Friday, July 07, 2006

Legal Sewage Discharges in NY

Raw sewage and rainwater discharging into the Hudson at Troy after heavy rains. The green sign above the discharge is a NY State Department of Environmental Protection PERMIT sign. I've been told that there are around 60,000 DEC pollution permits in New York State. The permit makes it more difficult for Riverkeeper to challenge the polluter - but not impossible.

Illegal Squatter Camps

Small camps like this one are springing up all over the upper part of the estuary - where the "wild" shoreline is. This one is new; I first saw it today. It's located on land owned by CSX railroad just north of Mill Creek in Stuyvesant. It's prime habitat and right next to the Mill Creek parcel owned by The Nature Conservancy. Squatter camps like this are fragmenting some of the best habitat that remains. Riverkeeper will notify CSX and TNC.

Testing for beach safety in Ulster County?

Public swimming beach at Kingston Point just north of Rondout Creek. The area has had record rains the last three days which causes many sewage plants to overflow into the Hudson. Yet here we see people swimming. Riverkeeper contacted the Ulster County Health Department and asked if water quality was routinely tested after wet weather events to check for sewage related contamination at this public beach.

No, testing is done only three times a year; on 7/13, 8/3 and 8/17. With all the talk of opening additional swimming beaches on the Hudson shouldn't testing be more thorough and shouldn't testing be done after storms as a matter of course?

Young Bald Eagles on Tracks

Schodack Creek - two immature Bald Eagles on the east side railroad track (they're called "immature" because they don't have the white markings which begin to show at four years of age). This is the track for the high speed Amtrak trains. Eagle mortality from high speed trains is significant. Eagles sometimes eat on "railroad kills" and don't have the room or speed to get out of the way when trains approach.

Rain brings turbidity & pollution for the river

Record heavy rains fell on June 26, 27 and 28 during our June patrol to Troy causing massive erosion in the watersheds of several Hudson River tributaries. In one photo you see the brown flood blowing out into the Hudson at the Kingston Lighthouse on Rondout Creek. The other shows the Hudson tinted red/orange from sediment flushing out of Esopus Creek at Saugreties. The flood also carried out a tremendous load of plastic trash which will litter the shoreline for years to come.

It was interesting to see that tributaries flowing through undisturbed countryside still ran clear in spite of the deluge - with no sediment load from erosion. Most erosion is due to overdevelopment, road construction and impervious surfaces - sprawl.

LDEO's Acoustic Doppler Retrieved

Photos by John Lipsomb

Off Indian Point to retrieve an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler for Lamont-Doherty. We deployed this unit on May 5th and it has been recording a 3-D image of current speed and direction since then. The area around Indian Point and Stony Point is where the north end of the "salt wedge" is often located and there are some very interesting mixing dynamics at this location. One photo shows the actual retreival process and the other shows the ADCP on deck with Indian Point in the background.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Australia News asking about Nuclear Power Plants

6/19/06 Off Indian Point with a film crew from the Australian Broadcast Corporation. Australian's are debating whether or not to constuct their first nuclear power plants and Riverkeeper was asked to comment on the issues surrounding nuclear power and the danger of a possible terrorist strike on a nuke plant.

Photos by John Lipscomb

Oil near Metro North Depot in Croton

Petroleum product escaping from bottom sediment at the mouth of the Croton River near a storm drain at the Metro North Croton Rail Yards. This site was brought to Riverkeeper's attention by a member of the public. We have asked Metro North to investigate and respond.

Rockland shoreline cleanup

We partnered with volunters from "Keep Rockland Beautiful" to clean up three small beaches between Nyack and Haverstraw which are reachable only on foot or by boat. We collected about 10 yards of trash - mostly plastic drink bottles, plastic dock foam and tires with rims still attached.