New York Harbor: Resilience in the face of four centuries of development
New York Harbor is a large, iconic and complex body of water that has been extensively modified to support the development of a megacity. These modifications have affected the shorelines, water flow, water quality, habitats and living resources of the harbor. Changes in topography and bathymetry have altered the landscapes and seascapes of the region, largely to support an active shipping port and intense human settlement. New York Harbor has been transformed from a region dominated by marshy shorelines, extensive submersed oyster beds and obstructed entrances to the present-day harbor with hardened shorelines, dredged shipping channels and remnant oysters that are unsafe to consume. However, improvements in water quality, largely due to sewage treatment upgrades, combined with the natural flushing ability of the harbor, have served to help restore or improve the ecological resilience of New York Harbor. Social resilience of the region has been tested with both terrorist attacks and the widespread inundation associated with Superstorm Sandy. Both ecological and social resilience will need to be enhanced to sustain the future development of New York Harbor.
Keywords: New York Harbor, New Jersey, Oysters, Restoration, World Harbour Project