« February 2016 »
News & Announcements
February 04, 2016
Now Hiring, Recreational Staff
CANOE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
The Bronx River Alliance is seeking to hire a seasonal, full-time Canoe program coordinator to organize and lead canoe trips along the Bronx River during the recreational season of April to November. As a part of the public education initiatives along the River, the Alliance offers adult and youth canoe tours to help people get to know the river and discover its natural wonders. The Alliance is looking for a motivated self-starter who will be comfortable organizing all the necessary logistics for each on-water trip and be comfortable leading on water trips, including safety and tour presentations. The Alliance will help the coordinator obtain canoe training and certification. This position reports to the Education Coordinator.
RECREATION PROGRAM ASSISTANT
The Bronx River Alliance is seeking to hire a part-time seasonal Recreation Program Assistant to aid in leading recreational programs along the river as part of the public education initiatives along the river. The Alliance is looking for a motivated self-starter who will be comfortable helping run programs, executing logistics, and leading all trips, including providing safety and educational presentations. This position reports to the Education Coordinator.
For more information and how to apply, visit HERE.
February 03, 2016
Bronx River Assembly 2016
More than 100 people attended the Alliance's Winter Assembly on February 2 at The Point CDC. The theme of the night was public art with a river theme, and we showcased some recent installations and performances that were inspired by our beloved river. Check out a map of Bronx River public art - and go check them out!
The program, introduced by stalwart volunteer Mike Gupta, included presentations from Rocking the Boat on water quality monitoring and Mary Mattingly on the "Swale Floating Forest". We also got caught up on upcoming river events, including the 2016 Fish Parade, Amazing Bronx River Flotilla, and the Soundview Park Art & Music Festival. Attendees enjoyed food, drinks and good conversations. Many thanks to all presenters and to the entire family at The POINT for hosting such a wonderful event.
Also, a special thank you to The Wine Cellarage for the lovely donation and our old friends who always provide oysters for our Assembly Down East Seafood and of course our long-term friends at Bascom Catering for always working with us.
December 21, 2015
Congress passes Microbead Ban!
If you've been following the news about microbeads, last Friday marked an historic agreement. The Senate unanimously passed The Microbead Free Waters Act (H.R. 1321); the House had already passed the bill, meaning with President Obama's signature, the manufacturing of microbeads must cease by July 1, 2017, and the sale of beauty products containing plastic microbeads by July 1, 2018. Great news for all our aquatic friends!
Still unsure about what microbeads are or how they affect our environment, check out our previous news post from September 3rd!
November 23, 2015
|Access for Eels and Alewife
In July, the Alliance and NYC Parks Natural Resources Group completed an eel pass at River Park, which will allow migrating American eels to bypass the dam at 182nd street, and will also allow scientists to monitor the eel population. The eel pass is located beside the fish pass that also began operation in 2015, making it possible for Alewife herring to travel to upstream breeding grounds.
Read more about the eel passage here.
Closing a Major Gap in the Greenway
$10 million was awarded for the Bronx River Greenway: Bridge the Critical South Bronx Gap project funded by the US Department of Transportation's highly competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program. The Alliance worked with NYC Parks to apply for this grant which, combined with other public matching funds, will allow the Parks department to build bridges and trails connecting Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park, and give new access to the greenway for neighborhoods currently blocked by Amtrak rail lines.
• DNAInfo: $10M to be Spent Increasing Access to Bronx River
. By Eddie Small. November 2, 2015
• Streetsblog: Bronx River Greenway Gets a $10 Million Boost From TIGER
. By David Meyer. October 28, 2015.
Congressman José E. Serrano's press release
NY Senator Charles E. Schumer's press release
Watch those Bioswales!
The grasses and flowers in the new street-side bioswales - green infrastructure features that help reduce storm water runoff - along Story Ave in Soundview came to life in the spring of 2015, and the interest of local youth also flourished. Ten students from Arena High School participated in our Bioswale Watch program. For six weeks, the students braved the elements to check in on their local bioswales, noting debris, litter, and any weeds or dying plants and reporting any problems to 311. Students also used this opportunity to connect with the community and educate passersby on how these bioswales help improve water quality in the Bronx River.
What's that in the water?
This summer, the Alliance led a water quality monitoring program focused on the river's most significant pollutant: fecal bacteria. With funding from EPA and support from Rocking the Boat, we collected and analyzed 65 samples from the Westchester County line to the mouth of the river. The results have been uploaded to www.bronxriverwater.org, where they can be compared to previous year's data.
Trees in the Classroom ... and along the river!
Hundreds of students from Bronx Community Charter School and Shomburg Satelite Academy adopted seedings in their classroom and explored and studied riverine forests along the Bronx River. In the autumn, the students planted their trees, which joined over 1,000 trees and 5,000 shrubs and other herbaceous plants planted along the river this year by the Conservation Crew.
October 30, 2015
Study documents adult American eel migration on their 1000+ mile journey!
A new study was published documenting the migration of adult American eels (Anguilla rostrata) on their 1000-mile journey from North American freshwater rivers, like the Bronx River, to their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic. Eels are catadromous, meaning they spawn in salt water and live the majority of their lives in freshwater. While it has been understood for over a century that eel larvae begin their lives in the Sargasso, this study is the first to document the movements of adults back out to their spawning areas. Scientists used satellite-tracking tags to document the journey, demonstrating that the eels first travel along the continental shelf and then out to the deeper ocean. Studies like this help identify migration routes and environmental cues so that we may better understand the lifecycle of this important aquatic species.
Way to go, eel #28!
October 27, 2015
$10M on Federal DOT funding to complete the final link along the Bronx River Greenway
The Bronx River Alliance is pleased to announce a $10 million award for the Bronx River Greenway: Bridge the Critical South Bronx Gap project funded by the US Department of Transportation's highly competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program.
NYC Parks, in collaboration with he Bronx River Alliance, submitted the succesfull proposal that will close the Greenway's most critical gap, a three-quarter mile segment that requires the construction of two bicycle/pedestrian bridges and will complete 1.8 miles of contiguous off-street trail from the southern end of Concrete Plant Park to the northern end of Starlight Park, and eventually will connect to the full Bronx River Greenway system. To read more about the project, click here.
This award will be matched by funding from Mayor de Blasio, NYSDOT, NFWF/DOI Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant program, and funding allocated by NY State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. We express our gratitude to federal, state and local elected officials and NYC Parks for supporting the Bronx River Greenway: Bridge the Critical South Bronx Gap project, as well as the Altman Foundation for its long-standing support of the Bronx River Alliance's Greenway Program.
• DNAInfo: $10M to be Spent Increasing Access to Bronx River. By Eddie Small. November 2, 2015
• Streetsblog: Bronx River Greenway Gets a $10 Million Boost From TIGER. By David Meyer. October 28, 2015.
Congressman José E. Serrano's press release
NY Senator Charles E. Schumer's press release
October 15, 2015
Update: Con Edison Oil Spill
Following the September 9th oil spill on the river, there have been significant clean-up efforts to contain and remove all excess dialectric fluid. Of the original 2000-gallon discharge, reports from the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) indicate approximately 10% (~200-500 gals) made it to the river through a storm drain. Con Ed will provide a better estimate in their final report. Additionally, approximately 200 tons of soil were removed from the initial contamination area.
On September 17th Con Ed and their contractors flushed the storm drain, removing any remaining amount of leaked oil as well as historic oil and other contaminants from the soil. The DEC feels confident that all spilled pollutants have been contained and no wildlife was harmed in the process.
If in the future you see evidence of any spills, illegal dumping, or wildlife in danger, call 311; if you witness someone in the process of dumping, please report that information directly to the NYPD. If it is during a normal work day, any reports also should be forwarded to us directly with locations and (preferably) photos.
October 08, 2015
American eels will not be added to endangered species list
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that American eels will not be protected under the Endangered Species Act, following a multiyear federal review. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, responsible for stock assessment and regulating eel harvest found the current eel population to be “stable but depleted.” To read more, click here.
September 11, 2015
Breaking news: Oil spill on the Bronx River
On Wednesday evening, a Con Edison cable pipe carrying dielectric fluid and insulating oil broke, releasing approximately 2,200 gallons of contaminants in Yonkers and flowing into the Bronx River through an outfall pipe. Protective booms and clean-up crews have been deployed, including skimmers, absorbent booms, absorbent pads, and vacuum trucks. Once this oil has stopped flowing into the river from the outfall, the pipe will be flushed to absorb all additional oil. If you see any of these structures, please do not remove; if you notice they are not holding all the contaminants, please document with photos or videos and send to our Ecology Director, Michelle Luebke, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-State Bird rescue has been called upon to survey the Bronx River up to the NY Botanical Garden and found no impacted birds as of Friday, September 11, 2015. They will continue to survey the river between the site of contamination and the NY Botanical Garden. Our Conservation Crew has been monitoring any potentially affected wildlife as well. If you see any birds or other animals near the river that appear to have oil on them or are acting abnormally, please report this to Michelle as well.
September 03, 2015
Microbeads cause Macro Problems!
Sure, exfoliation can be great for your skin, but if your toothpaste or body wash is one of the 1000s of products on the market with microbeads, you’re washing tiny plastic particles down the drain with every use. Across the state, that amounts to 19 tons of plastic trash each year released into our waterways, according to a report released by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in April 2015.
And these tiny plastic beads, about the same size as fish eggs, can be confused for food to organisms living in our rivers and oceans. Over time, these indigestible pieces can build up in organisms’ stomachs and prevent them from getting essential nutrients; the plastic also absorbs toxins present in the water, slowly poisoning the organisms as well.
There is something we can all do, though! Get informed! First, make sure that your favorite household beauty products are not one of the many that contain microbeads by checking the label or Beat the Microbead. If you want to get more involved, write your New York legislators to aid in their current campaign to ban plastic microbeads from household products. Spread the word!
September 01, 2015
International Coastal Cleanup Day
International Coastal Cleanup Day, which will be held on September 19, 2015 at Soundview Park from 9am to 12pm, is an opportunity to help clean the Bronx River that reaches far beyond our local river banks. One of the event’s sponsors, the Long Island Sound Study, makes the connection between what goes into our river and its impact on the Sound.
Long Island Sound is an “Urban Sea.” The coastal counties in CT and NY bordering LIS have the second highest population density in the northeast, second only to those bordering NY/NJ Harbor (into which the Bronx River also feeds, incidentally). Long Island Sound is an estuary, which is “where the rivers meet the sea”. The fresh water and saltwater mix and sort of slosh back and forth with the tide, between the lower reaches of the river and the ocean. So what goes into either the Bronx River or the Long Island Sound, also goes into the other.
Long Island Sound Study (LISS) supports cleanup efforts like the International Coastal Cleanup Day because they allow local volunteers to come together to care for the water, and to build commitment for reducing the pollution that finds its way into the river every day.
LISS’s vision for the Sound is of waters that are clean, clear, safe to swim in, and charged with life. It is a vision of waters nourished and protected by extensive coastal wetlands, by publicly accessible, litter-free beaches and preserves, and undeveloped islands. It is a vision of abundant and diverse wildlife, of flourishing commercial fisheries, of harbors accessible to the boating public, and of a regional consciousness and a way of life that protects and sustains the ecosystem.
We in the Bronx are down with that.
For more information about the International Coastal Cleanup Day contact Joseph Sanchez at Joseph.Sanchez@parks.nyc.gov
August 31, 2015
Students Monitor Green Infrastructure in Bioswale Watch Program
Not only did the grasses and flowers in the new street bioswales along Story Ave come to life in the spring of 2015, the interest of local youth in these green infrastructure features and their relationship to the river also flourished.
Ten students from Arena High School in Soundview participated with the Bronx River Alliance in our Bioswale Watch program. For six weeks, students braved the elements to check in on their local bioswales, noting debris, litter, and any weeds or dying plants and reporting any problems to 311. Students also used this opportunity to connect with the community and educate passersby on how these bioswales help improve water quality in the Bronx River by reducing the number of combined sewer overflows. One student even posted creative signs to encourage persons to keep the bioswales free of litter and to report any neglect to 311. Students from the school will continue watching and caring for local bioswales into the 2016 school year.
|A healthy bioswale in Soundview. Dozens of these were installed in 2014 to improve water quality in the Bronx River by reducing combined sewer overflows. They also reduce flooding and beautify the neighborhood!
||A student-created sign encouraging neighbors to take care of new bioswales
August 28, 2015
Waterfront Amphitheater Opens in Soundview Park!
The Soundview community is celebrating and welcoming the fall season with a new amphitheater in Soundview Park! The natural amphitheater features a performance lawn built in line with Rosedale Avenue, alongside a new park entrance with incredible views of the waterfront. Families enjoyed a free screening of "Yogi Bear" during its opening night and are looking forward to more community and cultural events in this new lovely space.
Check out the NYC Parks announcement here!
August 01, 2015
Eel pass completed on the Bronx River!
In July, the Alliance and NYC Parks & Recreation Natural Resources Group completed an eel pass at River Park, which joins the recently-completed fish passage at the lowermost dam on the river.
These two facilities enable migratory fish--including Alewife herring and American eel--to access habitat that is essential for their life cycles. These types of passes are critical for species like alewife and eels which have both experienced drastic declines in populations over recent years. Alewife are listed as a "species of concern" by NOAA, and the American eel is currently being considered for listing as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Many thanks to the NOAA-WCS Lower Bronx River Partnership and Congressman José E. Serrano for funding these important projects!
July 28, 2015
"Canoe through the Bronx" says the Washington Post
Our canoes startled a great blue heron standing along the bank of the river. Awkwardly, the giant bird flapped its wings, struggling to gain height, until it reached cruising altitude and majestically soared over the treetops and out of view. An awesome sight — all the more so because it was in the Bronx. ...
“The best part is I get to educate people about a place near their home that they never knew. They get a sense of ownership, and the river gets another parent. So I know that the river is loved,” Alex said.
The river got 20 new parents that day.
Read the full article.
July 14, 2015
NYC releases its Long-term Control Plan for the Bronx River
After about 6 months of community hearings and review, DEP released its Bronx River Long Term Control Plan in late June.
