The Hudson River Foundation supports scientific and public policy research, education, and projects to enhance public access to the Hudson River. The Foundation was established in 1981 under the terms of an agreement among environmental groups, government regulatory agencies and utility companies seeking the constructive resolution of a long series of legal controversies concerning the environmental impacts of power plants on the Hudson River.


The purpose of the Hudson River Foundation is to make science integral to decision-making with regard to the Hudson River and its watershed and to support competent stewardship of this extraordinary resource. This purpose will be pursued through support of scientific research; communication to expand knowledge about the river among the scientific community, policy makers, and the public at large; initiatives to enhance management of the Hudson ecosystem; and education about the River and physical improvements to the riverfront.

Hudson River, Upper West Side, NY, photo by Marquex Bowman

Science and Management

The majority of HRF's funds are used to support independent, objective research that will inform policy making concerning a broad range of scientific and public policy areas affecting the Hudson.

  • The Hudson River Fund was created in recognition of the critical need for an independent institution to sponsor scientific research and education programs that would contribute to the development of sound public policy concerning the River's ecological system. The Hudson River Fund was initially established with $12 million in 1982. Since then the Fund, which has tripled in value, has enabled the Foundation to award 809 grants and fellowships totaling approximately $40 million to date.

  • Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement that established it, the Hudson River Fund is dedicated to supporting:

    "scientific, ecological, and related public policy research on issues and matters of concern to the Hudson River, its tributaries and its drainage basin, with emphasis given, but not limited to, mitigating fishery impacts caused by power plants, providing information needed to manage the fishery resources of the Hudson River, understanding the factors related to the abundance and structure of fish populations, and gaining knowledge of the Hudson River ecosystem."

  • To complement the grant program of the Hudson River Fund, HRF has a significant internal program designed to bring scientific understanding to bear on public policy. Most of the internal program is linked to three major, well-established management initiatives, the federally sponsored New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP, now housed at HRF), the Hudson River Estuary Program, and the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan.

Other HRF Grant Programs

  • HRF's mission was expanded in 1985 by the establishment of the Hudson River Improvement Fund (HRIF) within the Foundation through an agreement with New York State which provided the initial HRIF endowment of $1.5 million. HRIF's purpose is to support projects (especially those requiring capital construction, development, or improvement) to enhance public use and enjoyment of the River's natural, scenic and cultural resources. The Improvement Fund has awarded approximately 854 grants totaling around $7 million.
  • At the end of 1994, the Foundation established a third fund, the New York City Environmental Fund (NYCEF), to foster "restoration, care, public enjoyment of, and education about New York City's natural resources." To date, the Foundation has awarded more than 900 grants, totaling $11.1 million, from NYCEF and related funds dedicated to projects in the Newtown Creek area and West Harlem near the North River Sewage Treatment Plant, to environmental and community groups in New York City and Westhchester County.
Last updated 10/5/2018