Saturday, November 01, 2008

Industrial polluter near Saugerties busted!

These photos were taken at an industrial site north of Saugerties, where industrial by-products have been illegally discharged for years into a large secluded fresh water wetland, which flows into the Hudson. The pH of the effluent is 12.3, which is close to the pH of Clorox! The wetland is completely dead. This case started with a tip from a local resident in 2005. We conducted multiple boat and aerial patrols, which turned up TWO separate industrial pollution sources. Details are omitted here because these cases are active and being monitored by Riverkeeper. But you’ll be pleased to know that both polluters were BUSTED. Both discharges have been stopped and the wetland will be restored.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Testing Water Quality

Scientist Andy Juhl and assistant Carol Knudson from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory processing samples. We “cook” the microbial samples for 24 hours at 41 degrees centigrade in our onboard incubator. This equipment allows us to sample day after day on patrol without having to return to the Lamont lab every evening.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Testing Water Quality at Kingston

Collecting a sample directly from the outfall of the Kingston sewage treatment plant,
which discharges into Rondout Creek in downtown Kingston.

Rondout Creek is heavily used by fishermen, recreational boaters, kayakers and swimmers. We sample at three locations during every patrol. Some days the cleanest water we find is at the sewage treatment plant discharge. That means that raw untreated sewage is entering the creek at other locations. The local health department does not test in Rondout Creek and posts no warnings for the public. Meanwhile, the DEC renews permits to the City of Kingston for raw sewage overflows and Kingston plans to build a few thousand new housing units that will tap into the existing sewage treatment system.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Atlantic Sturgeon "young of year"

This photo of an Atlantic sturgeon “young of year” says it all. At the hand of fishermen they have been almost eliminated from the Hudson for their flesh and their eggs (caviar). And by the hand of man they may be restored. The spawning run today is estimated to include fewer than 300 females. A few centuries ago their numbers were thought to be “countless.” We fished them down to the brink before the fishery was closed in 1996. Riverkeeper assists the DEC Fisheries team with their Atlantic sturgeon monitoring program. Time will tell whether we stopped the harvest in time. This little fish will have to survive until she is almost 20 before she returns to her natal river to spawn for the first time. She is hope for the future.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Conover.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Kids Swimming in the Hudson

Kids swimming in the Hudson from a boat club in Westchester

Riverkeeper has been conducting a water quality survey since the fall of 2006. These photos show why.

Kids swimming in the Hudson from the Harlem River at High Bridge

People are swimming everywhere in the Hudson and in NY Harbor. We believe that the public has a right to know if the water they swim in is safe. It SHOULD be safe 37 years after passage of the Clean Water Act. But that’s often not the case. We hope our data will encourage the public to become more engaged and demand water quality information from NY State and county health departments.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Water Quality Sampling Tray

This is a microbial sample tray viewed under UV light after incubating 24 hours on the patrol boat.

All the fluorescent wells are alive with Enterococcus bacteria, an indicator of untreated human waste. A strong result such as this one indicates a cell count GREATER than 24,000 entero cells per 100 milliliter sample. Federal guidelines recommend closure of beaches at 104 cells per 100ml and above. So this is really bad water.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lovett Power Plant

Lovett Power Plant. No gunderboom barrier has been rigged as required by the plant's permit to exclude fish, larvae and eggs. This plant has shut down because of multiple air and water intake permit violations.

There is no flow at the intake or discharge points. No steam venting at any stacks. No more air pollution and fish kills from this dinosaur.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sampling for fish larvae with SUNY Stony Brook

We were sampling for fish larvae counts with the SUNY Stony Brook team when Clearwater sailed by between us and Indian Point.

Damn environmentalists are everywhere.

The Department of Homeland Security boat passing under our stern - very close to the sample net for larvae. SUNY Stony Brook researchers on the stern.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Early spring debris- natural & manmade

We've had days of very high spring tides and no wind so an amazing amount of debris has floated off the riverbanks. It's all still out here because there hasn't been any wind to sweep it all ashore again.

I find many of these blue plastic 55 gal drums. They are extensively used as floatation for floating docks at boat clubs and marinas. This one is empty and light but full ones are very heavy.

A massive new structure under construction just south of Norrie Point at Hyde Park.
I'm told that this is a private residence. A lovely small home stood here until last year which was almost entirely hidden by trees.

Catch of the day from Kingston to Nyack. Totals for the six day patrol:

9 - Tires with metal rims attached
5 - plastic 55 gal drums
1 - 1 gal plastic bottle 1 - 2'x4' plastic/foam sheet 20 cubic feet dock styrofoam
4 - party balloons
5 - plastic drink bottles. Passed hundreds more.
1 - boat fender
1 - 5 gal plastic cooler
1 - 3 gal steel Freon tank
1 - soccer ball
1 - 2 gal plastic bucket 1 - duck decoy. He's my friend.

More floating debris. "All natural" this time. Looking south toward Blue Point beyond the Poughkeepsie Bridges. This is why I don't like to run at night.

Looking south toward Storm King. Spring at the bottom but still winter at the top.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bard students on patrol

A Hudson River writing class from Bard with Professor Susan Rogers. I met them in Kingston and we ran south to Esopus Island and back late in the day. We'll get to see what they write about the day.

I had them on the edge of their chairs the whole time.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Albany Observations

A new abandoned wreck just at the south end of Albany's Corning Preserve. It is very difficult to find any state or municipal agency which will get involved in cases like this.

Intake structure at Bethlehem Energy Center. No gunderboom screens have been rigged this year as required by their permit. Shad and herring spawning is taking place now. I've notified DEC Fisheries Unit.

