NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Harlem River Watershed and Natural Resources Management Plan

A Plan for the Bronx Side of the Harlem River

Mill Pond Park

NYC Parks, with funding from the New York State Department of State, is preparing a Harlem River Watershed and Natural Resources Management Plan for the Bronx. With input from community partners, including the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality and Friends of Van Cortlandt Park ,and support from the Urban Waters Federal Partnership  and the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program, this plan will provide recommendations and a roadmap for ecological and shoreline restoration, water quality improvement, and enhanced public access to the Bronx side of the Harlem River.

In conjunction with the Harlem River Watershed and Natural Resources Management Plan for the Bronx, NYC Parks is also preparing a conceptual plan for Bridge Park South, within the Harlem River watershed, funded by the Hudson River Estuary Program. This grant will fund the creation of a shoreline access planning project along the Harlem River between Exterior Street and the Alexander Hamilton bridge. The site, known as Bridge Park South, contains over 215,000 square feet of unused waterfront parkland. The conceptual plan will focus on access planning for environmental education and habitat enhancement.

Community Vision & Goals

The Harlem River watershed is a critical ecological and social resource where clean water, healthy habitats, and public well-being are valued and protected. It is a place where environmentally sound practices, policies, education, and stewardship help maintain and improve water quality and diverse native habitats, as well as public health, recreation, and a high quality of life easily accessible to local and adjacent communities.

This plan should:

  1. Protect, restore and enhance natural resources to maximize areas of diverse, native and contiguous ecological communities as well as other urban habitat such as street trees and community gardens.
  2. Manage stormwater to treat and capture runoff, reducing combined sewer overflows and improving water quality.
  3. Promote access and connectivity to the shoreline as well as between existing parks and open space, so that the public may better use and appreciate the river.
  4. Maximize public engagement to help connect more local community members to the watershed’s diverse habitats.


The final plan will be completed by early 2019. A public meeting was held in October 2016 to gather input on the community’s vision and goals for the watershed. NYC Parks is now developing a draft report that describes the current state of the watershed. Based on this information, NYC Parks will identify opportunities for achieving the plan’s goals and develop specific project recommendations. Additional community meetings will be scheduled in 2017 and 2018 to receive public comments on proposed recommendations and to review a draft management plan.

Share Your Ideas

We want to hear from you! Explore the map below, drop a marker anywhere you would like in the watershed, and tell us in more detail why you chose that spot. Add as many markers as you like! We would love to know about:

  • Problem areas, like:
    • Places that flood when it rains
    • Dangerous access points that prevent you from reaching the river or recreational spaces
    • Pollution/litter
  • Ideas or suggestions for the watershed, like:
    • Places for street trees
    • Areas for improved access to natural areas
    • Ideas for places of public engagement and education

The boundaries of the Harlem River watershed are shown on the map below in blue:


Add Your Comments

Want to share your thoughts? It's easy!
  1. Click anywhere in the highlighted section of the map. You can zoom in to find a specific location.
  2. Choose what type of comment you’d like to make - a Favorite Place, a Problem Area, or an Idea or Suggestion - and type your comment in the box.
  3. Explore the map and leave as many comments as you like!

Ready? Get started! (closes this box)

We've received your input on:


For more information, please email Sara Powell at

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