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Public Access and Stewardship Grants


Photo credit: Bob Buchanan

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.

Requests for Proposals

Requests for Proposals are issued as funds are made available. Non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status, public and private primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, counties, and municipalities are eligible. Organizations without 501(c)(3) status may apply, but they must partner with another organization with 501(c)(3) status that can serve as a fiscal agent.

City of Water Day

HEP partners with the Waterfront Alliance and dozens of inspiring civic organizations and public agencies that steward our waterfront and waterways to help communities enhance their “In Your Neighborhood” events as part of the annual City of Water Day celebrations that take place on the second Saturday of every July. City of Water Day is a free, family-oriented, region-wide celebration that attracts tens of thousands of people each year. On this day, dozens of organizations choose to participate in this region-wide celebration by hosting an In Your Neighborhood event at their local waterfront. From free kayaking and rowing to fishing to hands-on workshops, In Your Neighborhood events offer community members opportunities to enjoy our region’s 1600 miles of coastline. To learn more about City of Water Day and the In Your Neighborhood program, visit our City of Water Day page.