Saturday, April 28, 2007

River Herring in the Hudson in decline

Two almost dead herring in a holding pen at a bait supplier's dock. When they are almost dead their eyes fog up - like cataracts. River Herring (Alewife and Blueback) are taken during their spawning runs as bait for the recreational Stripped Bass fishery. Populations of both (as well as Shad, which is also a herring) have crashed in the region.

In Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut all herring fisheries are closed. It's illegal to POSSESS a herring in those states but in NY the fishery continues. In NY the DEC would like to have better science on the health of the River Herring runs but the Fisheries Unit hasn't received sufficient funding in the past to gather that data. Without data it's hard to institute management plans or closures. 

Riverkeeper is asking that protection of the Hudson's signature species be fully funded and given the highest priority. Learn more.

Photo by John Lipscomb
4/28: The Half Moon. A replica of Henry Hudson’s ship.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Patrolling north through the federal dam

We were southbound from Waterford through the Federal Lock at Troy. Below this last lock is the tidal estuary - 150 miles to the Battery. This Lock Keeper is always interested to know what's happening on the river so we held the lock to compare river notes. These are interesting men - like lighthose keepers.

This is a well established nest near Coeymans. Looks like mom or pop is standing watch.
In the past RK has reported tree cutting and land clearing activity near this nest to the DEC.
For almost 100 years there were no nesting pairs on the HR Estuary - now there are at least 18. Full credit goes to the DEC Endangered Species Unit.

On 6/28 the US Dept. of the Interior removed the Bald Eagle from the endangered species list. The birds are still protected by the Bald Eagle Act of 1940.

We checked a backwater tidal steam and marsh near the eagle nesting site. The deck of the bridge has been removed but people are crossing on the steel beams and there is a well worn path heading off into the wooded/wild area next to the river. The "Road Closed" sign has a hundred or so bullet holes in it. A guy with a gun can do a lot of damage to signs - and wildlife. Riverkeeper is asking the State to set aside more land for wildlife protection in the upper Estuary.

Photos by John Lipscomb
John Mylod fishing just South of Poughkeepsie for Shad. He reported lots of bass and strippers but only the beginning of Shad.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tanker in Hyde Park

Photos by John Lipscomb
4/25: Tanker anchored off Hyde Park. This is the same anchorage spot where Exxon was caught discharging oily wastewater into the River back in the 1980’s.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Harlem River patrol

Photos by John Lipscomb4/20/07: Sited a third dumping spot at the church property on the Harlem River near Highbridge. All last year they used only two locations. This property has been dumping all kinds of trash and waste into the River. We have contacted the church numerous times and Riverkeeper has been gently asking for a cleanup for a year now.

Leaving Harlem River at dawn.
Catch of the Day. After last week's nor’easter we caught a "Tenfootinflatablerubberboatfish". Species common to marinas and yacht harbors.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gowanus Canal Water Quality - Yuck!

Photos by John Lipscomb
Sample from the bottom of the Gowanus Canal

4/18/07: At the Gowanus Canal we sampled with Lamont-Doherty's Greg O'Mullan, as part of our water quality pilot program.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Testing Water Quality with the Interstate Env'l Commission

Photo by John Lipscomb4/16/07: We patrolled with a researcher from Interstate Environmental Commission collecting water quality indicators and enterococcus between Bear Mountain and Piermont.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pollution and sprawl appear along our shores

Photos by John Lipscomb4/11/07: Development in Middle Hope just north of Newburgh. There is a wetland on other side of the tracks. This is a perfect example of sprawl and poor land stewardship. We’ve been monitoring this development for three years but there has been no clear violation of the Clean Water Act.

Continued up to Poughkeepsie at Clinton Point with a Pace student to investigate a quarry owned by Tilcon. This is the 3rd student to work on the case. We are contesting the DEC’s permits for discharges into Hudson. This delta creek contains stone dust and gravel.

Stopped at site of new house construction between Manitou at Garrison. For some reason the builder decided to throw the demolition debris into the river – we are proceeding with enforcement.
Patrolled at Tomkins Cove and the Lovett Power Plant. Took some pictures of their yellow gunderboom which is a fish and larvae excluding curtain. This kind of set up is a poor substitute for closed cycle cooling. The gunderboom is open at the north end which entirely defeats the purpose of the boom. We have an attorney working on the case.