Although the focus of the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program is on the estuarine waters of the system, the watershed of the Estuary encompasses a much larger area. In 2011, HEP updated its geographic footprint to include the Hudson River watershed up to the Troy Dam, as well as the watersheds of the Raritan, Passaic, Hackensack Rivers in New Jersey. This watershed approach is much more in keeping with the way other major estuaries are managed. When HEP was initiated over 20 years ago, watershed concept was not as widely accepted as it is today and the focus was on the “core waters” of the estuary.
It is well known that activities occurring anywhere in a watershed can impact other areas and certainly the estuary – where the rivers meet the sea. Good examples of these are sediments moving downstream and fish moving upstream. This watershed-wide focus will result in enhanced coordination and cooperation with already-established organizations that have been working in some of these areas, such as the Hudson River Estuary Program and the Raritan River Collaborative.
To reflect this new scope, our program's name has been slightly modified to New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program, while our acronym will continue to be HEP.
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