Policy Update Jul 26, 2023

Position on H.R. 2982, New York-New Jersey Watershed Protection Act

NPCA submitted the following position to members of the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries ahead of a hearing scheduled for July 27, 2023.

NPCA supports this legislation, which establishes a program to coordinate restoration and protection of habitat for fish and wildlife and improvements to water quality within the New York – New Jersey Watershed among federal, state, Tribal, local and regional entities and conservation partners. This program also provides technical assistance and awards grants for restoration projects in environmental justice communities within the watershed.

Along with supplying clean water to 15 million Americans living in the most densely populated and economically diverse region in the country, the NY-NJ harbor and its watersheds host some of our most popular national park sites, like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Saratoga Battlefield, and Gateway National Recreation Area. These national parks and their watersheds provide opportunities for tourism, education and outdoor recreation that attract people from around the world while also improving quality of life and public health, sustaining significant fisheries and critical wildlife habitat, and protecting businesses and vital infrastructure from flooding and rising sea levels.

H.R.2982 builds on decades of progress, streamlines the best available science and maximizes benefits to the environment, local communities and state economies. Within the watershed, there are dozens of science-based, consensus-driven plans that outline desired conditions and best practices to manage natural resources, enhance water quality, improve public access to our waterways and mitigate the effects of climate change. Yet, without a federal watershed program, it is increasingly challenging to coordinate these efforts among federal, state, Tribal, local and regional entities and conservation partners. Now is the time to invest in the New York – New Jersey Watershed to ensure the long-term recovery of the region’s water, wildlife, parks and communities.