Home | news | Press Releases

Press Releases

Tonko, Malliotakis Lead NY-NJ Delegates Introducing Watershed Restoration Bill

Bipartisan NY-NJ Watershed Protection Act supports revitalization efforts for most populous watershed

  • hudson waterway

WASHINGTON, DC—Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-NY) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) today introduced the New York-New Jersey Watershed Protection Act, legislation that restores and protects the vital water resources of the Hudson, Mohawk, and Raritan Rivers and their tributaries. The bipartisan legislation is also being introduced in the Senate by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), along with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

“For too long, our New York-New Jersey Watershed has been grossly underfunded, despite being America’s most populated watershed,” Congressman Tonko said. “I’ve long pushed to support this critical waterway, driving forward federal restoration efforts that will have massive ripple effects, including protecting communities from flood risks, supporting local wildlife, improving water quality, and driving economic growth. Our Watershed Protection Act recognizes the environmental, economic, and community importance of our watershed. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the House and Senate who are standing in support of this bill and urge Congress to advance this bipartisan, commonsense bill at once.”

“New York and New Jersey share nearly 500 miles of coastline that play a critical role in generating billions in revenue, promoting tourism, and protecting our communities from storm surges and rising seas,” Malliotakis said. “In recent years, hazardous waste, chemicals, and untreated wastewater have diminished the quality of water in the NY-NJ watershed, putting our already vulnerable waterways at risk. I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in cosponsoring this critical piece of legislation that supports federal restoration efforts, improves our water quality, and mitigates flood risks in our communities.”

“The New York-New Jersey Watershed is a vital natural resource that supports the health and well-being of millions of people in our region,” said Senator Booker. “Ongoing threats to this watershed from rising sea levels, storm surges, and legacy pollution demand new solutions, and this bipartisan legislation will help protect habitat and natural resources, increase public access to our outdoor spaces, and improve water quality. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill that would promote environmental justice and ensure a healthy and sustainable future for our communities and our environment.”

“Investing in our waterways is critical to the health and vitality of our region’s water resources and ecosystems, as well as to our local economies and communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The New York-New Jersey Watershed Protection Act will invest in restoration and protection efforts and fund effective watershed management strategies, support conservation efforts and promote partnerships between stakeholders. The bill will ensure that future generations can benefit from this important natural treasure.”

“The New York-New Jersey Watershed Protection Act will turn the tide for the cleanup and restoration of our waterways from the Hudson River to Jamaica Bay and ensure the environmental beauty of our region flows for generations to come,” said Senate Majority Leader Schumer. “New York’s beautiful rivers and waterways generate billions in economic activity, provide critical pathways for both commerce and recreation, and improve the quality of life for millions of residents across the state. I am proud to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation to tackle the harmful effects of legacy pollution and prioritizes the frontline communities suffering from environmental injustice most and help us set sail for a cleaner and more equitable future.”

The New York-New Jersey Watershed Protection Act of 2023:

  • Establishes a new program, administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and modeled on other successful regional watershed restoration programs, to coordinate restoration efforts
  • Ensures that restoration efforts utilize science-based principles to protect fish and wildlife habitat, improve water quality, increase public access to the watershed, mitigate flood risks, and develop public outreach and educational activities.
  • Emphasizes the need for restoration funds to be delivered to frontline communities experiencing environmental injustice.
  • Authorizes $20,000,000 annually for watershed restoration grants through Fiscal Year 2029.

The New York-New Jersey Watershed Protection Act is cosponsored by Representatives: Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Marc Molinaro (R-NY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Thomas H. Kean, Jr. (R-NJ). 

More than 50 organizations support this legislation, including: Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Hudson River Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund Action, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, New York League of Conservation Voters, The Nature Conservancy – New Jersey, and The Nature Conservancy – New York

A full list of supporting organizations and their statements can be found HERE.

A fact sheet on the bill can be found HERE.


Stay Connected