Coverage of the plan was provided by City Limits, "City Proposes Nine-Figure Plan to Fight Bronx River Pollution." July 14, 2015. By Jarrett Murphy.
The city's only freshwater river would receive $111 million of work to reduce the impact of sewage overflows and could be designated for more intense recreational use under a plan prepared by the Department of Environmental Protection.
The agency selected the fourth most expensive plan, priced at $111 million. This will involve building pipes to take water that would have been released at two upstream CSO outfall pipes and send it to a different outfall that empties into the East River, where any contaminants are more likely to be diluted.
Read the whole article here.
WNYC and City Limits teamed up on an excellent primer on NYC's water system this year. Check out the complete series, which includes coverage of the long term control plans, including "Why You Shouldn't Flush Your Toilet During a Rain Storm," here.
Click here to read the Bronx River Alliance's comments on DEP's draft of the Long-term Control Plan.
July 06, 2015
Farewell to Robin, Welcome Michelle!
Following 6 years of service to the Bronx River as our Ecology Director, Robin Kriesberg left our staff on June 30 to move to Connecticut. Robin wrote, "together we have accomplished a lot but there is always so much more to be done. I have learned so much during my time at the Alliance, thanks in part to your incredible professionalism, knowledge and expertise. I greatly appreciate the opportunity I have had to contribute in some way to improving the Bronx River for people and wildlife. I know you will all continue with your efforts to give the community what it deserves, a clean and healthy river system." Robin, thank you for your contributions to the river over the past 6 years. We will miss you!
On July 6, Michelle Luebke joined our Team as our Ecology Director. Michelle has over ten years of experience leading adults and school groups through creeks and natural areas, managing ecological monitoring programs, and teaching about environmental science and sustainability. She holds advanced degrees from the University of Georgia in Geography (emphasis in fluvial geomorphology) and Conservation Ecology & Sustainable Development and from New York University in Environmental Conservation Education. In her spare time, Michelle serves as an advisory boa
rd member of the Jersey City Environmental Commission and Green Infrastructure Workgroup. Welcome aboard, Michelle! She can be reached at email@example.com
June 15, 2015
Bronx River Alliance Comments on the Long Term Control Plan
Together, we have made remarkable progress in reclaiming the Bronx River for recreation, education, and enjoyment. The Bronx River LTCP represents a significant opportunity to safeguard and build on our achievements by addressing a major source of pollution in the river: combined sewer overflows.
Most fundamentally, the Bronx River LTCP must reduce the volume of combined sewage into the river to greatest reasonable extent. This is essential to safeguarding the health of the people and wildlife who use the river.
Nutrient Load and Dissolved Oxygen
• Minimize sewage discharge volume to reduce nutrient levels that lower available dissolved oxygen and threaten wildlife.
If chlorination is selected as an option to reduce bacteria levels in the river, we urge DEP to:
• Reduce volume treated as much as possible to realize co-benefits such as reduced nutrient levels discussed above.
• Ensure that the residual discharge of chlorine in the river is zero. Install de-chlorination facilities, if necessary.
• Perform daily water quality monitoring when disinfection is in use.
• Conduct ecological surveys to track long-term effects of chlorination.
In order to minimize the volume of sewage in the river, DEP should expand green infrastructure (GI) in the watershed by:
• Embracing GI options beyond street bioswales to include green roofs, pervious pavers, etc.
• Explore new options to incentivize GI, such as rain barrels and green roofs, on private property.
For more detail, read the full text of the Bronx River Alliance’s comments click here!
June 09, 2015
Region-wide Fish Die-offs Spark Concerns about Excess Nutrients in Waterways
Widespread reports of fish and turtle die-offs around the region may be linked to increased nitrogen in our waterways this spring. In the Bronx River, we have been seeing an increased number of dead bunker fish and turtles, which has raised our concerns. Combined sewer overflows may be contributing excess nitrogen into the river, releasing untreated sewage during heavy rains when the wastewater treatment plants become overwhelmed. Runoff from local streets and excess fertilizer adds to the problem, resulting in algal blooms that deplete oxygen in the water. Although algal blooms can occur naturally in spring, they are made worse by excess nitrogen loading.
While there is not much we can do in the short run, we can all help by conserving water, reducing fertilizer use, and supporting a strong Long Term Control Plan for controlling combined sewer overflows into the Bronx River.
June 01, 2015
Dead fish seen in Bronx River
Photo credit: Damian Griffin
Some of you may have noticed a large number of dead fish in the Bronx River this spring. While seeing dead fish floating on the river or decomposing on the shore is not a pretty sight, it is generally not cause for alarm. Bunker fish, also known as menhaden, have recently been seen washing ashore around the region. During the spring, these fish are chased by predators such as bluefish and striped bass. When too many fish are confined in a small shallow area, they can deplete the oxygen supply and die from suffocation.
Although the sight of dead bunker is not unusual, the discovery of dead turtles around the river is an added concern this year. We are monitoring conditions and following the situation closely with our partners. to see if there is a link to fish die-offs being reported around the region.
The Bronx River Alliance will continue our water quality monitoring program to identify problems on the river. More information about water quality in the river is available at www.bronxriverwater.org.
May 13, 2015
Bronx River Long Term Control Plan Alternatives Presentation
A series of alternatives were presented for reducing combined sewer overflows to the Bronx River at last week's Long Term Control Plan meeting hosted by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Their presentation, available here, provides background information on conditions in the river and outlines 6 possible approaches to reducing combined sewer overflows in the lower Bronx River.
What were key points presented by DEP at the second meeting on the Long Term Control Plan for the Bronx River?
DEP has developed a series of six options for reducing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the Bronx River. They range in cost and in effectiveness, and some include disinfection of the CSO through chlorination.
How will DEP insure that nothing harmful is being released into the river?
We recommend that DEP Include daily monitoring using grab samples at all outfalls when disinfection is actively in use. We also want to have baseline ecological surveys conducted in each area being treated at disinfection outfall to track any long-term effects of chlorination.
To address concerns regarding alternatives employing disinfection, DEP has indicated that a study will be conducted on the management of discharges resulting from this type of treatment, with the results to be available in two years. We look forward to seeing the results of this study that will determine how well the discharges can be controlled and whether de-chlorination will be required to prevent chlorine from entering the water.
What else can be done to protect water quality in the river?
A watershed approach should be promoted to realize greater water quality improvements. To complement the CSO reduction activities included in the Long Term Control Plan for the Bronx River, expanding green infrastructure into upstream areas will provide water quality benefits.
How can the public help?
DEP welcomes input from the public as part of the Long Term Control Plan process. Let them know that you care about the river and its wildlife, and that you want DEP to fully study and monitor any treatments for the possible impacts they may present.
We can all help by conserving water, which will help reduce inputs into the combined sewer system.
The Bronx River Alliance is evaluating these alternatives and developing comments to submit to DEP regarding the plan. The public is welcome to comment as well. Submit your ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org..
May 11, 2015
Fish Passage is now complete on the Bronx River!
On April 10, the Bronx River Alliance was thrilled to celebrate the opening of the first fish passage on the Bronx River, a project led by NYC Parks' Natural Resources Group.
The Fish Passage will help to establish a sustainable river herring population on the Bronx River, attract and provide more food for native wildlife, contribute to regional efforts to protect river herring by expanding access to habitat, and maximize the ecological health and value of the Bronx River. This fish passage is a part of on-going efforts to improve the Bronx River and restore NYC’s coastal ecosystem.
Check out other news articles about the Fish Passage:
May 08, 2015
Bronx River Alliance Takes the Silver!
On April 30, the Bronx River Alliance had the pleasure of receiving the 2015 Community Partners Leadership Silver Award, with a $10,000 prize, from the Harvard Business School Club of New York. The citation from the Community Partners notes:
"For the past 14 years Bronx River Alliance has focused on the idea that the process is at least as important as the outcome, involving the community in all of their work. The organization demonstrates best practices in building partnerships with NYC Parks Department as well as several organizations which focus on jobs training."
April 30, 2015
Chance to win Yankee's Tickets (Behind Home Plate!) with a Donation to the Bronx River Flotilla
We are only two days away from the Amazing Bronx River Flotilla
. The weather looks great, and it's indeed going to be an amazing day!
To give us an extra boost to meet our goal to raise critical funds to bring out over 1,000 Bronx youth and their families on the river in 2015, Bank of America donated two field level Yankee's tickets. Every $25 donor that you receive up until 4pm tomorrow (Friday, May 1) will have their name entered in a raffle to win these fantastic Yankee tickets. So if you donate $100, your name will be entered 4 times in the raffle. Donate today
These are tickets behind home plate
and come with the addition perk of including access to the field level MVP club. You really can't come by these tickets every day - they are valued at ~$250 each or ~$500 for two tickets!!
Thank you to Bank of America
, the NY Yankees
, and YOU
for supporting our mission to reclaim the Bronx River as a resource for the communities through which it flows.
April 28, 2015
Long Term Control Plan Public Meeting on May 7th
Please plan to attend this critical meeting on the future of the Bronx River! The NYC Department of Environmental Protection will present options for addressing combined sewer overflows and improving water quality in the Bronx River. Public input is needed to insure that the plan adequately protects the river and the health of those who enjoy it as well as the ecological services it provides.
The meeting will be held on May 7th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, 928 Simpson Street, 6th Floor, Bronx NY. Additional information is available at DEP's website.
April 15, 2015
Paddle and Pick-ups on the Bronx River
Removing floatable debris is one of our biggest tasks in maintaining the river
as a National Water Trail
and healthy ecosystem. Plastic bottles and bags are
not only ugly to look at, they also threaten wildlife that can get caught in or choke
on them. When this debris washes out into Long Island Sound and then out
to sea, it can form large garbage patches.
We organize "Paddle and Pick-up" canoe trips to bring local volunteers out in boats to help clean up this garbage before it makes a really big mess. On two recent trips, volunteers canoed through the Bronx River Forest, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo, removing floatable trash from the river.
Thank you to the volunteers for supporting the restoration of the river. And, thank you to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Long Island Sound Futures Fund
for supporting this important work!
For more information about how to schedule a paddle and pick-up with us, please send an email here
March 12, 2015
Bronx River Alliance Launches New Report, Citizen Science on the Bronx River
The Bronx River Alliance is pleased to announce the publication of a new report, Citizen Science on the Bronx River: An Analysis of Water Quality Data. This report summarizes over 20 years of water quality data collected by volunteers on the Bronx River and indicates future direction of our Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring program.
We have also developed a companion website, www.bronxriverwater.org, for citizen scientists to upload their data on the river, and be able to query and display data of other users from anywhere in the world.
March 02, 2015
We are hiring!
The Bronx River Alliance is currently hiring exceptional people to join our team, and our mission. For more information about current job listings click here.
February 09, 2015
Media coverage of Bronx River Long Term Control Plan
"Key Public Meeting on City’s Bronx River Pollution Plan," by Jarrett Murphy. City Limits. February 4, 2015.
"How clean should the Bronx River be? What should be done to get it there? Those are the questions that will be raised as New York City's Department of Environmental Protection drafts a "long-term control plan," or LTCP for the waterway."
"I Love the Bronx - River Hearing/Amo el Bronx - Reunión sobre el río," by Nilka Martell. Bronx Free Press. February 4, 2015.
"Despite the return of natural wildlife, the river is still not safe enough to swim in. While fishing is encouraged, it is not advised that you consume your catch due to the water’s quality.
And one of the major problems is the combined sewer outflows (CSO).
When storm water is captured, it mixes with raw sewage, creating too much water for treatment plants to handle. The water, including raw sewage from our toilets and sinks, is then discharged into our waterways through the CSO system."
January 22, 2015
Bronx River Long Term Control Plan Kickoff on February 12
Please join us at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) kickoff meeting about this plan to insure the long term health of the Bronx River.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 12 from 6 ot 8 p.m. at Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, 928 Simpson Street, 6th Floor, Bronx NY.
The DEP presentation will outline the Long Term Contrl Plan process and schedule. A description of the characteristics of the watershed will be provided, and the public is encouraged to provide input on uses of the river. This is your chance to participate in the development of this important plan for protecting the Bronx River for years to come.
Later in the spring, DEP will present the proposed alternatives with related costs and water quality outcomes, resulting in a final plan in June of 2015.
For more inforamtion, go to www.nyc.gov/dep/ltcp
January 05, 2015
The Future of the Bronx River is in Our Hands
In early 2015, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be holding a series of meetings to get public input on the Long Term Control Plan, a joint city-state effort to comply with the Clean Water Act by setting water quality goals for the river. We need your help to make sure that this plan reflects the voices of the local community and their vision for a fishable and swimmable river. Download this printable flyer and share this information with your community!
Stay tuned for detailed information about public meetings on the Bronx River Long Term Control Plan to be held early in 2015.
When there are heavy rains and the sewer system is at full capacity, a diluted mixture of rain water and sewage, known as combined sewage, may overflow into local waterways as a combined sewer overflow (CSO). The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is currently developing CSO Long Term Control Plans (LTCP) that will identify and evaluate alternatives to reduce the impact of CSOs in NYC’s waterbodies and waterway.
At this Annual Citywide Public Meeting, DEP will report on the work performed in 2014 on the individual LTCPs for Alley Creek, Westchester Creek, Hutchinson River, Flushing Creek and the Gowanus Canal and provide a look ahead to the upcoming LTCPs for Bronx River and Coney Island. In addition, DEP will provide an update on its Green Infrastructure program and NYC’s Climate Resiliency Plan.
Join us as we seek your input to improve water quality in the City’s waterbodies.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Please email email@example.com or call (718) 430-4665
For more information on DEP’s CSO program, please visit the LTCP Program website or follow on Facebook
December 15, 2014
In Memory of Annette Williams
We are deeply saddened to share word of the passing of Annette Williams, our beloved board member, Ecology Team Co-Leader and Sustainable South Bronx's deputy director. Annette succumbed to cancer this weekend, with her family at her bedside. As the director of SSBx's BEST program from its beginnings, Annette was a never-failing mentor to so many people who have themselves become heroes of the Bronx River.
Our deepest condolences go out to Annette's family and the many whose lives she touched.
