Environment

Pinwheel Vista by Nathan McLean

The tri-state area is both densely populated and rich in natural and recreational resources. Our environment plays an essential role in ensuring the health and well-being of the region. RPA’s energy and environmental  programs seek to protect and improve the environment in ways that sustain vibrant, healthy and resilient ecosystems and communities.  

To realize this vision, RPA undertakes research, policy and planning initiatives to ensure critical natural resource protection and abundant recreational opportunities, promote stewardship and resiliency, improve environmental conditions and identify innovative solutions to our most pressing energy and environmental challenges. Our work spans the region’s natural landscapes from the New York-New Jersey Highlands to New York Harbor to the Long Island Sound and beyond, working with policy makers and communities to find the most sustainable, equitable approaches.

In the mid-1990s, RPA led the effort to transform Governors Island from a former Coast Guard base into a public park. RPA also has been a leader in helping to preserve and revitalize large-scale conservation areas such as Gateway National Recreation Area and the drinking water supply for millions of residents beneath the Long Island Pine Barrens and the New Jersey Highlands. We also have successfully campaigned for greenways along the Brooklyn waterfront and Jamaica Bay and developed guidelines for the successful implementation of green infrastructure in our urban centers. We are working with communities in the New Jersey Highlands and Orange County, N.Y. to effectively balance the protection farms, forests and watersheds with smart development.

RPA has taken a leadership role in developing long-term responses to our region’s most pressing issues such as the impact of climate change and the region’s response to Superstorm Sandy. RPA was part of a core team coordinating the region’s first international design competition focused on resiliency in the wake of Sandy. Rebuild by Design, an initiative of President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, worked with communities throughout the region identifying innovative approaches to resiliency with funding to implement select ideas. Our energy and environment team has also been partnering with local governments in places like Mastic Beach, Long Island and Sea Bright, New Jersey to help coastal communities evaluate their options for adapting to projected sea level rise. 

RPA’s energy work is focused on mitigating climate change and preparing our region through forward-thinking resiliency and adaptation measures that can ensure a sustainable future. To learn more about our work in this area, visit www.rpa.org/programs/energy.

Photo: Nathan McLean