To most of the world, the tri-state region is largely known for its vibrant downtowns, diverse communities, and iconic buildings. But it also features spectacular natural landscapes such as the Hudson Highlands and the Jersey Shore, and hundreds of thousands of acres of underappreciated forests, farmland, and waterways that protect and sustain the region’s communities.
A changing climate is adding greater urgency and different strategic direction to the cause of sustainability and management of natural resources. Unprotected open space should be preserved as it absorbs carbon dioxide and heat, supports diverse habitats, helps species to migrate, and is a source of clean water and food. Connecting these open spaces with a system of trails would maximize their value for both climate adaptation and recreation. Infrastructure should be made more resilient to help communities respond to storms, flooding, drought, and heat, while water sources and supply systems should be protected from multiple risks.
By using and maintaining these natural resources in a more strategic way, we would be able to enhance the symbiotic relationship between the environment and growing communities.