Connecting communities and their waterways is critical to fostering an engaged and informed constituency involved in caring for decision-making affecting the ecological health of the Harbor and its living resources. HEP provides funding for organizations to conduct projects promoting stewardship and public access to the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary, particularly in underserved areas. Such projects include but are not limited to:
- Establishing new public access to the estuary (e.g. through planning, implementation, and/or community engagement).
- Enhancing existing public access to/from the estuary (e.g. improving site stewardship; enabling boating access, swimming or fishing access; hands-on programming and events focused on the harbor estuary; and place-based waterway protection and awareness campaigns).
- Increasing the connection between underserved populations and publicly accessible waterfront spaces, especially those identified in the 2016 report, Connecting with our Waterways: Public Access and its Stewardship in the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary.