2017 HRRP Jane’s Walk

Join HRRP for our 2017 Jane’s Walk, as we hike along the trail to the top of the Pelham Bay land fill, to view the Hutchinson River and surroundings from a unique perspective. This year, we’re proud have Pelham Bay Park’s Natural Areas Manager, John Grayley, lead our walk. John will talk about the history and current condition of the Hutch.


From the Jane’s Walk website:
What is a Jane’s Walk?: Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighborhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane’s Walk is more of a walking conversation. Leaders share their knowledge, but also encourage discussion and participation among the walkers.

A Jane’s Walk can focus on almost any aspect of a neighborhood, and on almost any topic you can think of. Walks can be serious or funny, informative or exploratory; they can look at the history of a place, or at what’s happening there right now. Anyone can lead a walk — because everyone is an expert on the place where they live!

Our Mission: To develop urban literacy and a community-based approach to city building by encouraging citizen-led walking tours that make space for every person to observe, reflect, share, question and collectively reimagine the places in which they live, work and play. In this way, we honour the legacy of Jane Jacobs whose writings championed the voices of local residents in neighborhood planning.

Why did we start Jane’s Walks?: Jane’s Walks can be educational, and a lot of fun. You can meet your neighbours, make new friends, and exchange business cards with new contacts. You can learn something new, and share what you know. But there are some big ideas behind these walks as well — and they come from Jane Jacobs, the organization’s namesake.

Jacobs was not a city planner by training; she was just a concerned citizen who spent a lot of time observing city life around her, first in New York City, then in Toronto. From her observations, she developed some theories about what makes a city a great place to live. After she passed away in 2006, Jane’s Walk was founded in Toronto by a group of her friends and colleagues who wanted to honour her ideas and legacy.

In her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs wrote:

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Jacobs believed in walkable neighborhoods, urban literacy, and cities planned for and by people. That is, for a city to work, the people who live there must be involved in decisions about how the city grows and is run. Staying informed about civic issues, learning the basic concepts of urban planning, and meeting the people who make the decisions are all good ways to do this — and are all things you can do on Jane’s Walks.

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The event is free and open to everyone, however, the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation (which runs the site) has asked us to limit participants to no more than 40, so registration is on a first come / first served basis. You may sign up on our Jane’s Walk 2016 website page: https://hutchinsonriver.wordpress.com/janes-walk-sign-up/ or you can use the sign up button at the top of our FB page.

DATE & TIME: Saturday, May 6th, 2 – 4 pm.

LOCATION: Assemble at the entrance to the landfill located just before the Pelham Bridge on Shore Rd.

DIRECTIONS:

By Public Transportation:
Subway: #6 Pelham Bay Line to Pelham Bay Park (last stop)
Bus: BX5, 8, 12, 23, 24, 29, Q50, #45 Bee Line to Pelham Bay Park #6 station
Cross over Bruckner Expwy. to Pelham Bay Park and follow road Northeast passed Bronx Victory Memorial to land fill entrance just before traffic light.

By Car:
Pelham Parkway East: passed I-95 overpass and entrance ramp to I-95 North, first right just before traffic light into land fill parking lot.
Hutchinson River Parkway North: Exit 3E, continue on service road to Pelham Parkway East, passed I-95 overpass and entrance ramp to I-95 North, first right just before traffic light into land fill parking lot.
Hutchinson River Parkway South: Exit 3E on to Pelham Parkway East, passed I-95 overpass and entrance ramp to I-95 North, first right just before traffic light into land fill parking lot.
I-95 North (Bruckner Expwy.): Stay to the right and take City Island/Orchard Beach exit 8B, follow road Northeast passed Bronx Victory Memorial to land fill entrance.
I-95 South: Exit 8B on to Pelham Parkway East, passed I-95 overpass and entrance ramp to I-95 North, first right just before traffic light into land fill parking lot.

Hutchinson River, Bronx

Sergey Kadinsky is the author of the book “Hidden Waters of New York City” and the companion “Hidden Waters blog.” This section on the Hutch gives a detailed account of the history, geography, and current state of the river. Kadinsky will be giving a lecture on the Hutch and other Northeast Bronx waters this Sunday, Apr. 2 at 2pm at the Bartow-Pell Mansion on Shore Road.

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About the author: “Sergey Kadinsky is an analyst at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and an adjunct professor of history at Touro College.

He is a licensed tour guide who paid his way through college atop the double-decker Gray Line buses.

Kadinsky is a contributor to Forgotten New York, a local history website. His articles on the city’s history appeared in New York Post, New York Daily News, and Queens Chronicle, among other publications.”

Hidden Waters blog

At the city’s extreme northeast is Pelham Bay Park, a vast greensward that is three times the size of Central Park. One could not feel more distant from the city when visiting the park’s destinations: Orchard Beach, Bartow-Pell Mansion, Split Rock Golf Course, and the trails of Hunter Island and Twin Islands. On the inland side of the park is the Hutchinson River, known to most New Yorkers as the namesake of the parkway that follows its course.

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The river has a history relating to the conflict among Puritan colonists in New England that led to the English annexation of New Netherlands.

View original post 3,357 more words

Life and death on the Hutch

A dolphin was found dead in the waters of the Hutch on Friday. The body was seen floating near Glover Park in a section of the river between Pelham and Mt. Vernon that is heavily industrialized and polluted.

The issue of raw sewage draining into the Hutch by the six municipalities along the river was just discussed at last Monday’s HRRP monthly meeting.

The dolphin’s body was removed by County Police and turned over to the DEC for a necropsy on Saturday. The results haven’t been released yet.

This tragedy serves to underscore the reasons for the formation of HRRP. The Hutch is considered to be the most polluted river in New York State. The efforts of HRRP are helping to make a difference but without cooperation — and funding — from the local municipalities, elected officials, and governmental agencies, our work is considerably more challenging.

The Hutch runs through the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the last remaining salt marsh ecosystem in the Bronx.

We urge you to consider subscribing to our HRRP Google Group email list so that you can keep informed and help in our efforts: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/hutchinson-river

You can also Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HutchinsonRRP/ and Follow Us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hutchinsonriver

Our next Hutch Cleanup will take place in September, TBD. You can join us on Saturday, May 6th from 2-4pm for our annual Jane’s Walk to the top of the Pelham landfill for a spectacular view of the Hutch and surroundings.

Other articles and videos:


[HRRP President, Eleanor Rae, was interviewed in this video from Fios 1 News]

Click here to view video

Scientists Glimpse New York’s Perilous Path in an Ancient Patch of Marsh

[The Hutchinson River ecosystem, which includes one of the last remaining salt marshes in NYC, has recently come to the notice, interest and scrutiny of scientists and water advocacy groups for various studies, testing and monitoring. HRRP is very pleased that the Hutch is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Our hope is that this attention will lead to greater efforts in cleaning up and restoring the river. Our work has taken on even more significance now. At our January Board meeting, we discussed the possibility of HRRP taking on a larger role by assisting in some of these efforts. We’ll let you know what happens.]


In Pelham Bay in the Bronx, an ancient salt marsh has provided a unique laboratory to study historic sea levels and perhaps see what lies ahead. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

2016 Hutch Cleanup Reports

hrrp-bannerHere are the reports from our 7th annual cleanup on Sept. 18th. We file these reports each year with the American Littoral Society and the Ocean Conservancy so they can record and track the data for surveys and progress reports about the health of our waterways. These files are also uploaded to the “Documents” section of our website.

58 people participated this year, the most ever. We want to thank everyone for your efforts in helping to restore this treasure in our own back yard, and in helping to protect the ecosystem of one of the last remaining salt marshes in NYC.

We’l be posting pictures from the cleanup soon.


Click on images to view full size

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Cleanup Follow up

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We hope you all had an exciting, enjoyable and worthwhile day at our 7th Annual Hutch Cleanup. We’ll be submitting reports to the American Littoral Society and the Ocean Conservancy which sponsor and monitor these cleanups. The reports will be uploaded to the Documents section of the website for you to review.