December 03, 2014
Bronx River Fish Reintroduction Featured on CUNY TV
Professor John Waldman of Queens College is featured on CUNY TV, From Solar Power to Biodiesel: CUNY and the Environment. In this piece, Prof. Waldman describes the work has been doing with the Bronx River Alliance to reintroduce migratory fish into the river.
November 26, 2014
Oh what a year! 2014 Highlights
One Fish, Two Fish, Ocean Fish, River Fish!
Just below the surface of the water, some fish lead dramatic lives migrating between the Bronx River and the open waters of the Atlantic. Students from Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School helped us monitor the threatened American eel during their spring migration from the Sargasso Sea to the river. The students installed eel mops, a type of artificial habitat, in the river and periodically checked the number and size of eels in the mops.
We are also making the river more hospitable for migratory fish by installing the first fish ladder in the Bronx River. This is the first in a series of three fish passages being developed on the Bronx River to reconnect migratory fish such as alewife herring to their spawning grounds. We are proud to partner with NYC Parks in reintroducing this species -- absent for hundreds of years -- and look forward to welcoming the spring migration in 2015.
Citizen Science on the River: For over a decade, students, educators and interested residents have monitored water quality as Bronx River Stewards. This program got a boost this summer thanks to a new partnership with EPA and the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program. Together with our partners, we piloted a bacteria monitoring program by citizen scientists and presented those results at an EPA seminar.
Now we are putting the finishing touches on a State of the Bronx River report summarizing over 15 years of historical water quality data. A companion website will enable citizen scientists to upload data directly to the site where they can be displayed and compared. Stay tuned for our launch date!
Learn About Eels and Oysters at the Bronx River. DNAinfo. August 15, 2014.
Oysters Aid Bronx River Cleanup. Wall Street Journal. August 18, 2014
Bronx River House is in Construction!
A new generation of Bronx children and families will be able to touch, experience, and love the Bronx River at Bronx River House, now in construction. With many green features such as solar panels and vine-covered walls, River House will serve as a community education center, boat house and headquarters of the Bronx River Alliance.
Raising Capital Dollars for the River & Greenway.
The Bronx River Alliance is committed to ensuring a continuous greenway with new and improved parks along the river. We made big strides towards this vision in 2014 by securing funds for major capital improvements, which will go to NYC Parks for implementation.
A $4.4 million grant will support shoreline restoration at Starlight Park, and a $2.5 million grant will help improve Shoelace Park in the Bronx River Greenway.
November 06, 2014
Bronx River Greenway Shoelace Link award
The Bronx River Alliance is pleased to announce the $2.5 million award for Bronx River Greenway Shoelace Link project funded by the Federal Highway Administration. With $650,000 in matching funds from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and the New York City Council, the total project budget comes to $3.25 million. This funding is a crucial element in helping us achieve the community vision laid out in the Shoelace Park Master Plan.
This project is one of 68 bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use path transportation projects in New York State recently announced by Governor Cuomo.
We express our gratitude to federal, state and local elected officials and NYC Parks & Recreation for supporting the Bronx River Greenway Shoelace Link project, as well as the Altman Foundation for its long-standing support of the Bronx River Alliance's greenway program.
The Bronx River Greenway Shoelace Link will enhance pedestrian and bicycle circulation for a 1.2-mile link in the Bronx River Greenway, will improve stormwater management from the adjacent roadways to reduce pollution in the Bronx River, and will commemorate the historic route in the Bronx of the Bronx River Parkway, America's first public parkway designed explicitly for automobile use.
For more information, please visit the official press release, the Shoelace Park Master Plan, or the NYDailyNews piece
November 01, 2014
Over 6,000 cyclists joined the 20th Annual Tour de Bronx and rode the Bronx River Greenway!
Over 6,000 cyclists joined the 20th Annual Tour de Bronx and rode the Bronx River Greenway!
On Sunday October 26, 2014, cyclists gathered at the Grand Concourse and 161st St, where they began their cruise across the Bronx, including the Bronx River Greenway.
Along the Bronx River Greenway the excited cyclists entered Starlight Park, at E. 177th St and Devoe Ave. Then they headed south to Concrete Plant Park, where some cyclists even stopped at the park to take a picture with the iconic Concrete Plant Silos. After that, riders entered Soundview Park and rode along the greenway where people enjoyed the waterfront views at the mouth of the Bronx River past newly-restored salt marsh.
The largest free cycling event in the state concluded at the New York Botanical Gardens.
Thank you to the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Transportation Alternatives, and the Bronx Tourism Council for hosting the event, and highlighting the Bronx River Greenway!
And, don't forget to check out the video made by Streetfilms.org titled Riding Greenways of the Tour de Bronx 2014
October 15, 2014
Morgan Powell, 1973 - 2014
The Bronx River Alliance joins in so many expressions of shock and sadness at the passing of Morgan Powell. He loved the outdoors and the Bronx River, and he will be sorely missed by so many. Here he is pictured leading a tree walk along Bronx Park East in 2013, and this New York Daily News article describes other walks along the Bronx River that he gave highlighting African-American history. May we keep alive his contributions to Bronx--and Bronx River--history! A beautiful tribute to his life is available at welcome2thebronx.com.
October 14, 2014
Bronx River House Construction at Starlight Park
Construction of the long anticipated River House at Starlight Park is underway. The official ground breaking ceremony is TENTATIVELY set for October 30. Check here for updates and confirmation.
The building will house a messy classroom for river-related activities, community room and outdoor terrace for indoor-outdoor community activities, as well as space to house boats for canoe trips. It will also be the headquarters of the Bronx River Alliance and some Parks maintenance staff.
(Left; Bronx River House project, image credit: Kiss + Cathcart. Right; Construction site October 1st, 2014)
October 09, 2014
Elaine Feliciano Honored with Alma Achievers Award
On October 9th, 2014 our Conservation Crew Leader Elaine Feliciano was honored by the NYC Parks Latino Society in their thirteenth annual Alma Achievers Awards. The ceremony celebrated NYC Parks employees of Latino heritage who contribute to the vitality of the agency and to the great work that Elaine does in the Bronx River Alliance.
September 25, 2014
New addition in the Bronx River Greenway
The Bronx River Alliance is happy to announce the new addition in the Bronx River Greenway at Soundview Park. The new Greenway path runs nearly parallel to Lafayette Ave. This path connects the newest riverfront pathway and Field House with other trails to the East. The new trail in the 205-acre park will offer cyclists and pedestrians more routes to enjoy the park, and all its different amenities that the park offers, such as the new track & field, baseball fields, a cricket pitch, a soccer field, six basketball courts, six handball courts, among others.
For more information about the Bronx River Greenway, please visit: www.bronxriver.org/greenway
For more information about Sounview Park, please visit: NYC Parks website
September 02, 2014
A Day in the Life of the Bronx River
As the sun rose over the Bronx on Monday, August 18, groups of scientists from several New York organizations waded out into the Bronx River. Each group was looking for something different but all of them were unified to provide a unique perspective on the health of the river. Many of the tests and surveys complied to create "A Day in the Life of the Bronx River" had never been completed in the river while others, like the Bronx River Alliance's bacteria and water quality monitoring survey, have been going on for a period of time. Read the press release for a full list of projects and participants.
This study will provide a point for future scientific studies to be held against. To understand where we are going, we have to know where we have been. The data and samples gathered by the teams will allow citizens and scientist to better understand the Bronx River moving forward.
For example, nearly a hundred Asian Freshwater clams were found a few sample points near Shoelace Park. While their presents shows that clams can live in the river, experts don't know if they have pushed native freshwater clams out or if the native species were wiped out years ago due to pollution. People will now be able to look back to this day and will know how the river has changed.
Maggie Greenfield, Director of Programs & Development, noted that, "This day is really sort of a snapshot of both the wealth of diversity that we have along the Bronx River as well as some of the problems we face."
The Bronx Botanical Gardens discovered several native species of aquatic plants and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries Office caught some large American Eels. You can watch the NYDEC Fisheries office electro-fish for eels and other fish in this video filmed by one of their students. These are only two of the many tests and surveys completed in the Bronx River.
(Left; Asian Freshwater Clams. Right; Team of Scientists Electrofish to Sample Species Population In Bronx River)
The Bronx River Alliance helped to organize this event in order to bring together the many organizations, institutions, and individuals who have been working in and around the Bronx River for years but have never met. These new connections will allow scientists to gather data, share notes, and consult each other to create a clearer picture of the Bronx River than when they worked separately. The Alliance looks forward to fostering future collaborations and conversations between the scientific and Bronx communities working and living along the river.
Monday's "A Day in the Life of the Bronx River" event received media attention on a local and national scale. Here are just a few of those stories:
Oysters Aid Bronx River Cleanup, Mollusks Help Filter Out Pollutants From River, Wall Street Journal article details the efforts of the Alliance & Rocking the Boat to revive the oyster population in the Bronx River. (August 18, 2014)
Note: Those without subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal will not be able to view this link
Scientists Launch Study Of Complex Ecosystems In Bronx River, Linda Cox, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance, reported on some of the findings from Study to CBS (August 18, 2014)
Bronx River Health Checkup Shows Ebbs and Flows, Article contains video report by New York 1 news station. Scientists, environmental advocates and private citizens got their feet wet to find out how healthy the Bronx River is. (August 18, 2014)
Learn About Eels and Oysters at the Bronx River, DNAinfo article announces a day of scientific study on the Bronx
River. (August 15, 2014)
August 29, 2014
Alliance Bikes Saved by Bronx Community Member
Early last week, the Alliance discovered that one of its storage containers had been broken into and four bikes had been removed. The Bronx River Alliance often holds learn-to-ride classes for local children and lends bikes at events throughout the year. The bikes also are used by Alliance staff to visit parks, monitor the Bronx River Greenway, and reach meetings and other events in the Bronx. With the Greenway taking shape, biking is often faster than driving plus it saves gas and keeps our staff active and healthy!
Claudia Ibaven, Greenway Coordinator at the Alliance, filed a report for the missing bicycles but held little hope for finding them.
Luckily, a local community member had its eye out for the Bronx River Alliance. Early this Spring, the Alliance relied on Cycle Depot to fix a few of our bicycles so they would be ready for the 2014 season. Wednesday, the team from Cycle Depot, located at 2028 White Plains Road in the Bronx, spotted some teenagers hanging out in Bronx Park. He noticed that two of the bikes in the group looked like Alliance Bikes. Cycle Depot's team approached the teens and realized that these were the bikes which he had helped fix months before!
Thanks to Cycle Depot, the Bronx River Alliance has recovered three of the four bikes lost. Claudia noted, "It is great to know that people around the neighborhood care about the Alliance and are willing to step up to help us out!"
Many thanks to Cycle Depot!
Thanks Cycle Depot!
August 13, 2014
Podcast Features Bronx River Research & Eco-Restoration Projects
Recently, the New York Academy of Sciences' podcast, Science & the City, reached out to the Alliance looking to do a story about our ecosystem restoration and monitoring projects along the Bronx River. We were excited to take part in this opportunity and are just as excited to share this podcast with you! Check out Science & the City's podast, "Bronx River Alliance: Restoring Nature in the City"!
The podcast features Damian Griffin, local educator and friend of the Bronx River Alliance, checking the 'eel mops' which have been providing a resting place for migrating American Eels in the Bronx River. The Alliance has been recording the number of baby "glass eels" found in the mops and then transporting them above a dams found near the Bronx Zoo's section of the river. Later in the podcast, Damian showcases the nearly-complete fish ladder at the 182nd street dam which will allow migrating fish to continue upstream to reproduce and flourish.
Leanne Enecio, our current Ecology Intern, helped explain all of the monitoring the Alliance has been conducting and the effects of each of these metrics have on the river's wildlife. How are heavy rains and oxygen levels in the river tied together? What is an 'eel mop' and how does it help a 'glass eel'? Find out, here at the "Bronx River Alliance: Restoring Nature in the City" podcast!
Alex Severino, Education and Recreation Intern, recording data at one
of the many sampling sites along the Bronx River
August 06, 2014
Bronx River Alliance Receives Recognition for Cleaning up Bronx River
During Saturday's "Do Good, Have Fun" clean-up event sponsored by Bud Light, the Bronx River Alliance was awarded the title of "Partner in a Cleaner New York" from the Keep NYC Beautiful Coalition and the NYC Department of Sanitation. We were presented with this status do to our "exceptional" efforts in protecting, improving, restoring and maintain the Bronx River corridor and greenway.
The Bronx River Alliance aims to restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy, ecological, recreational, educational, and economic resource for the Bronx community through which the river flows.
To get involved with our conservation and restorative work in and around the Bronx River, join our Conservation Crew on August 27th.
Together we can make the Bronx River shine!
August 04, 2014
"Do Good, Have Fun" Event Cleans Up Muskrat Cove (234th St)
Our "Do Good, Have Fun" Clean-Up event with Bud Light was a huge success! On Saturday, August 2, volunteers and Bronx River Alliance staff descended on Muskrat Cove along the Bronx River to make the park shine! Alliance Conservation Crew members taught volunteers how to remove invasive species like Japanese Knotweed. Together they cleared large sections of river front which were being chocked out by this rapidly spreading weed. A fresh coat of paint was also placed on the Bronx River Parkway overpass in the park. We can't forget to mention that these hardworking volunteers collected over 250 pounds of trash!
A big thank you to all of our volunteers and to Bud light for sponsoring the event!
You can get invovled with park clean-ups and other restoration projects by joining our "Pitch In with the Conservation Crew Days." The next Pitch In Day will be Wednesday, August 27th. Get more info here!
Clockwise from Top: Conservation Crew member, Jose Santiago teaches volunteer about invasives.
Volunteers take a group photo. Bridge over Bronx River gets a new coat of paint.
July 25, 2014
MANAGER OF INSTITUTIONAL GIVING; Work for the Bronx River Alliance!
JOB OPPORTUNITY: MANAGER OF INSTITUTIONAL GIVING
The Bronx River Alliance seeks a Manager of Institutional Giving to raise money from foundation and government sources for the Alliance’s programs and services. The Manager will report to the Director of Programs and Development in close coordination with the Executive Director. This is a full-time position; a part-time schedule may be considered for highly-experienced candidates.
- Manage the grant process, including writing grant proposals, reports and letters of inquiry, while tracking the funding cycle. Research and pursue new institutional funding prospects.
