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 diverse, native and contiguous ecological communities.
  2. Manage stormwater through green infrastructure to capture, retain, and treat runoff.
  3. Promote access and connectivity to the shoreline and between existing parks and open space.
  4. Engage and education the public to increase community awareness, environmental protection, and stewardship among diverse stakeholders.


The final plan will be completed by June 2019. Public meetings were held in Fall 2016 and 2017 to gather input on the community’s vision and goals for the watershed, to identify opportunities for achieving the plan’s goals, and to review proposed recommendations. NYC Parks will hold a third public meeting on November 29, 2018 to share a draft of the plan and ask for community feedback. 

Tell Us What You Think!

We want to hear from you! Please download a PDF of the draft management plan below:

Draft Management Plan

Please email Katie Friedman at katie.friedman@parks.nyc.gov with any comments or questions on the draft plan by Friday, January 11, 2019.

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