Urban Waters Partnership

Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds (New York)

The Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds hold enormous potential to provide natural beauty, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and economic incentives - all of which improve the quality of life of local residents.
Once, the area was home to various ecosystems including:

  • forests
  • meadows
  • marshes
  • swamps

Much of the natural habitat in the area has been displaced by urban development. Also, the legacy of pollution and contamination in the watersheds continues to be felt.

Some of the communities within these watersheds are among the poorest in the nation. They host an inordinate amount of the city’s solid waste, sewage treatment and electrical generation facilities. The largest wholesale food distribution center in the world, which generates over 12,000 truck trips a day, is also in the area.

This location, led by the United States Department of the Interior (U.S. DOI), faces the challenge of helping these overburdened and underserved communities reconnect to their waterways and achieve their own waterfront vision. A vision that includes new and improved open space and access to waterfront recreational opportunities including greenways and water trails for canoes and kayaks.

List of Partners

  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Housing and Urban Development
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Department of Interior, National Park Service
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • US Forest Service
  • US Geological Survey

State Government

  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Office

Local Government

  • New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Harlem River Working Group
  • Bronx Council for Environmental Quality
  • New York City Department of Design and Construction
  • New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • Amtrack
  • Congressman Jose Enrique Serrano's Office


  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Friends of Van Cortlandt Park

Partnership in Action Report