- Collaborate with program staff to develop compelling proposals.
- Track progress against fundraising goals and ensure timely renewals and reports.
- Maintain relationships with donors to communicate progress of programs and explore funding opportunities, and participate in direct solicitation meetings.
- Convey information about the Alliance to varied audiences, and contribute funder-oriented communications for our website, e-newsletter, and social media.
About the Bronx River Alliance:
- At least 2 years grants management or writing experience in nonprofit organizations and/or government agencies or equivalent professional experience.
- Excellent writing and communications skills, as well as ability to understand and communicate budgets to funders.
- Ability to communicate and work with diverse constituents, including funders, program staff and board members.
- Strong attention to detail.
- Ability to be self-starting, think creatively, work quickly and under pressure, and meet deadlines.
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office, web-based applications, and social media; experience with fundraising software, especially Sage, a plus.
- Minimum of a Bachelor's degree.
The Alliance serves as a coordinated voice for the river and works in partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy ecological, recreational, educational and economic resource for the communities through which the river flows. The not-for-profit organization employs a staff of 20 and has a budget over $1.5 million. The Bronx River Alliance offers to its employees:
How to Apply:
- Salary commensurate with experience
- Full benefits package
- A dynamic and collaborative work environment at an organization with a successful track record of restoring the Bronx River, developing parks and trails along it, and connecting local communities with this unique natural resource.
Please email a resume, cover letter and writing sample to Maggie Greenfield at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 22, 2014. No calls or faxes, please.
July 24, 2014
EDUCATION COORDINATOR; Work for the Bronx River Alliance!
JOB OPPORTUNITY: EDUCATION COORDINATOR
The Bronx River Alliance seeks an Education Coordinator who will promote the use of the river as an outdoor classroom, help schools and community groups incorporate the river and its watershed into their programs, and create opportunities for the public to understand and appreciate the Bronx River.
Under the supervision of the Director for Programs and Development, the Coordinator will:
- Promote the Bronx River as an educational resource for schools and community organizations.
- Provide support for educators who want to incorporate the river into their programs.
- Manage public educational programming, such as workshops and lectures, that bring together teachers, scientists and community members to use the river as a living classroom.
- Coordinate, promote and sustain a Stewards Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program.
- Coordinate a program of canoe trips for school and youth groups, specialized organizations and the general public that brings more than 1,000 people on the river each year.
- Supervise recreation staff, interns, volunteers and consultants.
- Support the Development Team in fundraising for the Education Program and manage the Education program budget
About the Bronx River Alliance:
- A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent; Master’s degree preferred.
- A minimum of two years professional experience related to duties above; experience in community or environmental education, community organizing or outreach preferred.
- Experience with the K-12 public education system, knowledge of New York State and City educational standards and curriculum or program development experience strongly preferred.
- Knowledge of ecological principles related to river systems and experience with field research and data collection preferred.
- Ability to lead field work, paddling and walking tours and other outdoor, active programs. Ability to canoe or kayak or commitment to learn paddling skills.
- Ability to write and edit engaging curricula, proposals, reports, and promotional materials.
- Ability to work with diverse constituencies.
- Ability to work occasional weekends and evenings.
- Valid New York State driver’s license and ability to drive.
- Proficiency in MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and web-based tools.
The Alliance serves as a coordinated voice for the river and works in partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy ecological, recreational, educational and economic resource for the communities through which the river flows. The Bronx River Alliance offers to its employees:
How to Apply:
- A salary commensurate with experience
- Full benefits package
- A dynamic and creative work environment at an organization with a successful track record of restoring the Bronx River, developing parks and trails along it, and connecting local communities with this unique natural resource.
Please email a resume, cover letter and writing sample to Maggie Greenfield at email@example.com by August 22, 2014. No calls or faxes, please.
July 22, 2014
Bronx River Alliance Receives ACA Award
The Bronx River Alliance is happy to announce that it is to recieve the prestigious "ACA Stroke of Achievement Award." Each year, the American Canoe Association recognizes a select group of individuals and organizations who have shown exemplary leadership, service, and dedication to various aspects of paddlesports. The Stroke of Achievement Award is presented to one or more ACA Afilliated Clubs each year for superior performance and program development.
To find out more about our Canoe Program and Community Paddles, click here. For more information about organizing a Canoe outing on the Bronx River for a group or organization, contact Josue Garcia or call 718-430-4665.
July 14, 2014
Bronx River Fish Passage Test A "Success"
Today-for the very first time-water was released into NYC's first fish ladder which just so happens to be on the Bronx River! Over the past year, improvements to the 182nd Street dam on the Bronx River have been taking place, in preparation for construction of the fish ladder. This is the first in a series of three fish passages being constructed to enable migratory fish, such as alewives and blue back herring, to spawn in the freshwater upstream.
Robin Kriesberg, Ecology Director at the Bronx River Alliance stated, "The release was a complete success. We are pleased to report that the passage will be ready for next spring's migration. After working towards the project for such a long time, it's great to see this finally happen!"
Get ready to celebrate the 2015 spring fish migration with us - alewife herring will be able to return to their freshwater spawning grounds on the Bronx River for the first time in hundreds of years. The Bronx River Alliance is committed to the continued renewal of the Bronx River and the surrounding area's ecosystem. For further information about the 182nd Street dam fish passage contact Robin Kriesberg, Ecology Director at the Bronx River Alliance.
Once found in throughout the Northeast, alewife and blueback herring played an important role in the regional ecology as a source of food for mammals, birds, and larger fish in freshwater streams, estuaries and the ocean. Their return will help increase biodiversity along the river by attracting more predatory fish and birds, showing the improved health and resiliency of the Bronx River.
June 24, 2014
Celebrate WATERWASH ABC All Summer
On Sunday, June 22nd, artist Lillian Ball and Rocking the Boat kicked off WATERWASH Welcomes, a series of public celebrations of WATERWASH ABC, a green infrastructure project & a restored strip of riverbank on the Bronx River across from Concrete Plant Park. Rocking the Boat is a Bronx River Alliance partner that teaches Bronx students how to build and sail boats while educating them about costal ecosystems. Ball collaborated with these students to develop, plant, and eventually maintain the WATERWASH ABC project in order to empower them as potential experts and citizen scienctists about changes in the river. Read more about WATERWASH ABC here.
A tour of the WATERWASH ABC project and river rowing excursion hosted by Rocking the Boat will be held on Saturday, July 12th as a part of the "City of Water Day in Your Neighborhood." To reserve your spot for this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the event's page here. Check back for further information about July 12th's "City of Water Day in Your Neighborhood" on our Calendar.
Watch News12's segment about the project's kick-off event here.
Additional WATERWASH Welcomes events will take place on Friday, August 15, Friday, September 19, and Saturday, October 18.
The WATERWASH ABC project's shoreline. Concrete Plant Park on opposite riverbank.
June 23, 2014
Tragic incident at Starlight Park on Friday, June 20
The Bronx River Alliance expresses its deepest sympathies to the families of Wellington Gavin and Erickson Villa who tragically drowned in the river on Friday. The Alliance works to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River and will continue to work closely with NYC Parks to ensure that access to the river remains as safe as possible.
June 20, 2014
Happy National Pollinator's Week!
Did you know that this week is National Pollinator's Week? Pollinators are the bees, butterflies, and other creatures which help us get the fruit, vegetables, and flowers that we all love! In order to help local pollinators thrive, the Bronx River Alliance has been planting native species which provide food for bees throughout the growing season.
Alliance Crew Members have created several bio-swales as a water management system in the Bronx using native flowers and grasses. Last year, we planted, Dwarf Crested Iris, Autumn Bride Coral Bells, Small Headed Sunflower, and much more in Shoelace Park near 224th Street. Since then, local pollinators have made a 'bee-line' for these rain gardens and more instillations are on the way!
Find out more about National Pollinator's Week here at Pollinator.org.
To find out more about the what Bronx River Alliance is doing to strengthen the Bronx's ecosystem, please email our Ecology Director, Robin Kriesberg.
June 17, 2014
Starlight Park Awarded $4.4 Million for Shoreline Restoration
(Proposed Area for Riverbank Restoration, Future Southern Edge of Starlight Park Will Connect With Concrete Plant Park)
Updated: July 3, 2014
The Bronx River Alliance is excited to announce that Starlight Park, a reclaimed and expanding park which opened in 2013, has received $4.4 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to strengthen Starlight's shoreline along the Bronx River. The money will be used to re-naturalize the shoreline, restore habitat function, and remove contaminated soil within the park. These reinforcements to the shore line will help protect the Bronx community from future extreme weather events such as Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s wonderful,” said Maggie Scott Greenfield, Director of Programs & Development at the Bronx River Alliance. “It enables us to enhance the resiliency of the waterfront in the South Bronx and to move forward with phase two of Starlight Park.”
Phase two of Starlight Park involves connecting the park to Concrete Plant Park, one of the missing links in creating a continuous greenway along the 23 miles of Bronx River shoreline.
Grant funds will be used to restore 1.7 acres of floodplain functions on the Bronx River waterfront. This will be accomplished in part by re-naturalizing 740 feet of armored shoreline and restoring native salt marsh grasses in 0.55 acres of new wetlands. The project would also apply storm water Best Management Practices by integrating rain gardens and infiltration basins
along 11 acres of parkland. Contaminated soils will be removed from the new sections of the park in order reduce the risk of human exposure to toxic substances during future flooding events.
NYC Parks and the Alliance submitted the application for these early this year to the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency competitive grant program. New York City has set aside $12 million to complete phase two of Starlight Park which will include a pedestrian bridge connecting the existing and the new sections of the park, Greenway bike paths, seating areas, and additional lighting.
Read more about the Grant and Phase Two of Starlight Park Here
June 12, 2014
Bronx River Alliance, EPA Watch Bacteria Levels
The Bronx River Alliance was officially organized in 2001 but the founding members of the group have been working with the community since the mid-1970s. Through the hard work and support of our team, the river has transformed from a dumping ground for waste where sunken cars could often be found into a recovering ecosystem where fish, migrating birds, and even beaver can be found. But despite our past efforts, we have known that bacteria levels in the River were high. The Alliance has partnered with the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP),
New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), and Rocking the Boat to monitor and create a study to find out how high the levels really are.
We just want to learn the basics," says Damian Griffin, the Alliance's Chief Educator. "Where are the bacteria most concentrated and do the levels change with the weather. In the end, we would like to use the study to help clean the river."
So far, from the information we've collected, the levels have been consistently high; past a safe level for people swim in. The Bronx River Alliance's Ecology Director, Robin Kriesberg noted, "People are already swimming and fishing in the Bronx River. We need to keep the community healthy and safe by doing a better job of keeping our river clean."
Kriesberg represents the Alliance on the steering committee of S.W.I.M (Stormwater Infrastructure Matters), a city-wide coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable waters around New York City through sustainable stormwater management.
This grant program is the result of a close collaboration between many of the Bronx River Alliance's partners: HEP, NEIWPCC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). It is based on the successful Barnegat Bay water quality monitoring partnership led by NJDEP.
Stay tuned to find out how we can continue to clean the Bronx River and keep our community safe. To find out more about the Bronx River or the EPA sponsored bacteria study, contact Damian Girffin or Robin Kriesberg.
(Above) The bacteria study lab at Rock the Boat. (Right) Bronx River Alliance staff & Sam Marquand of Rock the Boat viewing this weeks results.
June 10, 2014
Bronx River Alliance Makes Community Safer, Greener
Through the hard work and coordination of The Bronx River Alliance, Community Board 6′s Transportation Committee, Transportation Alternatives, and Boogie Down Rides, the Alliance is happy to announce that the East Tremont Ave, Devoe Ave, East 177th Street intersection will be made safer and greener for the Bronx community. You may remember a previous blog post, we showed you the dangers and community concern about this intersection. Boogie Down Rides and the Alliance produce a video which featured local community leaders and their concern of the lack of crosswalks.
The plan, includes an extension of the Bronx River Greenway from the Northern tip of Starlight park on 177th street along the Bronx River to the Southern side of East Tremont ave (outlined in green, below). It expands pedestrian walk ways and increases the number of crosswalks in the area.
“This project has been going on for years,” said Bronx River Alliance greenway coordinator Claudia Ibaven. “Since there are a lot of agencies involved, it was taking more time.”
NYC Department of Transportation, the State Department of Transportation, the Parks Department, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority all have to give approval before this project can break ground. But last Thursday, June 6th, Bronx Community Board 6′s transportation committee received a proposed design for the intersection.
Stay tuned for more updates about the expansion of the Bronx Greenway and Tremont/ Devoe Ave project. For more information read about the proposal at StreetBlog NYC.
June 06, 2014
Montefiore Group Remembers a Friend
Fourty-three volunteers from Montefiore Hospital braved a rainy morning Thursday to plant trees and remember Megan Charlop . Meg, who lived in the Norwood, was known as the Mother Teresa of the Bronx died while biking through her neighborhood. Each year since her passing in 2011, a group from the hospital have aided the Bronx community by volunteering and planting trees in the New York City Parks as a part of Montefiore's Day of Service. Meg was one of the first champions of the Bronx's need for walking and biking trails such as the Bronx River Greenway and was active in that pathways development. This was one way she promoted healthy life-style and quality of life in a community where green spaces are in short supply.
"We think she would be proud of our work to expand the Greenway," said Joseph Sanchez, Outreach Manager at the Bronx River Alliance, who helps organize the yearly event. "Her dedication to the Bronx will continue through our work." The Montefiore volunteers planted 17 large trees throughout Shoelace Park just minutes away from where she used to live.
June 04, 2014
Satellite Academy Students Aid Eel Monitoring Program
The Bronx River Alliance regularly hosts students from elementary schools, high schools, and colleges in addition to other organizations. To learn more about the Bronx River Alliance's Educational Program, contact Damian Griffin at email@example.com Bronx River Alliance has been monitoring the American eel population in the Bronx River. Tuesday, Ms. Kennedy's science class from Satellite Academy in the Bronx became another group of student to aid our River Team. Before the class helped record the number of eels in the Artificial Eel Habitat or "eel mop," Alex Severino, Josue Garcia, and Damian Griffin talked to the them about the migration habits of the eels and the work the Bronx River Alliance is doing to insure that the river can become a healthy home for all animals.
Recently, the River Team has placed several eel mops along the river. The maturing eels swim at night to avoid predators and then look for places to hide during the day. When they find the mop, the eels swim into it until an Alliance member comes along and washes them out into a basin. After pouring the water through a strainer, the eels are recorded and then transported above the dam located near the Bronx Zoo. Now the eels can mature in a purely fresh water habitat. The class recorded a several glass eels but also found one more mature eel called an "elver."
To learn more about the Bronx River Alliance's American Eel monitoring program, read our World Fish Migration Day post below.
The Bronx River Alliance regularly hosts students from elementary schools, high schools, and colleges in addition to other organizations. To learn more about the Bronx River Alliance's Educational Program, contact Damian Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|(Clockwise from the top left. Student washes an eel mop. Alex, Josue, and Ms. Kennedy strain the water. The elver eel the class found.)
June 03, 2014
Grant to Strengthen Bronx Against Storms
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that a Hunts Point, South Bronx proposal submitted by PennDesign/OLIN has selected as a winner of HUD’s Rebuild by Design competition. HUD Secretary Donovan was joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Charles Schumer, and Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City to announce the six winning proposals. PennDesign/OLIN's project, titled Lifelines, was awarded $20 million to help provide additional planning, studying, and to help the organization oversee a small pilot/demonstration of the project in the Hunts Point community.
"We are delighted to see this vital and visionary project get the recognition and support it deserves", stated Linda Cox, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance. "Protecting and enhancing the resilient shores of the Hunts Point Market, while building on the strengths of the community infrastructure, is a wise investment.” The Bronx River Alliance allong with a number of other community groups will continue to work with PennDesign/OLIN over the coming months to ensure that the needs of the local community are represented.
The PennDesign/OLIN proposal sets out four strategies: build Cleanways to improve air quality and water absorbtion for the community; integrate Adaptable Flood Protection systems to safeguard the whole neighborhood and create public amenities along the Hunts Point waterfront; develop leadership efforts to build capacity for social resilience; and construct a Marine Emergency Supply Chain to enhance the waterways as critical infrastructure. Hunts Point is the hub of the region’s food supply chain and is a local living-wage employment center in the poorest Congressional district in the country.
The winning proposals came from six interdisciplinary teams representing some of the best planning, design, and engineering talent in the world. These inventive proposals are a blueprint for how communities can increase resilience as they rebuild and recover from major envrionmental disasters such as Hurricane Sandy. HUD chose the winners for their excellence in design and resilience and their engagement with local communities. These ideas will serve as a model for how communities can mitigate the effects of climate change and natural disasters in throughout the Sandy-effected region, the United States, and the world.
Stay tuned for more information about the Hunts Point projects to learn how they benefit the Bronx Community and the Bronx River. To find out more, read the PennDesign/OLIN's summary of the Lifeline program.
May 29, 2014
AmPark Students Explore Bronx River, Mitsubishi Riverwalk Park
Yesterday, the Bronx River Alliance was excited to take a class of students from Ampark Elementary School and their guardians on an educational outing on The Bronx River. Many of the twenty fifth graders had never been on a boat let alone on The Bronx River. After safety training and instructions from Damian Griffin, Chief Educator, and Josue Garcia, Recreation Specialist, everyone was eager to get on the water and learn about the river.
The boats launched from Mitsubishi Riverwalk, directly across from The Bronx Zoo. They paddled under Fordham Road and up into the Botanical Gardens. While the class floated back down stream, Mr. Griffin told the students some of the history of the Bronx River, their home borough, and other inform
ation about the local ecosystem. Back on dry land, one student said, "It was really cool to see the plants and animals from the river. We even saw a hawk." Another added in, "Yeah, it was really fun. We should come back before graduation!"
The Bronx River Alliance regularly hosts students from elementary schools, high schools, and colleges in addition to other organizations. To learn more about the Bronx River Alliance's Educational Program, contact Damian Griffin at email@example.com.
May 23, 2014
May 24th is World Fish Migration Day
This Saturday May 24th is World Fish Migration Day, connecting fish, rivers and people.People all over the world will be participating in events to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining fish migration paths for sustaining healthy fish populations.We are doing our part in this worldwide effort here on the Bronx River. Work is underway at the 182nd Street dam on the Bronx River to complete the first fish passage in New York City, reconnecting migratory river herring with the freshwater habitats they need as part of their life cycle. This is the first in a series of fish passages being constructed to enable migratory river herring such as alewives to travel upstream on the Bronx River to spawn.
This spring, the Alliance and our partners are monitoring eel populations on the river, using an apparatus called an Artificial Eel Habitat, or "eel mops" which provide shelter during the day for the night migrating glass eels, allowing us to observe and count them. There is a lot that is not known about these fascinating and mysterious creatures. Scientists believe that they are born the Sargasso Sea, but they do not exactly know how or where this phenomenon takes place. What we do know is that tiny eels known as “glass eels” swim 3,000 miles from the Sargasso to the Bronx River every spring - they will grow first into elvers, then full grown yellow eels, live their adult lives, anywhere from six to twenty years and females being up to four feet long, in the Bronx River, and then make the long trip back to the ocean to spawn.
Check out this video of the eels in motion and a great slide show of how the monitoring process works.
Please join us in celebrating and appreciating the always fascinating Bronx River and the migratory fish that make their home in this unique urban habitat.
April 29, 2014
Arbor Day Tree Planting
There's nothing much better than planting hundreds of trees with happy second graders on a beautiful day!
On Arbor Day (4/25/2014), students from the Bronx Community Charter School enthusiastically planted hundreds of pin oak, sugar maple and persimmon tree saplings north of the Allerton Ballfields in the Bronx River Forest. Hurricane Sandy left holes in the forest canopy and this project, graciously funded by TD Bank, allowed us to replant native tree species before invasive plants take over.
April 24, 2014
New Raingarden for Shoelace Park
228th Street End Stormwater Capture System and Slope Stabilization, Shoelace Park
An exciting new project is underway in Shoelace Park that will help capture, redirect and integrate stormwater runoff into the park design, to improve conditions in the park and beautify the existing surroundings. By capturing and absorbing water from the southern part of 228th Street, drainage and flooding issues on the pathway in the park will be reduced. A raingarden in the park will use this excess water as a resource for sustaining the native plants. As a result of this project, this area of Shoelace Park will be transformed from an eroding and barren slope to a flower-filled and lush garden, to be enjoyed by neighbors and park visitors alike.
Construction of this new park feature is now underway.
PLEASE BEAR WITH US AS WE WORK TO IMPROVE
THE BRONX RIVER.
RENDERING OF RAINGARDEN AND SLOPE
Funding for this project was provided by the Bronx River Watershed Initiative of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund, with additional design funding from the New York State Department of State's Environmental Protection Fund.
April 22, 2014
North Entrance to Starlight Park
The Greenway Team has put together a video documenting traffic conditions around the north entrance to Starlight Park.
Community members (including representatives from Transportation Alternatives, Drew Gardens, Housing Activist, Bronx River Art Center, the Bronx River Alliance Greenway Team, and neighbors) walked from the train station on West Farm sq./East Tremont ave. to Starlight Park. They documented conditions at various intersections, including the experience of pedestrain crossings, car traffic, the timing of traffic lights, sidewalk conditions, etc. Through interviews, various community members gave their thoughts, observations and recommendations for how the greenway can be made safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
March 31, 2014
Field Trip to the Mianus River Fish Ladder
This morning, Bronx River Alliance staff took a field trip to the Mianus River in nearby Greenwich, Connecticut to check out the fish ladder at the Mianus Pond Dam. The fish ladder enables anadromous fish, such as alewives and blueback herring, to overcome the dam in their migration upstream.
A fish ladder of similar scale is currently being built on the Bronx River at the 182nd St. dam, the first obstacle on the river, so that the migratory river herring can once again make it upstream to spawn in freshwater habitat.
Our team was lucky enough to see alewife using the ladder- the first sighting this season!
March 28, 2014
Securing the Shoreline in Muskrat Cove
Securing the Shoreline in Muskrat Cove Park
Though the cold winds of March are still blowing, members of the Bronx River Alliance’s Conservation Crew have been busy implementing a bioengineering project to stop erosion of the river banks in Muskrat Cove.
This bioengineering approach utilizes “fascines”, which are live cuttings of native willow and dogwood branches lashed together in five foot bundles and installed horizontally along the river bank. They are placed in shallow trenches on the sloped banks to hold the soil in place and reduce erosion. The intention is that these shrubs will take root and grow from the branches, stabilizing and eventually re-vegetating the slope.
Another technique, planting live stakes, was also employed in Muskrat Cove. Using larger willow stakes, live, rootable cuttings are inserted into the ground. With proper preparation and growing conditions, these stakes will establish and grow, creating a network of roots that stabilizes the soil and extracts excess moisture. Willow species tend to root rapidly and are effective at drying out a bank soon after installation.
These simple techniques use readily available materials and are effective in improving site conditions through natural processes. This in turn makes way for the natural colonization of vegetation from the surrounding plant community, which helps to improve ecological conditions in and around the river.
March 26, 2014
New leadership at the Bronx River Alliance
The Bronx River Alliance announces that Veronica Vanterpool has been elected chair of its board of directors. Ms. Vanterpool succeeds Kellie Terry who has chaired the Alliance’s board since 2011. Ms Vanterpool will guide the Alliance in its on-going work to restore the Bronx River, develop the Bronx River Greenway into world-class parkland, and engage community residents and other New Yorkers in learning about and celebrating New York City’s only freshwater river.
Ms. Vanterpool has served on the Alliance board since 2012 and is the Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
March 22, 2014
Eel spring migration on the Bronx River!
It may not feel like spring yet, but a sure sign that it is on the way is the migration of baby eels ("glass eels") up the Bronx River. There is a lot that is not known about these fascinating creatures. Scientists believe that they are born the Sargasso Sea, but they do not exactly how or where it takes place. What we do know is that this tiny eels swim thousands of miles from the Sargasso to the Bronx River every spring - they will live their adult lives in teh Bronx River, and then make the long trip back to the ocean to spawn.
Check out this video of the eels in motion and a great slide show of how the monitoring proces works.
March 20, 2014
A new feature-length documentary features Bronx River
On March 20, the Bronx River Alliance hosted a screening and panel discussion of Water Blues, Green Solutions at the Arsenal as a part of our Education Program's Wade into the River series of workshops, trainings, and lectures on Bronx River topics.
Water Blues, Green Solutions is a documentary produced by Penn State Public Media that tells the stories of real people solving their "water blues" with green infrastructure solutions. Narrated by Bronx native Majora Carter, the film focuses on four cities across the country: Portland, San Antonio, Philadelphia, and a segment on the Bronx and the Bronx River, highlighting the work of the Bronx River Alliance, Rocking the Boat, and Sustainable South Bronx.
The panel was moderated by Debora Marton, Acting Director of the New York Restoration Project and featured Frank Christopher, Filmmaker; Angela Licata, NYCDEP Assistant Commissioner for Sustainability; Adam Green, Executive Director of Rocking the Boat; Majora Carter, Majora Carter Group; Marc Cammarata, Philadelphia Water Department Watershed Director; and Gregory Kiss, Principal of Kiss + Cathcart, Architects.
March 14, 2014
Educational facility and boat house to break ground soon on Bronx River!
Big news! Bronx River House, a beautiful NYC Parks facility that will serve as a community education center, boat house and headquarts of the Bronx River Alliance will soon break ground. A new generation of Bronx children and families will be able to touch, experience, and love the Bronx River as a result of this building, which features many green design features such as solar panels, stormwater capture, and ground-source heat.
Read more in:
- NY Daily News "Bronx River Alliance to get new HQ on Riverfront" (March 12, 2014) by Jennifer Cunningham.
- Hunts Point Express: "More Help on Way for Bronx River" (March 12, 2014) by Lorraine Ryshin
March 11, 2014
Request for proposals - Development of the Bronx River Greenway Activity Guide
The Bronx River Alliance seeks a consultant to carry out the design for an Activity Guide for the full 8-mile length of the Bronx River Greenway in the Bronx. When complete, the Greenway will be a series of connected parks and trail along the Bronx River.The purpose of the Activity Guide is to promote the Bronx River Greenway’s wide array of active recreational options available indicating, when needed, the main accesses of different facilities.
March 11, 2014
Alliance's Director of Program and Development appears on BronxTalk with Gary Axelbank
Maggie Greenfield, the Director of Programs and Development, and Bob Bender from Community Board 8 appeared on BronxNet's BronxTalk with Gary Axelbank to discuss current park issues in the Bronx.
March 04, 2014
Happy 100th Birthday, Bronx! Celebrate on the River!
We've come a long way. From being dumped on and ignored to being celebrated and beloved, the Bronx River is listed in the mix of top things the Bronx has to offer by amNY, as our fair borough turns 100 this year!
"Bronx County turns 100 this year! Here's how to celebrate in spring 2014" Cristian Salazar, February 28, 2014.
March 04, 2014
Bronx River featured as model for how cities around the world are learning to co-exist with wildlife
"Our Zoopolitan Future: Making Cities Safe for Wildlife." Richard Conniff, March 4, 2014
Referring to the Bronx River, the author writes, "[t]he restored river is providing habitat for wildlife—but it’s no doubt also producing new stories to entertain children, and to be passed down for generations into the future. And that makes the city a much richer and more magical place for everyone."
February 24, 2014
Bank of America Spotlight
Did you know that the Bronx River Conservation Crew works outdoors on the Bronx River all winter long? Over the past few months they've been working on a project to expand the forested buffer along the river in Shoelace Park. Many thanks to Bank of America who supports our Conservation Crew’s work to be a green job career ladder for our members, apprentices, and trainees from other partners. Bank of America’s New York City Market President Jeff Barker, who used to live in the Bronx and enjoys riding on the new bike paths, calls the project a shining example of a public-private partnership. “When we can help fund skilled jobs, people can take those skills and move on to other jobs and then the economic engine starts to build,” he said. “We can’t be successful if the communities that we serve are not successful. And we are citizens of that community. It makes us proud to be involved.”
