The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation is a 501(c) (3) not for profit organization that operates the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program. The primary mission of the Riverhead Foundation is to preserve and protect our marine environment through education, rehabilitation, and research.
The Riverhead Foundation is located within the Atlantis Marine World aquarium, which is one of the primary supporters of the Riverhead Foundation's mission.
The Riverhead Foundation is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of seals, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Some of these species are critically endangered and may become extinct in our lifetime. All are protected under New York State, Federal and in some cases, International Law. The Riverhead Foundation is the only organization authorized by New York State to carry on this important work in conserving the marine environment. The Riverhead Foundation’s Rescue Hotline is a 24-hour phone line the public may call when they discover an animal in need of our care.
The Riverhead Foundation’s educational efforts are dedicated to informing the public about our marine environment and how they can aid in its preservation. The Riverhead Foundation engages in tours of the facility, lectures, seal cruises, ecology walks, and beach cleanups to foster good stewardship of the environment.
In addition to rehabilitation and education, the Riverhead Foundation engages in research. We are currently conducting an extensive marine mammal and sea turtle abundance study throughout the coastal waters of New York State. The study encompasses aerial, shipboard, and land-based surveys. The goal of this project is to establish baseline populations for several species of marine mammals and sea turtles. Baseline population data can then be used by agencies such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Riverhead Foundation as a basis for regulatory decisions regarding management parameters, stranding and rehabilitation efforts, and public conservation and education. The Riverhead Foundation received funding from NOAA Fisheries Right Whale Research Grants as part of a program to survey new York waters in search of North Atlantic Right Whales.
Since the Riverhead Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, we rely on the public for donations to help us progress in our mission of animal care, research, and education. Donations can take the form of corporate/private sponsorships and animal ‘adoptions.’ We further rely on the public for our dedicated force of volunteers. Volunteers are involved in every aspect of our operation - from Exhibit Interpreters, to outreach programs such as seal cruises and fairs, to Rescue Team members (who are directly involved in animal care). Please consider joining our family as we proceed into the future of marine conservation in New York.