Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Catch of the Day 9/28

We're back again with another Catch of the Day, this time with a porta-potty door (sans porta-potty), two tires, several plastic jugs, and a lot of foam we picked up in Peekskill Bay.  The tide is extremely high today and it refloated a ton of stranded garbage on the shoreline.

And a Catch of the Day from a few days ago we failed to post.  We picked up all of this debris in one day travelling between Kingston and Ossining.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beacon Sewage Overflow

Raw sewage is flowing into the Beacon Harbor from a pipe at the northeastern corner of the harbor.

A member of the public called this sewage release into Riverkeeper's office on Saturday, September 17. Riverkeeper investigated the report, documented the discharge and called it into the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and authorities in the City of Beacon on Sunday, September 18.

Riverkeeper sampled in the area of the discharge on September 23. That sampling confirmed very high sewage levels (>24,196 per 100/ml, the highest our system can read). Based on this data, and the lack of public notification for this ongoing release, today we issued a press release strongly advising the public to avoid contact with the water in Beacon Harbor until the source of the spill has been fixed and testing confirms that water quality has returned to acceptable levels.

Video showing the flow rate of the spill
The blue color of the water is typical for sewage spills

The water is flowing out of this spillway and into the harbor

This is the view of the harbor with the source of the sewage overflow behind you

Debris that appears to be toilet paper clings to the branches of shrubs next to the overflowing pipe
Learn about our push for a Sewage Right to Know Law for New York State
See our historic water quality data for Beacon Harbor

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Bear in the Hudson!

We just came upon a bear swimming across the river just north of the Bear Mountain Bridge in Con Hook!  

We're returning from our September water quality patrol, the results of which can be found here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Take A Virtual Boat Ride Through Hell

Since 2002, Riverkeeper has been engaged in pollution enforcement and litigation on Newtown Creek, most notably against ExxonMobil, to ensure that it is once again clean waterway.  Remember, before Europeans arrived in New York, Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal were both extremely biologically diverse marine habitats for countless species.  Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, many of these species have been forced elsewhere.

In an effort to restore this polluted waterway to its natural state, Riverkeeper Boat Captain John Lipscomb was recently joined by photographer Mitch Waxman and brownfields specialist Damion Lawyer on a day-long survey of Newtown Creek, which divides Brooklyn and Queens.  The team conducted a photographic survey of the entire shoreline of the Creek, including Dutch Kills and Maspeth Creek, as part of Riverkeeper’s work on the Newtown Creek Brownfields Opportunity Area (BOA) study.  Riverkeeper is working to complete the state funded study in partnership with Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center  and the Newtown Creek Alliance.  The BOA is a community-based economic development planning process focused on the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites along the Creek.  The study will focus on preserving industry, cultivating new industrial uses, exploring opportunities for new infrastructure, increasing waterfront access and open space, restoring habitat, and enhancing the interconnections between those who live and work near the Creek.

Click the links below to view a map visualization of the entire shoreline survey:

For more on the BOA, please visit this link.

And some of our favorite photos from the survey. All that's missing is the awful smell coming from the Creek:

A combined sewer overflow (CSO) on Newtown Creek
A CSO on Newtown Creek
A scrap barge on Newtown Creek
A CSO on Newtown Creek
Garbage and debris in Maspeth Creek

Photos courtesy of Mitch Waxman

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catch of the Day

We're happy to introduce a new feature on the blog, titled Catch of the Day," where we showcase notable things we pull out of the river.

Today it's a household hot water heater we found just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge.  This species is not native to the Hudson.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Seining With The Shad Restoration Project

An exciting collaboration is underway as the result of Riverkeeper and the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic settling an enforcement action with Mirant Corporation over violations at their Lovett power plant.

Seining with the SUNY-ESF team in Catskill
Riverkeeper allocated the full amount of the settlement ($115,000) to a new project, which is focused on researching parts of Hudson River habitat most favorable to successful spawning of young shad.  Chris Nack, grandson of legendary shad fisherman, Everett Nack, is one of the principal leaders of the project, which is a partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

This is one of those rare cases where an environmental violator, in this case an industry that was killing fish, pays its fine directly to the affected community - the fish!

Through this research, we're one step closer to the day when the Hudson will once again have thriving populations of all its native fish species.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Entero Sampling With the Sparkill Creek Alliance

Each month, the Riverkeeper Patrol Boat travels the entire length of the Hudson River conducting water quality sampling.  In recent years, we have begun to work with local groups to conduct sampling on tributaries that feed the Hudson.  This is a crucial endeavor in determining where exactly sewage contamination is occurring.

Sparkill Creek is a waterway that snakes through eastern Rockland County before it flows into the river via Piermont Marsh.  

Based on our sampling data, its sewage counts are consistently unacceptable.  Our collaborative presence on the Creek is crucial to its restoration.

Matt and Aleksandra sampling at Tappan Oak Tree Rd. 

Aleksandra and Matt sampling at the Jersey Arm section of the Sparkill.

Leaving the Sparkill with samples on ice.

 Captain Lipscomb explains incubation procedures for samples collected that day.

Learn more about Riverkeeper's water quality sampling program.

Photos courtesy of Laurie Peak

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Riverkeeper and Hurricane Irene

In response to Hurricane Irene, the Riverkeeper Patrol Boat, the R. Ian Fletcher, retreated upstate to the Coxsackie area.  The photos in the following slideshow were taken before, during, and after the storm.

For photo captions double click on the image.

Our prayers go out to those affected by the storm, especially boat-owners in upstate New York.