Click here for a short but poignant video showcasing this partnership and the green jobs it has enabled.
February 21, 2014
DEP Westchester Creek LTCP Kick-Off Meeting on 26 Feb 2014
NYC DEP will be holding a Public Kick-off Meeting for the WESTCHESTER CREEK CSO LONG TERM CONTROL PLAN
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
JHS 125 Henry Hudson
1111 Pugsley Avenue, 1st Floor, Bronx NY 10472
6:00pm to 8:00pm
DEP will provide a brief presentation at 6:30pm.
As part of the Long Term Control Program (LTCP), DEP is developing comprehensive evaluations of long term solutions to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improve water quality in New York City’s waterbodies and waterways. The goal of each LTCP is to identify appropriate CSO controls necessary to achieve waterbody-specific water quality standards, consistent with the Federal CSO Policy and the water quality goals of the Clean Water Act.
At the meeting, an overview of watershed characteristics and water quality conditions will be provided. In addition, staff from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will present on proposed efforts to reduce CSOs for Westchester Creek. Citizens will learn how they can be a part of the public participation process. DEP seeks information and involvement of local citizens in developing this plan. Please share the attached flyer with your constituents and any other interested stakeholders.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED?
DEP and DEC staff will be available to answer any questions you may have.
To RSVP or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call DEP’s Community Affairs Office at (718) 595-3496.
For more information on DEP’s CSO program, please visit our LTCP Program website at www.nyc.gov/dep/ltcp or follow us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com /NYCWater.
February 19, 2014
Jose and Justin Beaver Still Hard at Work Along the Bronx River
We haven’t seen much activity from the Bronx River beavers this winter- until recently. Less than two weeks ago, our education director Damian Griffin noticed fresh gnaw marks on a tree near the Bronx Zoo. A beaver’s diet consists of leaves, bark, twigs, roots, and aquatic plants, but its main source of nutrition is the cambium layer, the growing part of the tree just under the outer bark. Our latest picture showcases their impressive work from Tuesday night as they labor to get the tree down to gain access to the upper branches. And check out this great footage of the beavers' nocturnal work at the NYBG from last winter.
Jose, lovingly named after Bronx representative Jose Serrano for his commitment to ecological restoration of the river, was the first confirmed beaver in New York City in over 200 years. The city’s beaver population doubled when Jose was joined by Justin Beaver, a name chosen through an online poll. Their return has been covered by National Geographic, Audubon, the New York Times, and the Daily News, to name a few.
The beavers are a powerful symbol that the Bronx River is no longer the neglected and polluted waterway it once was considered. The work of the Bronx River Alliance and other community groups have made real accomplishments to reclaim and restore the river, converting it from a trash-strewn, weed-choked river into viable habitat for the wildlife that once thrived here. We believe Justin and Jose live in what is technically called the Bronx Park, which is comprised of the NY Botanical Garden, the Zoo, and the Bronx River Forest, although we have occassionally seen signs of beaver activity outside of these zones, down in the estuary and as far to the north as Nereid Avenue.
January 29, 2014
LA Streets Blog: Lessons from NYC- Greenway Success Through Interdepartmental Collaboration
Our former greenway director, Joe Linton, has written a great post on LA StreetsBlog on the lessons he learned on the East Coast, specifically on the Bronx River, that are applicable to the LA River and Los Angeles as a whole. He writes:
"What happens in NYC that I haven’t seen in L.A is significant inter-departmental collaboration. While greenways are neither of these departments’ core mission, both NYC DOT and NYC Parks have staff that work on the city’s greenways. Both departments seek funding for, design, build and maintain greenway trails...
One welcome practice that I’ve observed back east is that NYC DOT fills in greenway path gaps between parks using on-street bike facilities. One example that I was involved in was a quarter-mile gap closure bordering Westchester Avenue in the South Bronx. When contamination and right-of-way issues prevented NYC Parks from moving forward with a bike/walk path immediately alongside the Bronx River, the NYC DOT added crosswalks, bike lanes, sharrows, and a bike/ped crossing signal. These on-street facilities close a gap between existing river paths in two nearby parks, Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park."
Be sure to read the whole post here!
January 28, 2014
The green infrastructure page on our website has been updated!
Every year, 27 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater flows into New York City’s waterways via combined sewer overflows. Why does this happen and how can we stop it?
If you're interested in learning the difference between "green" and "grey" approaches to stormwater management, a diagram explaining the mechanics of a combined sewer overflow outfall, or a map of green infrastructure installations in the Bronx, be sure to check out this page.
January 03, 2014
NYC Snow Day
Winter Storm Hercules dumped quite a bit of snow on the city last night, and the department of sanitation as well as city park workers have been making sure our city's streets and paths are clear and safe to drive and walk on. Check this handy app for real-time updates of the city's plowing progress.
Did you know that the overuse of road salt may have negative environmental impacts? When it dissolves, it increases the levels of sodium and chloride in the water- which can be toxic to aquatic life and impede proper circulation. Plants and vegetation can also be damaged by runoff from salted roads. Many cities are looking into ways to mitigate these impacts and creative alternatives to using salt to keep roads clear and safe. Read more about it in this journal publication.
A snowy Concrete Plant Park on January 3, 2014. Photo by Charles R Berenguer Jr.
November 15, 2013
Fish Passage Construction is Underway at the 182nd Street Dam
We are pleased to report that construction is well underway on the installation of a fish passage at 182nd Street, reconnecting river herring and other migratory fish access to spawning habitat in the freshwater sections of the river. The first phase of construction is located on the west side of the dam, where the fish passage will be situated. Dewatering the river to provide access to the dam for construction is the first phase of this work, currently underway.
Stay tuned for periodic progress reports on this exciting project, opening the way for fish to travel upstream and flourish
in the Bronx River.
October 02, 2013
New Raingardens for Muskrat Cove
Planting the raingarden at Muskrat Cove was the final step in this project to improve a degraded area along the Bronx River Parkway near the border with Westchester County. On a sunny September morning, the Alliance’s conservation crew joined with Biohabitats, the project’s designer, to install 80 native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in the forest. This planting was part of a larger project to stabilize a stormwater pipe and improve the conditions in the area surrounding it.
To fix the pipe, the existing dilapidated headwall was removed, the pipe cover was stabilized, and the area was regraded slightly, directing stormwater into small rain gardens. A small settling area was created at the end of pipe with broken up material from the stone headwall, and streambank protection was added to prevent future scouring and water quality degradation in the Bronx River.
A variety of native species are helping to transform this area, once unsightly with erosion and invasive Japanese knotweed, into a healthy oasis of native greenery. A barren slope between the parkway and the river was planted with native trees and shrubs, to help slow and retain some of the polluted runoff from the roadway before it enters the river. A dilapidated pipe was repaired to reduce the deposition of contaminated sediment into the river. The slope was reconfigured to direct water into a raingarden rather than onto the pathway, providing water for blueberry bushes and native ferns.
Expanding on this work, invasive vegetation was removed around the park and replaced with native plants to stabilize the streambanks and improve wildlife habitat. Alliance staff and volunteers have cleared approximately 2.8 acres of invasive vegetation in the park, and planted 700 trees and 400 shrubs. We have had some great help, including the assistance of a dedicated crew of nine young adults who served as apprentices with the Alliance's Conservation Crew for 5 weeks in 2012. Funding for this on-the-job training in green careers was provided by the Mayor's Center for Economic Opportunity Office, supplementing the project support generously provided by the Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Foundation and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
September 26, 2013
Wade into the Bronx River: Teacher workshop
September 26, 2013 (4:00pm-7:00 pm)
Wade into the River: Seining and Sampling
Hunts Point Riverside Park
Wade into the River
Join us at Hunts Point Riverside Park for a hands on workshop focused on waterfront education. Learn the ins and outs of getting your students involved in the study of our local waterways including planning your study, water safety, use of seine nets and kick nets, identifying organisms, and sampling water at the surface and at depth. Waders and all equipment will be provided for the training.
Learning opportunities run in consecutive one hour segments: 4pm,5pm, 6pm
A registration fee of $5 is required and all fees used to purchase refreshments.
For more information contact Damian Griffin email@example.com
Hunts Point Riverside Park, 812 Edgewater Road, Bronx, NY 10474
In partnership with Rocking the Boat and the NYSDEC
September 24, 2013
Oysters and the Bronx River
Today's New York Times has a nice article about the oyster reef at the mouth of the Bronx River.
September 18, 2013
Water Quality Monitoring Workshop
Register for the September 18 Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring Workshop
When: September 18, 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM
What: Learn about water quality and how to get involved in testing your waters.
Where: Pier 40, Hudson River Park (W Houston at the Hudson River)
HEP and its Citizens Advisory Committee invite you to come and learn about pollution issues still affecting our waters, solutions, how the states are testing the waters, and how you can test the waters in your neighborhood. There will be a live demonstration of water sampling and testing by The River Project.
September 06, 2013
DOT Begins Safe Connections Work Below Concrete Plant Park
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) recently began work on new planned safety improvements designed to make it easier to walk and bike to Concrete Plant Park.
The city recently re-paved portions of Bruckner Boulevard in the area adjacent to Concrete Plant Park. Now that repaving is complete, the NYC DOT is adding features that will make it safer to go between the south end of Concrete Plant Park and the Bryant Avenue pedestrian bridge, three blocks west. The pedestrian bridge connects to Hunts Point neighborhoods. The majority of the work is at and around the three-way intersection of Bruckner Boulevard, Longfellow Avenue and Whitlock Avenue.
The project includes:
- adding parking on Whitlock Avenue
- shared bike/ped markings on Bruckner Boulevard sidewalk
- two-way barrier-protected bike lane along Bruckner from Bryant to Longfellow
In related news, work is nearly 100% done on NYC DOT safe street improvements between Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park. NYC DOT began installing these improvements in July. The nearly complete safety features are located on Westchester Avenue and Edgewater Road (Sheridan Expressway frontage road.) Some signage and some delineators will be installed soon, but the new signal, lane and crosswalk striping, and painted sidewalk extensions are already in place, and looking great!
Below is a photo of the new "sharrows" (shared lane markings - for bike routes) on Westchester Avenue.
See also the Alliance's earlier coverage of these improvements here and here.
Have you walked/ridden these streets lately? What do you think of the changes?
August 20, 2013
New Safe Street Connections Underway from Concrete to Starlight
NYC Department of Transportation crews are in the process of striping new features that make it safer to walk and bike between Concrete Plant Park to Starlight Park. The Alliance reviewed these improvements earlier. Included in the work underway today are:
- New bike lanes on Westchester Avenue (from Whitlock to Bryant)
- New sharrows (bike routes) on Westchester Avenue and Edgewater Road (Sheridan Expressway frontage road)
- New signalized crosswalk across Westchester Avenue at Concrete Plant Park
- New painted sidewalk extensions at the intersection of Whitlock and Westchester
- New roadway striping to clarify safest roadway positioning for drivers
In the long run, the Alliance continues to push to "Bridge the Gap" - completing Phase 2 of Starlight Park in this area, but, right now, these on-street connections are already making things safer and easier for walking and bicycling along the Bronx River. NYC DOT crews began work last week, and the project appears to be about 3/4th done as of Tuesday August 20th 2013.
More coverage at DNAinfo and Bronx News 12.
July 24, 2013
Recent Monitoring: How Clean is the Bronx River?
On July 2nd, the Daily News ran an article entitled Report: Bronx River is almost as bad as the Gowanus Canal for fecal bacteria. While the Alliance is glad to see coverage of pollution issues in local waterways, we wanted to respond to the Daily News article and further the discussion.
The Daily News makes comparisons between the Bronx River and the Gowanus Canal, for example: " testing reveals that the [Bronx River] now has levels of fecal bacteria to rival the notorious Gowanus Canal, a federal Superfund cleanup site." A misleading aspect of this comparison is that the "notorious" Gowanus' Superfund site status is not primarily due to fecal pollution; per the U.S. EPA the Gowanus suffers from "industrial pollutants... [including] PCBs, coal tar wastes, heavy metals and volatile organics." These chemical contaminants generally last a very long time and are very expensive to clean up. Sewage and bacteria behave somewhat differently; once their source is eliminated, their levels drop fairly quickly.
The Gowanus does have elevated levels of fecal bacteria. Fecal contamination is also a problem for the Bronx River, the East River, the Hudson, and urban waterways pretty much all over the world. The source of bacterial contamination is generally sewage. Where, how and when sewage gets into the Bronx River can be somewhat complicated.
It's clear that, during heavier rain storms, the combined sewer and stormdrain systems overflow into the river - through Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs.) There are a half dozen CSOs connected to the Bronx River, in South Bronx neighborhoods from West Farms to Soundview. Water quality testing shows that bacterial counts shoot up during heavy rain, and then return to background levels within a few days.
The CSOs aren't the whole story, though. Fecal bacteria does get into the river during dry weather. When it hasn't rained, samples from the Bronx-Westchester border show more bacteria than the South Bronx. It's not entirely clear, but this data suggests that there may be (probably illegal un-permitted) sewer connections in Westchester County.
Another source of dry-weather bacterial contamination can be the tides. The East River has some issues with bacterial contamination. This contamination can flow upstream into the Bronx River, bringing bacteria into the Bronx at high tide. Complex tidal flows can interact with freshwater rivers to create zones where some contaminants may linger and concentrate.
The new monitoring data, a project spearheaded by the New York City Water Trail Association, is a good thing. It's needed, especially to shed light on pollution conditions and how they trend over time. This data can help identify the sources of contamination; it can also indicate what investments can be most successful.
Recent monitoring results aren't really news. They are showing what's been known for a while: the Bronx River has a persistent problem with sewage contamination. Today, the river is not safe for swimming, and it won't be safe until sewage contamination sources have been curtailed. The sewage contamination sources are numerous: inputs from Westchester, CSO outputs (definitely during rain events and possibly also during dry weather), tidal flows, and probably other lesser sources not well understood. Though the Bronx River is generally clean enough for canoeing and other activities with minimal water contact, today the river is too polluted for swimming.
(Photo: Charles Berenguer)
July 03, 2013
Bronx River Alliance launches membership campaign!
Get behind the effort that is transforming a river, neighborhoods, and an entire borough - become a charter member of the Bronx River Alliance today!
