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The New York - New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (HEP) is a partnership of federal, state, and local governments; scientists; civic and environmental advocates; businesses; educators; and, citizens working together to protect and restore the waters of the estuary. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is an active partner in HEP.

The Harbor Estuary was designated an "Estuary of National Significance" in 1988 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In 1996, the HEP completed a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan to "establish and maintain a healthy, productive ecosystem with full beneficial uses." The HEP "region" includes the following counties: Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union, Middlesex, Monmouth and Morris.

The HEP's mini-grants are designed to support and encourage the efforts of citizen stewards that pursue goals and projects consistent with those of the HEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The areas of concern identified in the plan are: habitat and living resources, toxics, dredged material management, pathogens, floatable debris, nutrient and organic enrichment, rainfall-induced discharges, public involvement and education. Mini-grants may fund projects with focus areas that include, but are by no means limited to: non-point source pollution control and prevention; estuarine education; habitat enhancement and preservation; coastal cleanup activities; classroom projects that can serve as models for other schools; and, citizen monitoring.


HEP Mini-grants (up to $4000) provide funds for projects that:
  • Emphasize that the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary ecosystem is a living environmental and social resource.

  • Demonstrate ways that the public can help protect the estuary.

  • Motivate people to actively participate in the restoration of the estuary.

  • Utilize innovative activities to involve people and encourage local action.

  • Increase public awareness and education.

Target Audience(s)
  • Not-for-profit organizations with an established dissemination network

  • Local government or public agencies, such as municipalities and environmental commissions

  • Schools or school districts with class projects that can serve as models for other schools

  • Applicant(s) must work within the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary region and be able to provide evidence of liability insurance.

Additional Information
Laura Bartovics, New York Sea Grant
Outreach Coordinator
290 Broadway, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10007-1866
Phone: 212-637-3816
Fax: 212-637-3889