Clearwater goes to Albany for Hudson River Advocacy Day



Yesterday Clearwater’s Executive Director David Toman, Environmental Action Director Jen Benson, and Board Member Steve Stanne participated in Hudson River Advocacy Day, joining fellow advocates in visiting Senators and Assemblymembers urging them to support critical environmental funding.

Although voted on independently, when looked at collectively, the bills advocated for during Hudson River Advocacy Day show the potential for what the future could look like – a Hudson River safe for swimming, communities with reliable drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and robust opportunities to access, experience, and learn from our river.

The bills centered during Hudson River Advocacy Day are summarized below:

Environmental Protection Fund (EPF)

Support a $400 million (EPF), opposing the proposed $25 million cut

First enacted in 1993, the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) provides critical funding to protect clean air and water, restore habitat, reduce waste and pollution, improve infrastructure, and create new opportunities for New Yorkers to access the outdoors. Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget proposed a $400 million EPF, but included a troubling provision allowing for $25 million to be used to cover state agency staff costs, reducing the amount of funding available for communities. While funding for New York State agencies is critical, it should not be at the expense of funding for projects that protect clean water, conserve forests, create new parks and trails, support environmental education, and needed infrastructure investments.

Learn more about the Environmental Protection Fund from the New Yorkers for Clean Water and Jobs Coalition of which Clearwater is a member. 


Hudson River Estuary Program & Mohawk Basin Programs

Restore to $7.5 million, reject $250,000 cut

Funded through the EPF, the Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP) & Mohawk Basin Program are critical to protecting and improving water quality in the Hudson River and its largest tributary, the Mohawk River. The HREP funds high-impact local programs such as climate adaptation planning, watershed management planning, natural resource inventories, and open space plans – tools often not accessible to underresourced communities without funding from HREP. Furthermore, the program funds internships and educational programs like the Day in the Life of the Hudson River and supports expanded access to the Hudson River by funding new parks and boat launches.


Clean Water Infrastructure Act (CWIA)

Fund at $600, reject $250 million cut

Since 2017, the CWIA has been funded at $500 million per year to support wastewater and drinking water projects needed to reduce pollution and protect drinking water quality. Water infrastructure across the Hudson Valley and New York State is in disrepair, and under increased stress from climate change. New York needs more funding for this program, not less, to ensure the safety of our drinking water supplies and the health of our waterways.



Support $160 million for this initiative

Announced by Governor Hochul in 2023, the NY SWIMS initiative seeks to increase access to swimming facilities across New York State. The Hudson River has just 4 public swimming beaches, while Long Island boasts over 200. The initiative must explore and support the expansion of new swimming sites along the Hudson River and support the maintenance of existing swimming beaches.

New York State Parks Capital Funding

Restore to $250 million, and infuse $100 million

Robust funding is needed for parks across New York State. The COVID pandemic brought a great influx of appreciation for and use of parks, which remains high four years later. Funding for parks is desperately needed to address climate change impacts, needed maintenance, expand accessibility, and fund programming. Funding for NYS Parks must be maintained at a $250 million level in addition to the one-time additional $100 million.


Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act Implementation

In November 2022, voters across New York State approved the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act creating $4.20 billion in bonds for projects related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation. The bond act was created to supplement, and not replace funding for other programs. It’s critical to the spirit of the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act which was overwhelmingly approved by voters to ensure robust environmental funding on top of the bond act funding.

Thank you to our partners at Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper for organizing – it was a wonderful day to gather with fellow advocates and advocate for funding to support the long-term health of the Hudson River and its communities.