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Assessing the environment of New York and New Jersey ports

An in-depth assessment of environmental conditions at six port sites received a commendation from the Port Commerce Department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


In support of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Harbor Navigation Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey needed to characterize existing environmental conditions at the upland portion of six port sites in New York and New Jersey:

  • Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal
  • Port Jersey/MOTBY
  • Howland Hook Marine Terminal
  • Stapleton
  • South Brooklyn Marine Terminal,
  • Brooklyn: Red Hook Terminal


The Authority retained Mott MacDonald to conduct the assessment. In Phase 1, we identified, assembled, and performed a preliminary review of relevant environmental studies and reports associated with the identified project sites. The documents were those deemed to be of use in describing environmental conditions required as part of the overall assessment of the harbor area.

A summary document was prepared which included a listing of the collected documents and a preliminary assessment of their relevance and usefulness with regard to the ongoing Harbor Navigation Study.

In Phase II, we continued data collection and assessment and prepared a Baseline Environmental Conditions Report documenting existing upland conditions of the individual port sites and the New York Bay region. The report also included an annotated bibliography and identified “data gaps” with regard to the adequacy of existing information to describe existing conditions.

We synthesized the body of information generated as part of this project and also provided the information in tabular form along with estimated time frames and costs to fulfill identified data gaps.

Based on the work performed in the preparatory phases of the harbor assessment, the Port Authority retained us to continue to provide environmental assessment services at five of the six upland port sites Due to technical issues, one of the original port sites was dropped from further consideration. Additional data collection and interpretive tasks were performed and summarized in a report supporting the September 1999 NY and NJ Harbor Navigation Study NEPA EIS.


Mott MacDonald identified impacts including cumulative impacts based upon increased productivity and economic activity at each port site and the overall region. We received a commendation from the Port Authority’s Port Commerce Department for the quality of work product, availability of personnel, and completing the project within the necessary time frame.

We continue to work on this project through the performance of air quality evaluation and analysis. Baseline emissions are being studied to evaluate methods to decrease emissions in the harbor.

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