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Urban Wetlands Protection and Restoration Workshop:
Identifying Regional Priorities

December 1, 2010

On December 1, Parks' Natural Resources Group and the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (HEP) organized a workshop to bring together, for the first time, a select group of regional wetland experts to discuss specific issues related to urban wetlands and stream conservation and restoration in New York City. The goal of the workshop was to help identify the key components of a comprehensive wetlands protection, management and restoration strategy for the city, including assessment needs, target wetland conditions and functions, data gaps and coordination needs.

The workshop was motivated, in part, by the multiple planning efforts underway in the city that will affect wetlands and riparian areas. These efforts include the revision of the Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the New York /New Jersey Estuary, the development of Comprehensive Waterfront Plan for 2020, and the formulation of a comprehensive wetlands protection policy for NYC by 2012, as required by city law. As the largest wetlands land owner in NYC, we were seeking expert input in developing a strategy for the management of our wetland and stream resources so that their beneficial functions can be protected and integrated into future planning efforts.

Over 60 well known practitioners, academics, resource managers, and other professionals in the field participated in the conference. Talks in the morning provided a general background on wetland protection and restoration objectives, as they fit into PlaNYC and the Harbor Estuary program, as well as some more detailed examples of the wetland threats, assessment techniques, adaptation and restoration opportunities. In afternoon breakout sessions the participants discussed setting objectives for wetlands assessment, protecting small and fragmented freshwater wetlands, addressing threats facing coastal wetlands, and setting performance standards for wetlands restoration. Everyone gathered again in the final session to report back on what the groups had discussed. Our partners in the Harbor Estuary Program at the the Army Corps of Engineers ended the day be proposing a list of tasks or action items that emerged from the days' events. In all, the workshop allowed us to secure new technical and professional partners with experts in other states and agencies, and to re-invigorate our current partnerships.

A summary from the workshop is provided here: Urban Wetlands Workshop Summary 2010 (PDF)

See the agenda below for links to the presentations

Program

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