The Bronx and Harlem rivers Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) celebrated its 10th anniversary on the High Bridge over the Harlem River in New York City on Wednesday. Participants also highlighted future important environmental and infrastructure needs and challenges.
At a press conference, congressional representatives, federal, state and New York City agencies, environmental organizations and local leaders highlighted the need for ongoing revitalization of the Harlem and Bronx rivers in NYC.
The UWFP is an initiative to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community led revitalization efforts that promote economic, environmental and social benefits. The Bronx and Harlem rivers are part of the larger Hudson River/NY-NJ Harbor Estuary and Long Island Sound systems, and as such, hold enormous potential to provide wide-ranging benefits to millions of people in the region.
“The ongoing work and successes of the UWFP program has improved the environmental conditions of the Bronx and Harlem Rivers and the surrounding communities, but more must be done,” said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres. “Bronx residents continue to suffer from the effects of environmental degradation and pollution, and this has worsened throughout the pandemic. We are all committed to continue this partnership and align resources on all levels of government to better serve residents and improve environmental conditions.”
Led locally by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Bronx and Harlem rivers UWFP works to help overburdened and underserved communities reconnect to their waterways, reduce the adverse impacts of urbanization on water quality and human health, and restore degraded riverfronts and watersheds while pursuing environmental justice.
“We are extremely proud to have been part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership for the past 10 years, which has been a key facilitator for many projects benefiting the Bronx and Harlem rivers and surrounding communities,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “While much has been achieved, there is still more to accomplish, and we look forward to being a part of the continued collaborative efforts of the partnership towards the ongoing restoration and protection of these waterbodies and communities into the future.”