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The River Sanctuary—also known as the Hudson River Park Estuarine Sanctuary—is the heart and soul of Hudson River Park. In fact, Hudson River Park would never have come into existence had New York State and New York City not committed to recognize its approximately 400 in-water acres as a natural resource of extraordinary importance.

The Estuarine Sanctuary provides critical habitat to over 85 species of fish, including seahorses, eels and striped bass, and is a vital migration corridor for birds and other wildlife. This thriving urban estuary ecosystem is tidally influenced, resulting in a mixture of salt and fresh water that creates a dynamic, nutrient-rich environment with high biodiversity.

Beyond creating access—both physical and visual—to this invaluable natural resource, other core aspects of the Park’s mission are to promote environmental stewardship and enhance Sanctuary habitat. Over the past 20 years, the Park has been educating visitors of all ages about the River. Through free and low-cost programs, visitors can experience the Sanctuary as a living laboratory and classroom for discovering the abundance of nature that is right here in New York City’s backyard.

pile fields at the Hudson River

Hudson River Park also conducts research and environmental monitoring to increase understanding of the Sanctuary’s ecological, biological, physical and chemical conditions and relationships. This research produces publicly accessible data sets and informs management decisions to protect and restore the River Sanctuary for generations to come. Several Park projects are also enhancing habitat for oysters, other shellfish and finfish, including at the Gansevoort Peninsula and Pier 26.

Hudson River Park is committed to its mission of promoting and supporting the Sanctuary, and to preserve and enhance the Park’s aquatic habitat and promote awareness and stewardship of the estuarine environment for the millions of New Yorkers who enjoy the Park, including its waters, each year. Staff work with a Technical Advisory Committee of experts in the science, education, boating and planning communities on its multi-faceted Estuarine Sanctuary Management Plan, adopted September 2021, a Plan which guides decision-making in the Sanctuary.

group of people doing experiments


Learn More

Hudson River Park is situated within the Hudson River Estuary. The Hudson River spans 315 miles from its source in the Adirondack Mountains to its terminus in New York Harbor.

Hudson River Park has prioritized fostering and sponsoring inclusive community science that increase knowledge of the Park’s Sanctuary.

Explore a compilation of work from our partners and other agencies that has informed our understanding of the Sanctuary, its habitat and the health of its organisms.