Throughout December, we are highlighting each of the organizations featured in our Jersey Give-Back Guide, an online portal for year-end giving that makes it easy to donate to some of New Jersey’s most effective nonprofits. Today we feature NY/NJ Baykeeper
Organization name: NY/NJ Baykeeper
Communities served: The NY/NJ Harbor Estuary. The Estuary is from the Tappen Zee Bridge in the north, Jamaica Bay, New York in the east and Sandy Hook, New Jersey in the south.
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WHAT WE DO: NY/NJ Baykeeper serves as the citizen advocate for the bays, streams, and shores of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary by preserving and restoring habitat, influencing land use decisions, stopping polluters, championing public access, and educating the public.
Baykeeper works to pursue a healthy Hudson-Raritan Estuary through our three core programs:
- Conservation Program, which has partnered with other organizations to acquire, protect, and restore nearly 2,500 acres of natural land around the densely developed Hudson-Raritan Estuary
- Oyster Restoration Program, which manages two scientific oyster reefs and one community reef for research and ecovolunteerism opportunities and is currently the only nonprofit organization conducting bi-state oyster research and restoration
- Advocacy Program, which utilizes a unique tactic of combining advocacy and grassroots organizing efforts with litigation to ensure a comprehensive approach.
Through our efforts, Baykeeper has sued polluters for clean water violations, protected citizen’s right to access the waterfront, and patrolled the waterways with our own boat investigating potential pollution violations and oil spills.
WHY WE’RE GREAT: Our Oyster Program. NY/NJ Baykeeper is currently the only organization working on a bi-state oyster research and restoration effort. By possessing the unique ability to filter water, oysters have the potential to clean our waters by removing harmful pollutants. An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water each day.
We have partnered with the Hudson River Foundation, the NYC Parks Department, and others to establish scientific and community oyster reefs at Soundview Park in the Bronx River which provides a unique opportunity for ecovolunteerism in the NYC metro area. Volunteers get to observe oyster biology and ecology up close, seeing how the oysters interact with their environment and improve water quality, all while collecting valuable data for our Oyster Restoration Program. In NJ, we partner with Naval Weapons Station Earle, a high security facility located in Middletown, NJ where we are successfully managing our aquaculture facility and have planted over 600,000 oysters in two years. Due to our advocacy efforts, in November 2014, legislation was introduced in the NJ State Senate that would lift the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s ban and allow oyster research in NJ waters once again.
ADVOCACY PROGRAM: In April 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency introduced their proposed plan for clean-up of the lower 8 miles of the Passaic River. We advocated for a complete bank to bank dredge of the River. During the public comment period, NY/NJ Baykeeper was responsible for reaching out to local media outlets and educating reporters on the plan, an effort which wielded over a dozen new articles and stories about clean up efforts in the Passaic River. Working with the Ironbound Community Corporation, we rallied close to 300 community members to attend public meetings on the proposal and collected over 1,500 signatures over the course of 3 public meetings.
CONSERVATION PROGRAM: During the past decade, NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Conservation Program has partnered to acquire, protect, and restore over 2,500 acres of natural land around the densely developed Hudson-Raritan Estuary. In this region, where large undeveloped areas are scarce, every acre of open space is valuable. Our Conservation Program hopes to preserve an additional 2,500 acres of open space over the next 10 years, protect critical remaining habitat, and restore impaired habitat and species.
HOW YOUR DONATION WILL HELP: Your donation will help us do what we do best — protect, preserve, and restore the ecological integrity of the NY/NJ Harbor. We graciously accept any donation amount. Here are some examples of what you can help support:
- $50 buys 50,000 baby oysters to be grown in our aquaculture facility.
- $75 pays for the fuel for a boat patrol.
- $100 buys a pair of waders for volunteers to help clean rivers.
- $1,500 covers the appraisal costs on a piece of land that would otherwise not be preserved.
NEEDS: Supporters can sign on to our petitions and also add their name to our volunteer list. We participate in beach and park cleanups often and always need volunteers. Additionally, volunteers are able to participate in our oyster ecovolunteerism program at our community reef in Soundview Park in the Bronx. Volunteers are able to hands-on monitor oysters for growth.
RELATED READING: New Jersey Dump Tainted Petroleum Dirt Cyanide Slude Toxin in Rahway River (NBC New York); $90 Million Passaic River Settlement Should Go Toward River Cleanup (NJ.com); An Update on Oyster Restoration (GoShuckAnOyster.com)
— Sandra Meola, NY/NJ Baykeeper Communications and Outreach Associate
GO TO THE JERSEY GIVE BACK GUIDE NOW.
The Dodge Foundation is offering $1,000 challenge grants to each of the organizations featured in the Jersey Give-Back Guide. To be eligible, each organization must receive at least 50 donations through the Guide by December 31st. Help them reach their goal and get that extra $1,000!