Once declared an open sewer, the Bronx River is now a source of community pride, a recreational and educational resource for all to enjoy. We’ve done it by hauling out 657 tons of garbage, 89 cars and nearly 30,000 tires, appliances, bicycles and furniture, planting 90,000 trees and creating 18 acres of new waterfront parkland. See our full list of accomplishments since 2001.
Ours is a community in action. And this an historic act of hands-on environmental justice, reclaiming blighted areas suffering from years of environmental degradation, disregard and neglect. Nearly 10,000 volunteers have devoted almost 100,000 hours to restoring the river, and dozens of local organizations have incorporated river restoration into their work.
Join us today!
July 03, 2013
New Bronx Park Connector Walk/Bike Path Open to Public
A new bike and walk path opened to the public this week. It's the Bronx Park Connector, a part of the Bronx River Greenway, though it doesn't quite go along the river. Nonetheless it's a beautiful place and an important facility for bike and walk transportation and recreation.
In the middle of the Bronx River's 8-mile trajectory through the Bronx, the river runs through the Bronx Zoo and the NY Botanical Garden. These sites are fenced off, hence not entirely suitable for easily publicly-accessible riverside bikeways and walkways, so the Bronx River Greenway paths are located well east of the river between 180th Street and Allerton Avenue. In the past, Greenway cyclists and trail-walkers had to brave busy local streets to get around this area, but now they can use this new path separated from motorized vehicles.
The length of the new facility is just over 9/10ths of a mile. Its southern terminus is at the intersection of 180th Street and Bronx Park Avenue, immediately west of the 180th Street 2 and 5 Subway Station. From there, the trail wends north between the train yards and the zoo. It goes below the Bronx River Parkway viaduct, then across the face of Ranaqua - NYC Parks Department's Bronx operations headquarters (and home to the offices of the Bronx River Alliance.) At Ranaqua there's a brief dismount zone, where cyclists are instructed to walk on a sidewalk. The path then continues north along the Bronx River Parkway, connecting into the southeast portion of Bronx Park East, next to the basketball courts and play fields below Boston Road. The northern end of the path is at the intersection of Unionport Road and Bronx Park East (street.)
The new bike path has gone by a few different working names. Though it has been called the "Ranaqua Connection" and "180th Street to Unionport Road," for now it's being called the "Bronx Park Connector."
The facility is open from dawn to dusk, with gates at 180th Street and at Ranaqua locked before/after those times. The path was designed and built by NYC Parks, who now maintain it. The project, including the path itself, new lighting, signage, landscaping, and more, cost just over $3,000,000. Funding sources were primarily Croton Filtration Funding with additional City capital funds allocated by City Councilmember Joel Rivera.
Though the path is open and in use today, the official ribbon-cutting is tentatively scheduled for Friday August 9th 2013. The Alliance will announce ribbon-cutting details as they become available.
Here are a few photographs of the brand new path:
New path near 180th Street
New path along Ranaqua
New path along Bronx River Parkway
More images at Bronx River Alliance on Instagram
June 28, 2013
GAPP Youth Crew Helps Out the Alliance with Forest Restoration
For the second year, the Bronx River Alliance was pleased to host a GAPP (Green Applied Programs at Parks) crew, a group of apprentices sponsored by the Mayor’s office through the Center for Economic Opportunity. Eight young adults, aged 18 through 24, split their time between ecological conservation projects with the Bronx River Alliance and gardening projects, working with the parks horticulture staff. Their names are: Kira Maxim, Carlos Santiago, Austin Hodges, Shakim Lebeau, Derrick Gordon, Tishella James, Andrea Williams, and Katlyn Bumgardner. Led by crew member Michelle Cropsey, their work culminated in clearing a plot in the North forest of invasive plants and replanting with 169 shrubs and plants native to the area. Their horticulture work focused on a site in Rosewood playground, which is commemorated by a plaque in the park. During their time with the Alliance, they had a chance to take a full river canoe ride, get a guided tour of the new native plant garden at the NY Botanical Garden, and learn about the intertidal zone during a low-tide walk at Soundview Park. But if you ask them to identify the highlight of their time together, it is likely that they will say the best part was meeting each other and having the chance to work together as a team. We appreciate their enthusiasm, positive attitudes, and willingness to learn new things, and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.
Look for our Conservation Crew with a new group of 15 young people from the NYC Youth WRAP (Workforce Restoration Assistance) program, a Sandy relief/restoration program in partnership with the NYC Department of Probation. The Alliance looks forward to the extra help this group can provide in restoring the Bronx River’s ecosystem and improving its resilience for weathering future storms.
June 25, 2013
Largest oyster reef installation in NY harbor takes place on the Bronx River
120 tons of clam shell were installed over a one acre site at the mouth of the Bronx River on Monday, in NY Harbor's largest oyster reef installation to-date. These shells will later be seeded with oyster babies, or spat, and will also attract native oysters that already live in the lower Bronx River.
The oysters will filter the water (one oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons a day) and their reefs provide valuable habitate for other aquatic organisms. In addition, the reefs may help blunt the impact of storm surge. For more information, see the full press release.
NY Daily News
"Jump starting the Bronx River’s oyster population may create more aquatic habitats, minimize storm surge and improve the river’s water quality."
"A few centuries back, oysters populated the harbor by the billions. But over-harvesting was the first hit the oysters took, and following the industrial revolution, many succumbed to pollution. Now, oysters are nearly extinct in New York waterways, but the clam shells offer hope for the future."
News 12 the Bronx
"The layer of shells will house the river's homeless oysters. The process is intended to make the Bronx River cleaner."
June 24, 2013
Bronx River Alliance endorses NY4P Parks Platform 2013
Recently, the Bronx River Alliance board of directors unanimously voted to endorse New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) 2013 Parks Platform. NY4P urges mayoral and other NYC candidates to sign on to this platform, and to commit to making the city's Parks Department stronger and more effective in the years ahead. The platform addresses various issues including funding, maintenance, transparency, capital processes, parkland preservation, and greater cooperation among City departments and communities.
If you're reading this, you want to make parks a priority, and you agree with Parks Platform 2013, you're encouraged to sign a brief on-line petition. It only takes a minute, and it can make a big difference. Go to the petition right now.
Below are the 10 basic tenets of the platform. Please see the full text of Parks Platform 2013 at NY4P website.
We call on the next Mayor and Administration to:
OVERHAUL HOW THE PARKS DEPARTMENT IS FUNDED.
1) The Parks Department should have its own discretionary capital budget.
2) The Parks Department’s maintenance budget should be increased, and funding for core functions should be baselined – meaning automatically renewed – in its annual expense budget.
3) The Parks Department provides an essential city service and should be staffed accordingly.
INCREASE THE TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE PARKS DEPARTMENT TO ENSURE EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF RESOURCES.
4) The Parks Department should know the cost to maintain every City park, as well as the amount of public and private funding that supports each.
5) The Parks Department should adopt the best practices of other capital projects agencies to improve its own process.
6) Organizations in public-private partnerships with the Parks Department should report annual revenues, expenses and other critical financial information in a simple, consistent manner to be shared on the Department’s website.
RESTRICT AND STRONGLY REGULATE THE PRIVATIZATION OF PARKLAND.
7) Parkland alienation should not occur unless no other land is available to serve an essential public need.
8) State and local laws regulating parkland alienation should be strengthened to require earlier and broader notification of alienation actions, and to mandate acre-for-acre replacement of lost parkland.
INTEGRATE PARKS PLANNING INTO NEIGHBORHOOD, CITYWIDE AND RESILIENCY PLANNING.
9) Parks are part of a broad network of public spaces, and City agencies should collaborate to maximize neighborhood open space and citywide environmental benefits.
10) The City should be more proactive in involving neighborhood residents in their parks, both as volunteer stewards and in planning for the future.
Read the full platform here and the accompanying white paper here.
June 20, 2013
New 222nd Street Bike Lanes Connect with Shoelace Park
(Photo during installation. 222nd Street bike lane is complete on the left, but not yet on the right. New left turn lanes visible in the middle of the image. If you look closely you can spot the darker gray earlier 4-lane striping which has been erased/scraped. photo by Jocelyn Carlisle)
Over the past week, the NYC Department of Transportation added new bike lanes to 222nd Street. The lanes extend from the Bronx River Greenway at Shoelace Park to Co-Op City. The project includes new left turn lanes, and a reduction in travel lanes. More information about the project at our earlier article.
(Another shot of the 222nd Street bike lanes where they go below the 5 Subway near Co-Op City - photo by Daniel Ranells)
June 05, 2013
City Parks Seeks Federal TIGER Grant to Close South Bronx River Greenway Gap
Earlier this week, NYC Parks & Recreation Department submitted an application for federal TIGER funding to build Phase 2 of Starlight Park. TIGER, which stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, is a competitive funding opportunity of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Municipalities throughout the nation will be awarded TIGER transportation project funding totaling $487M. That may sound like a lot of money to average Bronx residents, but the grants are very competitive as that funding is spread nationwide. NYC Parks is requesting $25.7M TIGER funding to combine with $10M in local funding to build out the $35.7M project.
The Bronx River Alliance worked closely with NYC Parks to prepare the TIGER application. Phase 2 of Starlight Park will close the Bronx River Greenway gap between Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park. This gap closure project is critical to ensure that residents of the South Bronx will have access to a contiguous Bronx River Greenway bike/ped trail that will extend the entire 23 miles from Soundview to Kensico Dam. The Starlight Phase 2 project includes nearly a mile of new bike/walk path, with three bridges - two over the river (similar to the existing bridge shown being installed - right) and one over Amtrak rail lines. The trail link has seen an ourpouring of community support via the Alliance's Bridge the Gap campaign.
The Alliance is very grateful to the entire team involved in applying for TIGER funding. The Greenway gap closure project is a collaboration between NYC Parks, and the City and State Transportation Departments - with assistance from many others, prominently including the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, under the leadership of the Department of the Interior. Amtrak has been proactive in resolving issues in bridging over their rights-of-way. Thanks to many elected officials for making this critical gap closure a priority, especially U.S. Congressman Jose Serrano, Assemblymember Marcos Crespo, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Councilmember Annabel Palma for letters of support. Thanks also to East Coast Greenway Alliance and Signature Urban Properties for support letters. Thanks also to all the organizations and individuals who expressed their support via the Bridge the Gap campaign.
The TIGER opportunity is very competitive; there's no guarantee that the application will receive funding. Based on past TIGER rounds, the awards should be announced around August/September 2013. If funded, construction could begin late next year - and South Bronx residents could enjoy the completed greenway trail segment around 2016.
May 23, 2013
Sheridan Study Choice Shows Greener Future for the Bronx River
New York City's Department of City Planning is working on a study that will have major impacts on the future of the Sheridan Expressway and the Sheridan-adjacent portions of the Bronx River Greenway. The formal name of the study is the Sheridan-Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study abbreviated as "SEHP." If you attended the 2013 Bronx River Flotilla, you may have seen City Planning's booth soliciting community input. The SEHP study has been underway for about two years, and is expected to be completed this summer. Actual on-the-ground changes to the Sheridan will likely take another 5-10 years.
Earlier this week, at a community meeting on Tuesday May 21st 2013, city representatives announced that the study is far enough along that they have selected a preferred alternative among the four scenarios they've been analyzing. The alternative is known as "Modify Combined." The Modify Combined is the scenario most different from today's existing conditions: portions of the Sheridan roadway are reduced to the fewest number of lanes. Modify Combined includes the most new crossings: three new traffic signals will be added, allowing for crossing the Sheridan at Jennings Street, 171st Street, and 172nd Street.
Revisiting the Sheridan will have beneficial impacts on the Bronx River Greenway. According to the Department of City Planning, the "Modify Combined" alternative will add "1600 linear feet of publicly accessible waterfront" along the Bronx River (between 172nd Street and Westchester Avenue.) It will also add "over 2 acres of added open space to Starlight Park." In addition to these benefits, the three new crossing points (Jennings, 171st, 172nd) are expected to greatly improve access to Starlight Park from the Crotona Park East neighborhood.
If you're interested in learning more about the Sheridan study, and expressing your interests in the Sheridan's, the neighborhood's and the Bronx River Greenway's future, read more about the study at the city's project website, and plan to attend the final City-hosted community meeting planned for June 20th 2013.
May 10, 2013
Starlight Park Official Ribbon Cutting
City officials and park advocates came together to welcome Starlight Park to the Bronx River Greenway in an official ribbon cutting ceremony on May 10.
The event celebrated the construction of Phase 1 of Starlight Park and officially opened its ground for public use, although many community residents have been spotted enjoying what this new park has to offer.
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Veronica White opened the ceremony. In attendance was Congressman Jose Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Bronx Borough Commissioner Hector Aponte and Executive Director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, David Shuffler all of whom addressed the crowd.
We are thrilled to see this park come to life and to want to thank all those who helped to facilitate this project.
For more information on Starlight Park click here.
May 07, 2013
EPA honors Alliance Exective Director
The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently honored Bronx River Alliance Executive Director Linda Cox.
The Environmental Quality Award, for Protecting and Enhancing Environmental Quality, was presented on April 19th 2013 by EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck (on the left in the above photo). Congratulations, Linda, for all the work you do for the Bronx River!
April 27, 2013
The 2013 Shoelace 10K Fun Run/Walk
Saturday April 27th was the Shoelace Park 10K Fun Run/Walk.
This annual event is your chance to get some great exercise - either walking or running - and to see the very nicest and most natural sections of the Bronx River. The event began at 9:30am at the 219th Street entrance to Shoelace Park. It's presented by Friends of Shoelace Park - and raises funds for their local park stewardship efforts. The 10K (roughly 6-mile) course goes through Shoelace Park, Bronx Park and the Bronx River Forest. The route includes some of the Bronx's most beautiful parks, including some great historic bridges, too. The Bronx River Forest is the only remaining floodplain forest in the lower Bronx River watershed, with extensive restoration of natural habitats. It's the best place to imagine what much of the Bronx looked like about 500 years ago. Spring has sprung - enjoy the blossoms and trees leafing out. Saturday's weather was pefect for running, sunny and in the mid 60s!
For photos of the event, visit Friends of Shoelace Park's Facebook page.
