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Riverside Park in East Newark, New Jersey Will Help Restore for a Legacy of Pollution

An urban waterway.
Graphic showing proposed development of the East Newark Riverfront Natural Resource Restoration Project. Image credit: BASF.

AUG. 8, 2022 — On July 29, 2022, an interim crediting and settlement agreement was finalized that will allow for the construction of a new 5-acre riverside park on the Passaic River in East Newark, New Jersey, that will create much-needed green space in a historically underserved community.

The crediting agreement is the culmination of collaborative negotiations among the federal trustees (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA), the Department of Justice, and the BASF Corporation (BASF). This park is an example of how both government and corporations can work together to make restoration happen.

The federal trustees worked with BASF to develop basic conceptual designs for the park, focusing on the creation of environmental habitat, recreational space and public access to the river. The East Newark Riverside Park will be constructed by BASF and is expected to open in two years. Once the park is complete and all requirements of the crediting agreement have been met, BASF will be eligible for credit that would offset a portion of their alleged liability for past pollution.   

This park will create much-needed green space and outdoor recreational opportunities for underserved communities long impacted by pollution and environmental injustice. Walking paths and an elevated walkway along the Passaic will allow for safe public access to the river, while new forested areas, pollinator gardens and related eco-based improvements will provide vital habitat for birds and pollinators.  

This 5-acre park marks one small step towards reaching President Biden’s America the Beautiful goals, which calls on Amerians to join together to conserve at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 through inclusive and locally led efforts. The park also supports environmental justice goals by providing benefits to underserved communities impacted by past pollution. These ideals are echoed in the Federal Waters Urban Partnership which facilitates federal agency engagement with locally driven community groups on environmental efforts on the Lower Passaic. By working cooperatively with industry to reach proactive settlements, early restoration projects like this can help communities and ecosystems recover faster. 

Urban waterways—even those undergoing cleanup—support ecosystems, wildlife, and create opportunities for people to recreate and spend time in nature. The new riverside park will create new greenspace in an industrial landscape, benefiting communities and ecosystems in both East Newark, as well as nearby watersheds. 

Over the last 30 years, NOAA has helped recover over $10.7 billion to restore marine resources where pollution happens, often in urban, indigenous, and historically underserved areas. Learn more about this work by state in our interactive ArcGIS Story Map

To learn more about the East Newark Riverside Park please visit:

Last updated Wednesday, April 24, 2024 9:50am PDT