From the Adirondack Mountains to New York City, the Hudson flows
through 315 miles of eastern New York. The lower half of the Hudson is
an estuary influenced by ocean tides and saltwater.
Bordered by 15 New York State counties, the estuary is defined by
the Federal Dam at Troy and the Verrazano Narrows in New York City. The
Estuary has a 4 foot tidal range that extends to Troy. On average,
(depending on the amounts of seasonal precipitation and freshwater
runoff) the salt front is held between the Tappan Zee and Yonkers,
moving toward Newburgh Bay during the summer.
The Hudson River is one of the most extensive freshwater tidal
ecosystems in the northeastern U.S. The estuary marshes and tidal flats
contribute essential nutrients to aquatic and terrestrial food webs. The
River’s main stem, marshes and freshwater tributaries provide vital
habitat for invertebrates, fish, reptiles and amphibians, birds and
mammals. The Hudson Valley is also a great place for people. Rich in
cultural history, biological and geological diversity, The River and
bordering communities provide numerous opportunities for recreation,
including boating, fishing, swimming and hiking opportunities.
Like many of our coastal water bodies, the Hudson Estuary is
stressed and continues to face many challenges. In 1987 the New York
State Legislature passed the Hudson River Estuary Management Act, a law
creating a plan and programs to conserve the tidal Hudson River and its
associated shorelands. Over two decades of hard work by citizen groups,
government agencies, non-government organizations and individuals has helped conserve one of New
York’s great coastal resources. New York Sea Grant Extension has had a
Hudson Estuary specialist working in this region since the early1990’s.