NY/NJ Baykeeper was founded in 1989 by Andrew Willner, who had previously started a small boat building and repair yard on Staten Island. Willner’s daughter, who was 10 years old, visited the yard and it made Willner angry that she could not go swimming in the waters off Staten Island due to pollution. Willner saw firsthand the devastating effect the Exxon Bayway Oil Spill had on the Arthur Kill.

After Willner found out that there was a Riverkeeper on the Hudson River, a Soundkeeper in Long Island, and Baykeepers in Delaware and San Francisco. he began communicating with them and they helped him launch the Baykeeper program in the summer of 1989. Willner worked with NY/NJ Baykeeper for twenty years, until April 2008.

Today, we serve as the citizen advocate for the harbors, bays, streams, and shores of the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary by preserving and restoring habitat, influencing land use decisions, stopping polluters, championing public access, and educating the public.



Since 1989, NY/NJ Baykeeper has used the power of advocacy and law to stop water pollution and bring polluters into compliance with citizen enforcement. With the help of our supporters, we will continue this work, especially as several of our elected leaders including the President of the United States, fueled by campaign contributions, try to scale back laws safeguarding our water to swim, drink, and fish in.

Since 1989, NY/NJ Baykeeper and its partners have preserved and restored more than three thousand acres of critical habitat in the midst of one of the busiest and most industrialized ports in the world.

NY/NJ Baykeeper has restored more than 3.5 MILLION oysters back to NY-NJ Harbor waters with 200,000 – 500,000 new oysters introduced annually through our oyster restoration program.