We’d also like this year’s participants to report back to us as well. We’ve created a form on the website where you can give us your feedback about the event, for example, what site  you went to; the strangest / most unexpected thing you found; what you learned; suggestions and ideas for improving the event; or any other comments you want to make.

Go to our  “2016 Cleanup Participant Survey” page to fill out and submit the form. (your personal information will not be seen on the site). Or you may comment in the “Leave a Reply” box  at the bottom of the page.

Our thanks to everyone who helped out today. You are making a difference. Hope to see you at next year’s cleanup.

Volunteer for the 7th Annual Hutch Cleanup

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A scene from our 2015 Cleanup

You’re invited to join HRRP for our 7th Annual Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Cleanup. The event will be held on Sunday September 18, 2016 from 9am — 3pm. Volunteers will assemble on the southwest corner of City Island Rd. and Shore Rd., Bronx, NY (across from the Pelham Bit Stables). The BX29 bus stops right there.

Parking will be available in the Turtle Cove Driving Range parking area on City Island Rd.
 
The goals of the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Cleanup Project are to bring the existence of the Sanctuary. located in Pelham Bay Park,  to the community’s attention and to continue the cleanup of the debris (bottles, plastic,tires, etc.) that is found on its one and a half mile shore on the east bank of the Hutchinson River. The Pell Sanctuary is the largest salt marsh habitat in New York City outside of Jamaica Bay. It is only accessible from the Hutchinson River. It is impossible to reach this shore from the land because the land is swampy and devoid of trails. Because of this limited accessibility, the only way to approach the cleanup area is by boat. So that the sanctuary nesting cycle is not disturbed, access is limited until Summer’s end. The third limit is overall working environment, weather and tides. Experience has shown that rising tide is the major factor. Considering these limits, Sunday September 18, 2016 has been selected. The volunteers will be taken to the cleanup sites by canoe or power boat. At the sites the cleanup parties will place recovered trash in bags which will then be placed in the power boats and taken to the shore processing point. The power boats will continue to return to the cleanup sites until all bags and volunteers are recovered.
 
For more info, contact Hutchinson River Restoration Project (HRRP) at 718 885 9653 or HutchinsonRRP@aol.com.
 
“Like” us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HutchinsonRRP
Follow us on Twitter: @Hutchinsonriver
Hashtag: #RestoreTheHutch
 
This Project is supported by American Rivers, the American Littoral Society, and the Urban Park Rangers.

Cleaning Up ‘The Hutch’

[Here’s the article by George Goss for which members of HRRP recently sat for an  interview. It appears in the latest edition  of Science and the City, published by NY City News Service.]

Cleaning Up ‘The Hutch’

STREAMLINED: The Hutchinson River, as seen from Pascap Scrapyard. Photo Credit: George Goss
STREAMLINED: The Hutchinson River, as seen from Pascap Scrapyard. Photo Credit: George Goss

BRONX – Part of the Hutchinson River near Mount Vernon recently earned the distinction of being the most fecal-contaminated of 52 sites of waterway tested in the Long Island Sound watershed by Save the Sound. The Hutchinson River Restoration Project, an environmental group advocating for a cleaner river, said that public access for kayakers and canoeists is necessary to end the pollution.

“Basically, we are interested in and hoping that someday ‘the Hutch’ will be something that people can use. You know, right now it is not accessible,” said Eleanor Rae, president of the Hutchinson River Restoration Project. “Public access is key.” Continue reading

Paddling the Hutch: Ned P. Rauch takes the plunge

[The following article, written by LoHud / Journal News environmental reporter Ned P. Rauch, appeared in the May 7, 2014 edition of the Journal News. Mr. Rauch has granted permission to HRRP to repost the article to our website.]

Hutchinson River paddle reveals river’s challenges

Credit curiosity.

That’s what led my wife and me to wake up before dawn, tie our canoe to the roof of our car, drive down to Pelham Bay Park and carry a canoe across Shore Road, behind a bus stop, along an unmarked footpath and through the woods to a small, rocky beach on Eastchester Bay.

