Riparian Demonstration Park on the Saw Mill River

This watershed project is led by the nonprofit Groundwork Hudson Valley (GWHV) and focuses on restoring two key tributaries to the Hudson River in New York and New Jersey. GWHV has been a dynamic force for environmental change in the Hudson Valley for more than twenty years. Its many accomplishments include a 10-year campaign to “daylight” the Saw Mill River in downtown Yonkers through a series of ecologically-designed river parks; the Science Barge, a one-of-kind environmental center and urban farm on the Hudson; and the Green Team, a conservation corps for underserved youth that combines ambitious local projects with inspirational fieldwork at wildlife refuges and national parks, including Yellowstone.

In recent years, GWHV has been working to restore high-priority sites along two tributaries of the Hudson: The Saw Mill River in Westchester County, NY, and the Wallkill River in Sussex County, NJ. Key collaborators in this effort include the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in NJ, Westchester County, New York’s Hudson River Estuary Program, and the Saw Mill River Coalition, an alliance created and managed by GWHV. Sponsorship is being sought in this posting for our collective work on both tributaries, but primarily to address a 10-acre wetland along the Saw Mill River that is being transformed into a green infrastructure park. Studies by the Army Corps, New York State, and the Coalition have identified this wetland as crucial for habitat and stormwater management in the watershed. Work to restore the site is being led by the Green Team in partnership with ecologists and biologists from USFWS. Another youth crew from an alternative-to-detention program of the Yonkers Police Department is involved too, as are members of the County Legislature, and volunteers from other Coalition initiatives.

To develop the site, thousands of native trees and shrubs are being planted, maintained, and managed to reduce the volume of water entering the stream in this flood plain, which will also expand habitat for locally-significant fish and wildlife species. In addition,  the volume and velocity of water entering the “daylighting” parks in downtown Yonkers, which is a few miles downstream and located in a State-designated environmental justice area, will be moderated as well.  At the same time, the project will appreciably strengthen the conservation skills of 75-100 youth from underserved neighborhoods and educate thousands of people across the region in green infrastructure practices.

Click the link to learn more about the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge’s partnership with Groundwork USA to develop more greenspace and introduce more urban youth to refuge.

* Project utilizes best management practices to filter and/or reduce pollution inputs into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands or near-shore marine areas


Hudson River Valley Region, New York and New Jersey

Start Up Date:


Project Benefits:

Community Engagement & Education

Enhancing Recreation & Economic Benefits

Environmental Flow Restoration & Protection

Green Infrastructure Investment

Water Quality Improvement

Wildlife & Habitat Protection

Project Type:

Pollution Reduction and Filtration *


Funding Needed

Volunteer Opportunities