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Governor Cuomo proposes bold ‘Revive Mother Nature’ Initiative

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If implemented, the ‘Revive Mother Nature’ Initiative would be a landmark effort to restore critical marine and freshwater habitats statewide. 

Mother Nature Initiative

Governor Cuomo announced the ‘Revive Mother Nature’ Initiative on Saturday as officials released thousands of shellfish at NYC’s Hudson River Park.

Over the weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an ambitious “Revive Mother Nature” Initiative to restore critical marine and freshwater habitats throughout New York State. The program has three important and interrelated goals: Improve water quality, enhance marine life and promote coastal resilience. The governor is promising to make the initiative a priority in his 2020 State of the State address this coming January.

Core to the “Revive Mother Nature” Initiative is a plan to spend $2.88 million to establish and expand oyster reefs in the Hudson River Park Estuarine Sanctuary and a companion plan to restore New York City’s largest oyster reef in the Bronx River at Soundview Park. Riverkeeper’s Habitat Restoration Manager Dr. George Jackman calls restoring oyster reefs “the single best thing that can be done to enhance habitat in the harbor.”

The initiative will also make significant investments to increase the state’s fish populations by funding the protection and restoration of wetlands and waterways, including dam removal projects. Restoring the state’s aquatic habitats will also help New York communities increase their resilience to climate change and severe weather events.  

In the wake of the Governor Cuomo’s announcement, The Hudson River Park Trust will release its new habitat restoration plan this Fall and has announced its intention to do a big restoration project for the Gansevoort Peninsula, just south of 14th Street, which will include oyster reef and tidal wetlands restoration, and the long-awaited “Beach For Manhattan”, which the NY Times enthused about in an editorial last summer. 

This new initiative would seem to be the latest example (akin to earlier successes like $3.5 billion for clean water infrastructure, the Indian Point closure agreement and the State’s dam removal and drinking water source protection programs) of state initiatives aligned with Riverkeeper’s key strategic goals. We’ll do our best to help ensure that this new initiative is implemented and is successful. 

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