NY DEC Releases 2009 “State of the Hudson” Report

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Action Agenda to Help Set Five-Year Course For Hudson River Estuary

NY DEC Releases 2009 "State of the Hudson" ReportNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced the release of the “State of the Hudson 2009 Report” and the “Draft 2010-2014 Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda” during the Hudson River Estuary Program Summit at the Hotel Thayer, West Point, on the Hudson River.

The State of the Hudson 2009 is an illustrated report that describes progress and identifies ongoing problems. It looks at water quality, habitat and fish and wildlife of the estuary, as well as biodiversity, tributary health, and land-use patterns in the Hudson’s watershed. The State of the Hudson 2009 is available on the DEC website. The Draft Action Agenda 2010-2014 helps set the course for estuary management for the coming five years. Both documents also are available by calling the Hudson River Estuary Program office at 845-256-3016.

“Fittingly, we are issuing this report during the Quadricentennial celebration of the Hudson. But as we are celebrating 400 years of Hudson River history, we’d be wise to remember the river’s recent past,” Commissioner Grannis said. “The river has made a remarkable come back over the last 40 years, from the days it was regarded as an open sewer. Yet more work is needed – from keeping toxics out of the estuary to upgrading water infrastructure to increasing citizen stewardship. The State of the Hudson Report gives us a sense of where we are and what we need to do to continue the comeback.”

In cooperation with Historic Hudson River Towns and others, the DEC-led Hudson River summit takes stock of priority issues confronting the Hudson River Estuary. Participants focus on their vision for the future and examine how partnerships can be expanded to achieve common goals for the river. More than 170 people were slated to attend the summit, including local partners who provide valuable services for protection and management of the Hudson River Estuary and its watershed.

“The river shaped our past. We now shape its future,” said Fran Dunwell, DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Coordinator. “Our power to alter the Hudson must be informed by understanding of the vital role the river plays in our lives.”

DEC’s Draft Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda 2010-2014 is the blueprint for cleaning and protecting the Hudson River and its watershed, while increasing public access, conserving vital natural resources, improving educational programs, and protecting open space along the entire estuary. The Draft 2010-1014 Action Agenda focuses on priorities such as restoring and maintaining signature species and the ecosystems that support them; assisting communities to prepare for climate change, including sea level rise and flooding of tributary streams; maintaining the resiliency of the Hudson watershed ecosystem and its world-famous landscape; achieving the goal of swimmable water quality and maintaining the water quality New York has achieved by upgrading wastewater infrastructure.

Led by the DEC, the Draft 2010-2014 Action Agenda is an inter-agency effort undertaken cooperatively with the Department of State, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, the Office of General Services and others.

Written comments on the draft are due by July 31. Comments can be sent via e-mail at hrep [at] gw [dot] dec [dot] state [dot] ny [dot] us (please include the words “Hudson River Action Agenda” in the subject line) or by mail addressed to: Frances F. Dunwell, NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561.

There will be additional public comment opportunities in fall 2009. A final Action Agenda is targeted for release in January 2010.