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Thousands to Toast the Coast Nationwide Sept. 28, 2013

Contact: Gabriela Munoz, P: (212) 637-3793, E: gabriela@harborestuary.org

New York, NY, September 13, 2013- The NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program is asking residents of the NY-NJ Harbor estuary region to join in a nationwide “Toast the Coast” and local photo contest on Sept. 28 in celebration of the 25th annual National Estuaries Day. The Program is part of a network of 28 National Estuary Programs working to improve and restore the nation’s most important estuaries – the vibrant coastal areas where rivers meet the sea.

“The toast is a way for people all around the country to show their appreciation and support for our rivers and bays, by simply raising a glass,” said Robert Nyman, Director of the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program. Even better - help out this September by joining a local shoreline clean-up for International Coastal Cleanup day! There are lots of other ways too that we can all help the estuary, just by being conscious of our actions. See http://harborestuary.org/whatyoucando-hep.htm for a few examples.

The Program invites its supporters to share pictures of their own toasts honoring our natural resources and the waters we share. They will be joined by thousands of individuals and organizations around the country celebrating with toasts and other National Estuaries Day events.

The NY-NJ Harbor Estuary is home to incredible natural diversity and is also one of the most vibrant and populated metropolitan areas in the country and the world, presenting unique opportunities and challenges. Over 300 species of birds breed or make their home in our estuary; striped bass, river herring, and other fish travel up our tributaries to spawn; and salt marsh grasses line many of our shores, providing habitat to many fish, crabs, and other creatures. As residents, we use the estuary for fishing, boating, swimming, bird watching, transportation, and many other activities that bolster our quality of life and economy.

Nationwide, approximately 110 million people, or more than half of all Americans, live near an estuary and enjoy the many benefits estuaries provide. These benefits include jobs in industries like agriculture, commercial fishing, power generation, tourism, shipping, and even brewing and winemaking. According to the nonprofit Restore America’s Estuaries, coastal counties provide more than half the nation’s gross domestic product and support more than 69 million jobs, or about 40% of U.S. employment.

The purpose of National Estuaries Day, first observed in 1988, is to promote the importance of coastal environments where rivers meet the sea. National Estuaries Day is supported by the Association of National Estuary Programs, Restore America’s Estuaries, the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and countless other organizations, associations, and agencies. The Association of National Estuary Programs (ANEP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible stewardship and a common vision for the preservation and restoration of our nation's bays and estuaries. ANEP works with the 28 National Estuary Programs established by Congress to protect and restore tidal waterways of national significance.

For more information about Toast the Coast or National Estuaries Day, please call the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program at 212-637-3816 or visit www.harborestuary.org.

The New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program is a partnership of diverse stakeholders. Its mission is to protect and restore healthy waterways and productive habitats, manage sediments, foster community stewardship, educate the public, and improve safe access to our waterways.


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