Protect Natural Areas and Waterfront Ecology

Much of the New York City coastline is home to complex ecological systems including plants and wildlife that not only require special conditions, but that provide special services to the city in return. Many waterfront areas of the city have some environmental protections, but many more could be included in programs that prioritize the protection of natural areas. If the City proposes a project that will impact public land in a natural area, consider whether the site in question might need extra protection.

State and federal coastal management laws authorize the NYC Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP) to establish guidelines to balance the competing priorities of public use, environmental conservation, and economic development along the waterfront. Any project or action that impacts the waterfront must undergo review for consistency with the Waterfront Revitalization Program, which includes policies intended to protect ecological resources, water quality and scenic resources.

The Waterfront Revitalization Program also includes special area designations for some natural areas along the coastline. Check to see if the proposed project is located in any of the following Special Area Designation sites, or in a place that has similar conditions, to advocate for a use that protects and restores the ecology:

  • Recognized Ecological Complexes (RECs) are areas recognized as having clusters of fragmented natural features that are small in scale and may be interrupted with development where other land uses are sited. These include parkland sites, restoration sites, and areas designated as Forever Wild Preserves.