The Tributary Connections Subcommittee, formed in 2011 and revived in 2021, is a Subcommittee of the Harbor & Estuary Program Restoration Work Group, comprised of technical experts from multiple federal, state, and local governmental and non-governmental organizations. The group is the primary coordinator of efforts in seeking opportunities to reestablish connections between marine and freshwater habitats and restore tributaries within the NY-NJ Harbor and Estuary. Further, the Subcommittee serves as a forum for stakeholder discussions and as a source of practical information to those looking to remove aquatic barriers and restore hydrology.
Restoring Tributary Connections is one of the Target Ecosystem Characteristics (TEC) of the regionally developed and adopted Comprehensive Restoration Plan. Enhancing the connectivity and health of the tributaries will help to ensure the health of their aquatic communities and those of the wetlands, adjacent communities, and ecosystem services that they support. The subcommittee focuses on expanding the understanding of impacts to connectivity including, but not limited to, physical barriers to fish migration and spawning ability, diversion of historic hydrologic connections caused by these barriers, and habitat degradation or water quality barriers (e.g. low dissolved oxygen) that has altered or led to a functional loss of the connectivity.
Current group goals include:
– Prepare for infrastructure funding with shovel-ready projects.
– Streamline the barrier removal process and improve coordination between dam removal efforts and dam safety focus.