Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Clearwater in Haverstraw Bay

On October 18th we were southbound from Kingston to Ossining, midway through our October water quality sampling patrol, when we came upon the Hudson River Sloop  Clearwater in Haverstraw Bay. She is always beautiful, but today she was more lovely than usual.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Collaborating on Hudson River Pollution Enforcement

Much of our work on the Riverkeeper boat involves enforcement on behalf of the Hudson River and its tributaries.  While we do not have legal jurisdiction over polluters (i.e. legal investigations & arrests) we are lucky enough to work with agencies that do.  Because we're constantly out on the water, in and out of the back canals of Brooklyn, and covering all 164 miles of the Hudson River, we are often some of the first eyes to witness water pollution.

We recently brought several members of the Department of Justice's US Attorneys office for the Southern District of New York as well as members of the EPA's Region 2 Criminal Enforcement Unit for a tour of Newtown Creek and the East River.  Our focus was discussing cases throughout the Hudson Valley that we can collaborate on in the future.  You can bet that we're looking forward to working together in the future!

Riverkeeper attorney and chief investigator, Josh Verleun (far right), discussing Riverkeeper's involvement in enforcement on Newtown Creek

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ecology Research with the College of Mount Saint Vincent

The Riverkeeper boat serves many purposes on the Hudson River, sometimes as a watchdog and patrol vessel, sometimes as a platform for scientific research and water quality monitoring, and sometimes as an ambassador for the river.  This past weekend we were able to fill all of these roles at once while on patrol with ecology students from the College of Mount Saint Vincent.

The focus of the outing was using science to influence policy and letting data "speak for itself," which is a major theme of our water quality research.  Students measured turbidity and salinity while aboard.  The students were also able to learn how about how the river is a giant living being thing that experiences environmental changes constantly. 

We find that the ability to conduct research on the boat instead of in a lab is always a positive experience, especially on a beautiful fall day on the Hudson.

Thanks to Professor Patricia Grove and her students for a great outing!

Captain Lipscomb giving some history of the Riverkeeper boat.
Professor Patricia Grove explaining the use of a Secchi disk to measure turbidity.
Captain Lipscomb showing students what a "hot" water quality sample looks like once it's processed.  The fluorescence indicates Entero growth.
Rob Friedman explaining salinity stratification in the river.

Monday, October 03, 2011

UPDATE: Beacon Water Quality Notification 9/30

We sampled the water quality at 9 PM sharp on 9/30, just before low tide when the sewage discharge was separate and distinct from river water. We were unable to resample earlier in the day because the tide was unusually high and up to the discharge pipe.

The Enterococcus levels were again higher than our measurement limit using a 1 in 10 dilution, >24,196 Entero per 100 ml. That is greater than 397 times the EPA guideline for acceptable water quality for primary contact - 61 Enterococcus per 100/ml. The water from this discharge pipe is very contaminated with sewage.

As of 9/30, this discharge has been active since Friday the 17th (at least) when it was first reported to Riverkeeper - that's 14 days. There was no signage or police tape at the site to warn the public against contacting the contaminated water.

testing tray
Sample tray from 9 PM, 9/30 sample, 1/10 dilution. All wells fluorescing indicating result >24,196 Entero per 100 ml - more than 397 times the EPA guideline for acceptable water quality (61 Entero per 100/ml).

Outing with Nyack Elected Officials

L to R: Cathy Friesen (Chair of Zoning Board of Appeals), Mayor Richard Kavesh, Riverkeeper Captain John Lipscomb, Jen Laird White (Deputy Mayor), Candice Robins, Doug Foster (Village Trustee), in front Owen (son of Cathy Friesen)
We recently had the opportunity to take several residents and elected officials of Nyack on a river patrol of their community to discuss issues ranging from water quality to trash disposal.  The purpose of the outing centered around building relationships, both between Riverkeeper and Nyack's elected officials, as well as between Nyack and the river.   We look forward to continuing to build these relationships moving forward!