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New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary celebrated as ‘Hope Spot’

International marine conservation nonprofit Mission Blue has declared the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary as a “Hope Spot,” with Dr. Judith S. Weis, Professor Emerita at Rutgers University and Rob Pirani, Program Director, NY/NJ Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP), as the Hope Spot Champions in recognition of their work to connect their community of urbanites with the natural world around them through campaigning for continued improvement in water quality, habitat restoration, and community engagement programs.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, says, “This place is highly urbanized; located in the largest metropolitan region in the United States. It is not a place that you would think of normally as a reason for hope – but a transformation is taking place. From a time when this place was largely a rich natural area to one that became, over the years, systematically degraded, it is now enjoying recovery because of positive actions that are taking place.” She continues, “New York City’s and New Jersey’s waterfronts provide many activities, including the opportunity to mingle with wildlife. This area is evidence of what people can do when they care and when people put in the work for a better place for nature and for humans. It is achievable!”

Learn more and read the announcement on Mission Blue’s website.

“The images we’ve seen lately, of whales and dolphins against the backdrop of New York City, truly have the power to inspire,” says Tracy Brown, President of Riverkeeper. “Here in our densely populated region, home to millions, members of the public are eager for signs of hope that the life in our waters can rebound. And we’ve seen that they are willing to step up as activists for the protection of these waters.”

Weis’s and Pirani’s goals for the Hope Spot include stimulating more habitat restoration, reducing pollution, especially plastics, and educating diverse groups about the estuary. “We want to improve public access to the estuary from underserved neighborhoods that do not yet have easy access, but yet have often carried the weight of degradation,” Weis says. “We work with the many public outreach groups in New York and New Jersey who are already working on these issues to help shine a light on the potential opportunities.”

Explore a world of Hope Spots here.

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