More event information at our Shoelace 10K event page.
April 19, 2013
New 222nd Street Bike Lanes to Connect Co-Op City with Bronx River's Shoelace Park
The Bronx River Alliance was part of a ride-through last weekend to review plans for new bike lanes on 222nd Street. The new bike lanes will run 1.6 miles connecting Co-Op City with Shoelace Park.
(Image: 222nd Street ride through - left to right: Rich Gans, Jennifer Harris-Hernandez, Mel Rodriguez)
The City Transportation Department's (NYCDOT) 222nd Street project will do what's called a "road diet" - converting a 4-lane street with no turn pockets, into a 3-lane street with turn pockets, while adding new bike lanes. Federal research shows that road diets make streets safer for all users: drivers, pedestrians, and, of course, cyclists. NYCDOT is finalizing the designs. The new bike lanes are expected to be striped this summer.
The west end of the new bike lanes will be at the recently-renovated 222nd Street entry point for Shoelace Park. The 222nd Street entry includes a ramp and a stairway to connect into the park, making for easy bike connections to the Bronx River bike path below. The 222nd Street entry area also features rain gardens that soak runoff into the ground, preventing pollution from reaching the Bronx River.
The east end of the new bike lanes will be at the intersection of 222nd Street and Baychester Avenue / Hammersley Avenue, where cyclists can cross the street via a crosswalk, and continue to Co-Op City via the pedestrian bridge over the New England Thruway.
The 222nd Street bike lanes are a project of NYCDOT, but credit also goes to many individuals and organizations that have worked to make them a reality: thanks to Mel Rodriguez, Rich Gans, Transportation Alternatives, the East 222nd Street Block Association, Bronx Community Board 12, and other supporters.
We're looking forward to riding the new lanes this summer!
April 06, 2013
Bronx Beavers in the News
Please check out this nice article in Beaver Sprite that shares some great information on our local beavers.
March 22, 2013
It Takes a Team to Protect a Streambank
On a cold late winter day in the Bronx Forest, the Bronx River Alliance’s Conservation Crew and trainees joined forces with the the Natural Resources Group of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation on a bioengineering project, using willow branches harvested from a fallen tree to help stabilize an eroding section of river bank.
|Preparing fascines for installation.
|Tying up the bundles
|Securing fascine to slope
|"Burrito" method for reinforcing fascine
|Securing lower fascine with stakes
|Drilling hole for live stake.
Fascines are in place on streambank.
The willow branches harvested from the forest were soaked and then used to created “fascines” or live bundles of twigs that are installed horizontally along the streambank. They are placed in shallow trenches on sloped streambanks to reduce erosion. The goal is for the willows to take root, holding the soil in place, and eventually re-vegetating the slope. The fascines were created by soaking live willow cuttings for two weeks and creating bundles on site using twine. Two fascines of approximately 16 feet in length were installed on an eroded streambank just south east of Burke Bridge, an area in desperate need of bank stabilization.
Another technique, planting live stakes, was also employed in the Bronx Forest. Using larger cuttings, live staking involves the insertion of live, rootable cuttings into the ground. If prepared correctly, these stakes will establish and grow, creating a network of roots that stabilizes the soil and extracts excess moisture. Willow species tend to root rapidly and are effective at drying out a bank soon after installation.
These techniques are simple and effective, using readily available materials and helping to improve site conditions. This in turn makes way for the natural colonization of vegetation from the surrounding plant community.
Stay tuned as we monitor the site to see how it goes, and whether our resident beavers will discover the young willow shoots, which is one of their favorite snacks.
March 21, 2013
Education Program laucnhes new series, Wade into the Water
Pull On Your Boots ... Bronx River Education Team Launches "Wade into the Bronx River" - A Series of Lectures, Workshops and Walks
This year Bronx River educators are presenting four events:
See our flyer for details. All events are open to the public!
- March 20: "Migration Reform: Opening Up the Bronx River to Migratory Fish" a talk at the Arsenal in Central Park by Queens College Professor Dr. John Waldman.
- June 5: A naturalist's walk in the Forest on World Environment Day.
- Early September (date TBD): "Sewershed v. watershed - what's the difference?"an educator training on how to teach these concepts.
- Late October (date TBD) - A report on Bronx River Water Quality over the past decade
March 20, 2013
Migration Reform: Opening up the Bronx River to Migratory Fish
Veronica M. White Commissioner
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
And the Bronx River Alliance
Invites you to an event in the
Uncommon Ground lecture series
Migration Reform: Opening up the Bronx River to Migratory Fish
Join us as we celebrate the start of construction of NYC’s first fish ladder and fish migration with an evening of discourse, discussion and dance.
Scientist and author John Waldman will preview his latest book on the history and fate of diadromous fish, researcher George Jackman will share early results on a current WCS/NOAA Bronx River eel study, the Bronx River Fish Passage plans will be presented and choreographer Paloma McGregor will present a work based on her long term interest in fish and the people who study their behavior.
In the spring of 2013, construction is expected to begin on the first of three fish passages on the Bronx River. The “Fish Ladder,” as it is also called, is intended to permit fish migration for alewife for the first time in 330 years, and improve migration of American eels. Both of these species are on the decline worldwide and this small project is part of larger efforts to support biodiversity in the world’s oceans.
Wednesday, March 20
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Reception to Follow
The Arsenal Gallery
64th Street and Fifth Avenue
Free. Event seating is limited, to RSVP please email:
March 18, 2013
Community Boards Consider Safe Streets Proposals to Connect Bronx River Parks
The face of the southern Bronx River has changed in recent years. There are great new parks, including Hunts Point Riverside Park, Concrete Plant Park, Starlight Park, and more on the way. Unfortunately it's difficult for neighbors to walk or bike to these new parks, due to obstacles including rail lines, expressways, and busy streets. Fortunately, there's a proposal to make some streets safer and to better connect communities with our river.
The Alliance and our Greenway Team partners, especially Boogie Down Rides, Bike the Bronx, and Transportation Alternatives, worked with NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a proposal for new street improvements that make it easier to bike and walk to new Bronx River parks, especially where Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Avenue/Expressway cross the Bronx River. DOT responded to community concerns, and designed a proposal to re-work several streets and intersections. The new plans maintain the capacity for existing car and truck traffic, while making the streets safer and more convenient for walking and bicycling.
DOT presented their proposal to Bronx Community Boards 2 and 9 in mid-January. UPDATED 4/25/2013 CB9 did not have quorum on March 21, so CB vote postponed - now expected April 18th 2013. CB9 meets at 1967 Turnbull Avenue, Bronx, NY 10473. Note: no entrance on Turnbull Ave. Meeting room is on the second floor of the mall north of Turnbull – enter parking lot off White Plains Road between Story Ave and Turnbull Ave. If you like these proposals (or even if you don't), the Bronx River Alliance encourages you to attend the upcoming CB9 meeting and let them know what you think.
If you're unfamiliar with these streets, watch this Alliance/Transportation Alternatives/Boogie Down Rides video that explains existing conditions and concerns. See the full DOT proposal presentations here, and a Streetsblog article summarizing them here.
Below are some highlights from DOT's proposals: (These are proposals, as presented in January, not finalized. Things may change somewhat during final approval processes.)
On Westchester Avenue at Edgewater Road (between the Sheridan and the River), existing traffic lanes are preserved and re-striped. New bike lanes on Westchester and a new 2-way bikeway will connect to both Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park.
On Edgewater Road from Westchester to Starlight Park, new bike lanes will be added. This portion of Edgewater is along the Sheridan Expressway, and tends to serve as a Sheridan on-ramp. The Sheridan on-ramp is preserved, while making for safer bike connections to Starlight Park.
On Westchester Avenue at Whitlock, existing traffic lanes are preserved, while new painted "curb extensions" make for safer pedestrian crossings, making it easier to get to river parks.
March 01, 2013
"River of Hope" - a feature on the Bronx River from the NY Times (2012)
If you missed it the first time (or would just like to re-read it), check out Michael Kimmelman's profile on the Bronx River from 2012, A River of Hope in the Bronx.
February 07, 2013
Starlight Park is Open!
Starlight Park is open! The official ceremonies haven’t happened yet, but construction is complete and fences are down and the Bronx River Greenway’s newest park is open to the public. Enter at 177th, 174th or the north end of Edgewater Road, by the Sheridan Expressway onramp. Ride a bike, swing on a swing, shoot hoops, play some fútbol, take a walk, or just sit and enjoy the view of the Bronx River.
Big thanks to New York State Department of Transportation and New York City Parks Department for creating and maintaining Starlight Park. Also big thanks to Bronx community leaders without whom this park wouldn’t exist.
Note that this is just Phase 1 of Starlight Park. Additional water and bathrooms will be installed shortly, expect by late 2013. There's also a planned phase 2 that needs your help. Right now Starlight Park is 13 acres with 0.6miles of bike path. Soon, it should be 15 acres, with a mile of bike path, including three new bridges to connect the greenway east to 172nd Street and south to Westchester Avenue. Help get Starlight's phase 2 built! Read more about our Bridge the Gap campaign here, and add your name to the petition here. If you've already signed, share with your friends.
Starlight Park's official ribbon-cutting ceremonies haven’t been scheduled yet – but are expected in the next month or so. We'll announce it here as soon as it's confirmed. In the meantime, check out the brand new Starlight Park and let us know what you think!
Updated: Click here for a flier showing how to get to Starlight Park and where to park at Starlight Park.
photo copyright Charles R Berenguer Jr.
January 29, 2013
30+ Years of Bronx River Restoration on Display at the Bronx River Art Center Gallery
A new exhibit highlighting 30+ years of restoration on the Bronx River will open on Friday, Feburary 1 at the Bronx River Art Center's Gallery space at 305 E. 140th Street, #1A, Bronx, NY 10454.
Process and Progress: Drew Manahan, Meta Local Collaborative & The Bronx River Alliance showcases the past, the present and the future of commnuity and government efforts to restore the Bronx River. According to BRAC, "Architect Drew Manahan explores how the wilderness around the river has resurfaced within the South Bronx's urban environment through renderings and drawings and how this evolving ecology and the river is creating new ephemeral or transcendental experiences for the borough's inhabitants."
In addition, Meta Local Collaboratiive has partnered with the Bronx River Alliance to curate a selection of photos, plans, maps, documents from our archives, dating back to the early days of Bronx River Restoration in the 1970s. "These images trace how spaces along the river have changed throughout the years, revisit past restoration and recreation plans, and consider the river's present state and plans for its future," according to BRAC. "Meta Local is showcasing work they are developing which focuses on public access to the Bronx River Greenway."
January 10, 2013
Urban Omnibus: "We Want it Back: Reclaiming the Bronx River"
"In 2009, after ten years of living, working and teaching in Spain, Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi, principals of SLO Architecture, began what would become a series of long-term projects in the Bronx. .... Their latest project is Bronx River Right-of-Way, a proposal to reuse a historically significant, but abandoned train station adjacent to Concrete Plant Park."
Read the full article here.
Bronx River Right-of-Way | Center: former waiting room of Westchester Avenue Station moved to the riverside and reused as a boathouse
Bronx River Right-of-Way | Right: Former head house with a new bridge connecting Westchester Avenue to Concrete Plant Park
Bronx River Right-of-Way | View of new entryway and boathouse from Concrete Plant Park
January 10, 2013
Action Alert: Support Better Bike and Pedestrian Access to our New Parks!
Show your support for better bicycle and pedestrian access to our new parks at two upcoming Community Board meetings
Our major successes on the southern Bronx River are our new parks, particularly Hunts Point Riverside Park, Concrete Plant Park, and Starlight Park (opening soon!). As wonderful as these new parks are, access to them is poor.
We have been working with NYCDOT for several years to develop improvements that would make it easier to bike and walk to these new parks. DOT has prepared formal recommendations and will be presenting them to Community Boards 2 and 9 next week.
Please come and show your support for these improvements at these Community Board meetings! These improvements will enable more and more folks of all ages and abilities to access the wonderful new parks along the Bronx River Greenway.
To learn more about why these improvements are so important, watch a great video prepared by the Bronx River Greenway Team, Boogie Down Rides, Bike the Bronx, and Transportation Alternatives. And join us at these upcoming meetings!
Community Board 9, Public Service & Housing Committee
Date: Tuesday, January 15
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: 1967 Turnbull Avenue, 2nd Floor, Room 7, Bronx, NY
Community Board 2, Municipal Services Committee
Date: Wednesday, January 16
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: 1029 East 163rd Street, Bronx, NY
Our new parks are beautiful and great for biking and walking
But access roads like this one (the on-ramp to the Sheridan Expressway
from Westchester Ave) make them difficult to access!
January 08, 2013
Streetsblog covers Bridge the Gap campaign
"Bronx River Advocates Petition State and City to Fix Greenway Gap" by Stephen Miller. Monday, January 7, 2013.
"While a network of parks continues to sprout along the banks of the Bronx River, a dangerous gap between two parks could fester for years, preventing the creation of a continuous, safe walking and biking route for local residents. Advocates have launched a petition asking the city and state to overcome bureaucratic hurdles to complete the missing link, so people don’t have to risk their lives biking and walking across a freeway on-ramp between two parks."
Read complete article here.
January 02, 2013
NY Times Tells Story of Why We Must Bridge the Gap on the Bronx River Greenway
A Long-Closed Park Is Soon to Reopen, Improved Yet Still Hard to Reach. By David Gonzalez. December 28, 2012
Sign the petition to Bridge the Gap on the Bronx River Greenway!
All David Shuffler wanted to do when he was 14 years old was play basketball on the street and go to Starlight Park – which despite its name was a dimly lighted, dusty sliver tucked between the Bronx River and the Sheridan Expressway.
A lot has happened since that time. The park, thanks to the work of grass-roots groups and New York City and State agencies, has been remade into a green gem and will soon reopen after more than a decade. It’s part of a trail known as the Bronx River Greenway, which was designed to connect the tip of the South Bronx and the shaded, grassy parks up in Westchester County, with parks, pedestrian bridges and bike paths along the way.
And some things haven’t changed. Mr. Shuffler, 33, still lives in his childhood home. And it’s still a hard trek getting to the park. Read the complete story here.