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How Riverkeeper’s legal campaigns support restoration

ribbon cutting for Quarry Park in Hastings-20240623

Ribbon cutting for Quarry Park in Hastings
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Riverkeeper’s legal campaigns don’t just stop pollution, they also fuel restoration. Not only do victories in the courtroom lead to greater and more effective enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, but we also “pay forward” the environmental benefit funds that we secure through our successful legal campaigns to support projects led by other organizations that address water quality and pressing environmental issues.

One exciting recent example is the transformation of a polluted site on the Hastings-on-Hudson shoreline into a vibrant public space: Quarry Park. This area, once heavily contaminated with toxic PCBs, has been a focal point of Riverkeeper’s efforts for decades.

Ribbon cutting for Quarry Park in Hastings

Ribbon cutting for Quarry Park in Hastings. Photo: Jim Metzger

The $700,000 investment to clean up the site and create Quarry Park came out of our long-standing legal campaign. The funding allowed the cleanup to not only address contamination, but also integrate public access, sustainable design, and resilience against sea-level rise. Quarry Park now stands as a testament to how legal work can lead to tangible environmental benefits and community enhancements. By supporting the transformation of a once-toxic site into a public park, we have helped create a space that fosters community engagement, outdoor recreation, and environmental education. It exemplifies the ripple effect of our legal efforts, turning past industrial negligence into a source of communal pride and ecological restoration.

Another powerful example of how we pay forward our legal successes is our partnership with the American Farmland Trust (AFT). The Brighter Future Fund, launched by AFT, aims to support farmers in implementing practices that improve water quality and promote sustainable agriculture. This year, thanks to an environmental benefit payment secured through our efforts alongside the Sierra Club, $120,000 in micro-grants is being allocated to New York farmers for projects that protect and enhance water quality.

This funding has a profound impact, enabling farmers to adopt regenerative practices that safeguard our water resources while enhancing farm productivity and resilience to climate change. The Brighter Future Fund specifically targets historically underserved farmers, providing them with the resources needed to implement innovative agricultural practices. These practices not only benefit the environment by reducing runoff and improving soil health, but also enhance the long-term viability of farming operations, contributing to the local economy and food security.

As Tracy Brown, our President and Hudson Riverkeeper, put it, “Riverkeeper is proud to be able to support this vital work helping the agricultural industry in the Hudson Valley thrive while becoming more sustainable and protecting precious water resources.” This initiative underscores the interconnectedness of environmental health and agricultural sustainability, and highlights the broad impact of our legal advocacy.

Our work with the American Farmland Trust and the restoration of Quarry Park are just two examples of how environmental benefit funds extend the reach of our legal victories. By strategically directing these funds, we amplify positive environmental outcomes, ensuring that projects with the greatest potential for impact receive the support they need.

By leveraging the funds secured through our legal campaigns, we are proud to contribute to projects that protect our natural resources, support community well-being, and promote environmental stewardship across various sectors. At Riverkeeper, our mission extends beyond well litigation and environmental protection. We are dedicated to fostering partnerships and supporting initiatives that create a healthier, more sustainable future for all.

Together, we can continue to make a difference, ensuring that the benefits of our work ripple outward, creating lasting positive impacts for our environment and communities. We remain committed to monitoring and supporting these projects, ensuring that they achieve their intended goals and continue to benefit future generations.

Stay tuned for more updates on how Riverkeeper’s efforts are driving change and supporting a sustainable future. As we look ahead, we are excited to explore new opportunities to collaborate with other organizations, leverage our legal successes, and continue making a difference in the fight for environmental justice and conservation.

Riverkeeper protects and restores the Hudson River, and safeguards drinking water supplies through community partnerships, science, and law. Our core programs improve water quality, restore habitat for an abundance of life, and address the impact of climate change on our waterways. Founded in 1966 as the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association, Riverkeeper became the model for more than 320 Waterkeeper organizations around the world and helped establish globally-recognized standards for waterway and watershed protection. We continue to work toward the goal of a swimmable, fishable, and drinkable Hudson River for all. Learn more, get updates, and support our work by visiting https://www.riverkeeper.org.

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