Brooklyn, NY – This week, Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), the House Democratic Leader, announced he secured $500,000 for the Hudson Raritan Estuary-Fresh Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project through the fiscal year 2023 government funding law. The federal funds secured in partnership with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will be used for planning, engineering and design of the Fresh Creek portion of the Hudson Raritan Estuary project providing ecosystem and coastal storm risk management benefits.
“Canarsie, USA is an all-American community, a wonderful community filled with beautiful people, beautiful families, beautiful homes, beautiful spirit and of course, a beautiful natural habitat. We want to make sure that this incredible ecosystem is preserved,” said Congressman Jeffries. “That’s what this Fresh Creek ecosystem restoration project is all about—progress for the community, progress for the city and progress for the climate to ensure that the splendors of Mother Nature that God gifted us remain with us for generations to come.”
“Projects like Fresh Creek Restoration will protect our communities, including Canarsie, from flooding, preserve our shorelines, and help restore New York’s precious water ecosystems,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud we secured federal funding for this vital project that will help restore Fresh Creek’s wetlands, reduce flooding, provide critical habitat, especially for migratory birds, and better protect Brooklyn communities, including Canarsie and Starrett City, from future extreme weather.”
During the announcement, Congressman Jeffries was joined by New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud and representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Hudson River Foundation, the Coney Island Beautification Project and the Fresh Creek Civic Association.
“From protecting our wetlands resources, fostering wildlife return, and benefitting disadvantaged communities, this investment, made possible by Leader Jeffries, touches on our primary goals here at EPA of working with our local, state and federal partners to address the impacts of climate change and strive for environmental justice,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia.
“Fresh Creek is a critical tributary that helps feed the ongoing restoration of Jamaica Bay’s wildlife and fishery habitat and provides important resiliency benefits to Brooklyn communities. DEC applauds House Democratic Leader Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Schumer for securing this significant federal funding and thanks the many community partners for steadfast work on this important environmental preservation and resiliency project,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Patrick Foster.
“As we have seen daily over the past few weeks, there are many countries who are deciding to withdraw from their climate agreements, because people are still thinking that climate change is not real. We have to continue to be the leaders of this. Our community requires that we continue to do so,” said State Senator Roxanne Persaud (SD-19). “I want to continue to thank our congressman for continuing the fight to secure funding to preserve our ecosystem.”
“We ask a lot of our waterfronts here in New York City – protecting us from coastal storms, providing access to nature and sustaining fish and wildlife. Thanks to Congressman Jeffries and Senator Schumer, Fresh Creek will soon be delivering these benefits to the community,” noted Robert Pirani, Director of the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP) at the Hudson River Foundation. “It’s a key project of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan adopted by HEP and our collaboration partners.”
“Thank you to Congressman Jeffries and Senator Schumer for their leadership in securing critical restoration funding for our communities and at Jamaica Bay in Gateway National Recreation Area – one of the most visited national parks in America,” said Lauren Cosgrove, Rockaway resident and Northeast Campaign Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “For years with our partners, we’ve called for ecosystem restoration to help nature recover and thrive, and to combat climate harms like more frequent storms, devastating flooding and rising, warmer sea waters. This funding will advance Fresh Creek restoration, an important tributary that feeds into Jamaica Bay and supports healthy wetlands, stabilizes our shorelines, provides sought after waterfront access, and strengthens the resiliency of Canarsie and East New York.”
“To be included along the Canarsie Pier during the presentation of these two climate grants to two outstanding organizations leads me to hope springs eternal for my waterfront community of Coney Island,” said Pamela Pettyjohn, Co-founder and President of the Coney Island Beautification Project.
“Leader Jeffries has not missed a step yet. He continually remembers that Fresh Creek needs funding, we need to be restored and we need to be renewed,” said Maria Garrett, President of the Fresh Creek Civic Association.
Revitalizing the over 24 acres of wetlands will improve the connectivity of currently fragmented vital nursery, nesting and feeding habitat from adjacent marsh islands for hundreds of migratory birds–including the federally listed threatened piping plover and endangered roseate tern. Through this funding and the efforts of community-based organizations, the Hudson River Estuary will continue to be a thriving ecosystem that supports aquatic habitats and mitigates the effects of extreme weather events.