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List of Case Studies

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Case Study: Hackensack River

Watershed Education Pays Off for the Hackensack River

Hackensack Riverkeeper's Eco-Programs generate funds by combining river recreation with watershed education. The Eco-Programs, which include Eco-Cruises (narrated naturalist tours aboard the organization's pontoon boats), Eco-Paddles (guided paddling trips and canoe / kayak rentals) and Eco-Walks (guided naturalist hikes), provide the public with an up-close look at the lower Hackensack River and its watershed. Participants are asked to donate between $5 and $25 each, depending on the program and the age and number of people taking part. Group rates are also available.

Photo of people on a riverboat; river-based recreation creates funding opportunities for the Hackensack Riverkeeper's organization.

Eco-Programs are central to Hackensack Riverkeeper's mission to restore river-based recreation on the Hackensack and to educate visitors about the river, the impact of polluted runoff, and ways they can help restore and protect it. "Eco-Program participants are often very surprised to find such a beautiful natural resource in this urban area," explained Captain Bill Sheehan, Riverkeeper and executive director. "They learn about our efforts to protect the river and are motivated to help. Some actively contribute to making the river a nicer place by taking part in our river clean ups. Others recommend our Eco-Programs to their friends. Participation keeps growing every year."

In 2004:

  • More than 3,300 people participated in 208 Eco-Cruises on Riverkeeper's two specially rigged pontoon boats.
  • More than 1,550 people paddled canoes or kayaks either on guided tours or by renting boats for independent exploration. Riverkeeper runs the only boat rental business on the Hackensack River.
  • More than 750 people participated in 48 Eco-Walks.

Photo shows woman in Riverkeeper kayak on the Hackensack River.

This circle of success has generated more and more money for the Hackensack Riverkeeper. Last year, the Eco-Programs provided enough income to fund an entire full-time staff position (approximately $40,000). "Our program more than pays for itself, plus we are able to educate countless people about the river," added Sheehan.

Eco-Programs run from April through November. For more information, visit hackensackriverkeeper.org. Exit EPA Disclaimer

Citation: See Resources, Works Cited #22

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