New construction just south of Albany where a smaller home existed before.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Observations: Kingston to Castleton

Rondout Creek patrol early morning. Looking east at the CSX RR bridge. I don't go under the bridge when there is a train crossing. Chicken.

A flexible hose, like fire hose, has been led down the south bank of Catskill Creek from the area of the swimming pool at Forlini's Resort. We saw this hose coiled at the top of the slope several years ago. I investigated and found that the resort had closed. Now the hose has been deployed, presumably to pump out the pool.

At this time it may just be water which accumulated over the winter but it indicates that the resort may be reopening and we will have to warn them about discharging chlorinated water pool later in the season.

The smaller black suction pipe visible near the fire hose is probably used to suck up creek water for use at the resort. Catskill Creek is a spawning ground and home for a number of fish species.

Between Catskill Creek and The Rip Van Winkle Bridge on the west bank and straight across from Olana. Visitors to Olana get this view looking west. Another case of "Too bad sucker, I've got my beautiful view and to hell with yours". Good thing Frederic Church isn't round. He might go postal.

A very well established camp on Primming Hook on east bank north of Hudson. All the building materials were brought in by boat. This is prime habitat. To the north is a Scenic Hudson marsh. To the south is Open Space Institute land at Hudson. To the east is the Amtrak rail line. Clearing the camps (this is one of two) and adding this parcel to the surrounding preserved area would be great.

Eroded bank at Castleton Boat Club. In the past the club used waste cement test cylinders, spent machinery and extra building materials as fill and we warned them about the illegality of doing so again.

Erosion over the winter has exposed tires buried sometime in the past as fill. Very tidy stacking. How many tires are buried at the site? How much and what other kinds of waste material were buried?

An active Bald Eagle nest with kayakers below. Moments after I took this photo the eagle swooped down and attacked one of the kayakers. (Just kidding!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Observations: Newburgh to Poughkeepsie

Northbound on 1st patrol to Troy this year. Flat ass calm in Newburgh Bay. Looking south at Storm King and the northern edge of the Highlands. Bannerman's Castle on the left.

High School rowing teams at Newburgh. Youth and adult rowing is getting more and more popular. There are clubs and teams at a number of locations on the river from NYC to Albany.

Clearing ground at the south end of the Poughkeepsie waterfront. This area was wooded. Now all the trees have been knocked down with heavy machinery. Across the river is a beautiful high ridge above Blue Point preserved by Scenic Hudson. No one seems to want any trees blocking their view.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fish larvae sampling near Indian Point

Santiago Salinas from SUNY Stony Brook and his helper for the day, Jin Gao, with their larvae sample net just north of Indian Point. This is the first day of sampling. Last year we sampled monthly but this year we'll increase to two days per month. Last years study found rapid changes in species and numbers of larvae. Doubling the sampling interval will increase resolution.

Sampling will probably continue through August. After that fish will likely have grown beyond larval stage.

Indian Point power plant uses 2,200,000,000 gallons of river water per day for cooling and kills billions of fish larvae As well as young of year, yearlings and adults.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Marjam Construction on Newtown Creek

Basil pointing at a new discharge pipe from a cement supplier just south of the Kosciusko Bridge on the Brooklyn side of the creek.

Marjam Construction is throwing waste material out the far end of the storage containers across the property line and into the creek. We enforced against Marjam several years ago for a similar violation. We saw this current dumping start in December 2007.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sunk boat pulled from river

Two boats were left anchored off Piermont this winter. During the one cold snap the power boat sank and overturned. No doubt the bilge water and pump froze so she filled enough to back flood through some hull fitting.

Riverkeeper investigated locally to find which marina had moored the boat. In partnership with Piermont Police Department Riverkeeper contacted the marina operator who at first denied ownership or responsibility. He said that the boat had been taken by a title search company and that the prior owners had moored it off the town for the winter to avoid storage fees.

The title search company did not return calls from Riverkeeper.

Riverkeeper persuaded the marina operator that it was very much in his best interest to refloat the wreck and haul it ashore to prevent a very imminent DEC spill response team response and subsequent law suit to recover costs for remediation and recovery


The boat was refloated by the marina operator. The cabin is crushed because the boat overturned in shallow water and at low tide the cabin top was hitting the bottom.


Boat has been hauled ashore.

As a good will gesture to the marina RK arranged for free disposal of the wreck through our relationship with "Keep Rockland Beautiful".

The marina removed the fuel tank, engine, stern drive and all fluids - all items prohibited at the dump/transfer station. We are pleased that the wreck was quickly salvaged. This event sets a new, higher standard of marina responsibility in Piermont.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Patrol boat repairs

Winter service. Repairing port side deck.

Other projects:
Sand and paint underside of wheelhouse to Sand and paint transom Remove and replace interior hull ceiling in head and main cabin to gain access to inside of hull planking.

Remove port and starboard windshields and fit temporary replacement. Full replacement windshields are on order for future installation.

Rot in deck, half beam, deck clamp and frame end on port side.

This was hidden by fiberglass deck sheathing and only a small of water was visible below deck. The water migrated to the joint in the plywood deck panel from under the toe rail at a fastener.

We'll laminate the deck repair to eliminate the joint - creating one continuous panel.

Opening joint in plywood deck on port side after removing fiberglass deck sheathing.

The joint forward of this one has started to rot (above photo). We're going to glue this one up so that there will be no seam for water to enter - it'll all be one continuous panel.

I'm also refastening the entire port side deck forward of the working deck.

Petersen's boatyard carpenter Lee Roach helping with deck repair.

He's also replacing the interior hull ceiling so that we have access to the hull for future service. The old ceiling was nailed on and blocked access. The new pieces will be screwed on for ease of removal.

We need access to the inside of the hull planking to begin refastening the planking butts -see pattern of heavy fasteners through butt blocks.