Inc, a nonprofit organization in Elizabeth, will promote stewardship of the Elizabeth River / Arthur Kill Watershed through an intensive educational campaign and hands-on experiences. This project will include creating multi-lingual posters, planning a watershed day at Kean University, and identifying and training a diverse cohort of volunteers to establish a long term water quality monitoring effort using a variety of tools and technologies. The project will empower individuals from local schools and communities to have a positive impact on water quality in the Elizabeth River, Arthur Kill and the Harbor Estuary ecosystem.
Location of Project: Union, NJ 07083
Contact: John Dobosiewicz, 908-737-3696, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: http://hurri.kean.edu
HEP Funding: $4,965
Title: All Hands on Deck: A NY/NJ Harbor Education Program
Project Description: The New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium (NJMSC) will conduct harbor education programs for K-12 students under its newest education initiative, All Hands On Deck (AHOD). AHOD will serve schools in New York and New Jersey located near Port sites and will be conducted aboard commuter ferries by NJMSC and their AHOD partners, including the New Jersey Department of Transportation Office of Maritime Resources. The student field trips will feature hands-on participation in harbor-based learning activities selected to develop a better understanding and appreciation of both the natural and commercial aspects of the Port of NY/NJ and the Harbor Estuary Complex.
Location of Project: Fort Hancock, NJ
Contact: Claire Antonucci, 732-872-1300 ext. 22
Web site: www.njmsc.org
HEP Funding: $5,000
Title: Estuaries and Watersheds
Project Description: Beczak Environmental Education Center will conduct 15 two-hour "Estuaries and Watersheds" educational enrichment programs for elementary and middle school children primarily from Yonkers, NY. The programs will introduce students to the estuary using Beczak's 5-foot by 2.5 foot Hudson River Watershed Model, a replica of the estuary from Newburgh-Beacon Bridge to the Lower New York Bay. The educational experience will be further enhanced with a second estuary-related program selected by the classroom teacher. The curriculum is designed to convey an understanding of the interdependence and fragility of this complex ecosystem and how it has been influenced by human actions.
Location of Project: Yonkers, NY
Contact: Cynthia Fowx, 914-377-1900
Web site: www.beczak.org
HEP Funding: $4,950
Title: Green Leaders: An Environmental Stewardship Program at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Project Description: The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy will educate Park visitors through a new stewardship program called "Green Leaders." Although portions of Brooklyn Bridge Park have yet to be built, it will ultimately encompass 1.3 miles of waterfront Atlantic Avenue and the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn. Green Leaders will bring community volunteers into the direct practice of caring for the ecological health of the Park through education and hands-on stewardship activities like planting native species and protecting trees. A special training program will help create team leaders for future projects and events, and will include study of the estuary, upland and shoreline habitat, and the means to their protection.
Organization: Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
Contact: Samara Rifkin, 718-802-0603
Web site: www.bbpc.net
HEP Funding: $5,000
Title: Go-Fish the East River
Project Description: East River CREW (Community Recreation and Education on the Water) will present six, Sunday afternoon "Go-Fish" festivals at East 96th Street and the Esplanade this summer. Bait, fishing rods, traps, and aquariums will be provided during these bilingual, family-oriented catch and release fishing and trapping events. Interactive science, geography and art activities for young people will also be offered. By moving beyond the water's edge and learning about the fish living there, community members of all ages will be able to connect with the Harbor Estuary. Participants will learn how to become stewards of their local waters and have the opportunity to make a pledge to protect the estuary.
Location of Project: Manhattan, NY
Contact: Tori Gilbert, 212-427-3956
Web site: www.eastrivercrew.org
HEP Funding: $4,900
Title: A Boat Launch and Boat Storage Facility on the Harlem River
Project Description: New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing and developing neglected open space in economically-disadvantaged communities in NYC, will build a modular boat launch and boat storage facility in the South Bronx. The new facility will provide waterfront access on the Harlem River in Roberto Clemente State Park, where NYRP has been partnering with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation since 2003. Community rowing organizations, NYRP's boatbuilding program participants, and local kayakers and canoeists will use the launch and storage facility. In doing so, they will raise awareness of the Harlem River - part of the larger Harbor Estuary - as a valuable recreational and social resource.
Location of Project: Bronx, NY
Contact: Amy Gavaris, 212-333-2552
Web site: www.nyrp.org
HEP Funding: $5,000
Title: Urban Waters Environmental Education Program 2004
Project Description: The Urban Waters Environmental Education Program will take place aboard the South Street Seaport Museum's (SSSM) schooner Lettie G. Howard. This overnight sail training and marine education program will serve 39 at-risk teens from New York City social service organizations. Participants will explore New York City's waterways, conduct hands-on marine and environmental science activities and experiments, and discuss the fundamental connection between the health of the estuary and the metropolitan region's large urban population. The South Street Seaport Museum designed the program to help young New Yorkers develop an enhanced sense of stewardship for the waters of the Harbor Estuary.
Location of Project: Manhattan, NY
Contact: Aaron Singh, 212-748-8596
Web site: www.southstseaport.org
HEP Funding: $4,700
Title: From Sea to Seining Sea: Using Language Arts and Science to Improve Stewardship of the Estuaries in K-12 New York City School Children
Project Description: Biology and education professors at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights will team up to offer a two-day workshop about the Harbor Estuary to teachers-in-
training enrolled in their language arts and science courses. Workshop sessions will focus on historical and scientific information about the Harbor Estuary, hands-on water quality analysis with computers, and practical advice for taking K-12 students on field trips. The teachers will sail the waters of the harbor, visit a salt marsh restoration site and develop lessons and hands-on activities to use with their future students. This project will give new teachers the confidence and experience they need to teach about the estuary both in the classroom and in the field.
Location of Project: Brooklyn, NY
Contact: Kathleen Nolan, 718-796-2191
Web site: www.stfranciscollege.edu
HEP Funding: $5,000
Title: Seaside Nature Park's Shoreline Restoration
Project Description: Turnaround Friends, Inc. (TFI) will expand its project to restore the Seaside Nature Park, a Harbor Estuary Program Priority Habitat Site in Staten Island. The goals of the project are to reestablish the function and benefits of this coastal property and ensure the future protection of the Park's valuable natural resources. TFI's ongoing program, in partnership with NYC Parks, removes debris and other contaminants to improve the ecosystem's water quality, aesthetics, wildlife habitat and overall value to the community. This shorefront restoration project, along with TFI's ongoing educational program, will help to spread the
message that "we can and must rescue and restore our shoreline and wetlands areas."
Location of Project: Staten Island, NY
Contact: Anthony Marraccini, 718-967-5729, email@example.com
Web site: www.turnaroundfriends.org
HEP Funding: $5,000