From there, 77 minutes past sunrise and about an hour after high tide, we shoved off toward the mouth of the Hutchinson River. Our destination, that of every great explorer: As far as we could go.

For Magellan, that turned out to be most of the way around the world. In our case, it was just beyond the Sandford Boulevard overpass in Mount Vernon, where we ran aground, ate a sandwich and turned around.

The lower third of the Hutchinson River, our route, is, among other things, a polluted, industrial waterway with little public access. But it has its champions.

(Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

In an attempt to learn more about the namesake of the Hutchinson River Parkway, a reporter and his wife paddle their canoe up the Hutch from the Bronx to Mount Vernon. Video by Ned P. Rauch. Music by Ned P. Rauch and Liz Rauch. [Click here to watch the video:

http://www.lohud.com/videos/news/local/westchester/2014/05/07/8803601/]

Pelham Manor has a long-term plan to create a walkable greenway along its portion of the eastern bank. Mount Vernon has commissioned a study to explore potential uses for its riverfront territory.

Farther south, from her home on City Island, Eleanor Rae has been leading the Hutchinson River Restoration Project.

“Our goal is a clean, beautiful river that honors its namesake,” said Rae, an 80-year-old with a doctorate in theology. “That’s the ultimate goal.”

Rich in history

The Hutchinson River is about eight miles long and named not after the parkway that runs beside it, but for Anne Hutchinson, an early settler and religious pioneer. It surfaces from an underground spring near the New Rochelle and Scarsdale border, follows a viaduct beneath Jane Cammarata’s backyard and then re-emerges in a narrow culvert behind the homes on Forest Lane.

“You get more wildlife, for sure, when you have a river in your backyard,” Cammarata said.

From Scarsdale, the river flows south, feeding a series of reservoirs that long ago stopped supplying the region’s drinking water. One former reservoir, known variously as Lake Isle and Lake Innisfree, is bordered by townhouses and a collection of co-op units. Residents swim and boat on the lake, essentially bathing in and playing on the Hutch.

The river’s lower portion is navigable for about three miles, from Eastchester Bay into Mount Vernon. It took us about an hour and a half to travel up it, avoiding barges, irking geese and gawking at the scale of industry — car-crushers, cement plants, oil tanks — still quite active along the river’s banks.

We threaded a gantlet of contrasts. Co-Op City’s towers loomed on one side, an egret waded among the reeds on the other. Farther north, a backhoe picked through a pile of scrap metal while, in the woods on the opposite bank, a makeshift tent billowed in the wind.

Construction workers at the base of a bridge waved as we passed. A man sleeping beneath the ramp connecting the Hutchinson River Parkway to Sandford Boulevard raised his head and said hello as we glided by.

When we rested beside the athletic fields between Pelham and Mount Vernon, a man in the midst of a morning power-walk stopped and said, “That’s the first time I’ve seen this. I’ve been here eight years. I saw you and said, ‘You all don’t look like geese to me.’ ”

Dismal marks

The Hutch is a dirty river. Sewage still occasionally pours into it through CSOs, or combined sewer overflows. The state Department of Environmental Conservation says the river’s ability to support aquatic life and activities such as bathing and boating are “impaired” or “stressed.” The Bronx River earns similarly dismal marks.

It remains busy with industry. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that 739,000 tons of cargo move through the river every year. By the corps’ count, 39 storage tanks hold nearly a quarter-million barrels of oil on the river’s banks. It was last dredged in 1989, though industry has been clamoring ever since to have the channel deepened.

Not surprisingly, oil, grease and other industrial waste pollute the river. Its popularity isn’t helped when, during heavy rainstorms, it jumps its banks and floods the parkway, as it did May 1.

Still, people care about it.

“We think it’s an asset for our community,” Pelham Manor Village Manager John Pierpont said. “It’s a workaday river, but we think it has the potential for being more than that.”

He said the village is working with commercial and industrial property owners on the river to create a path that would trace the Hutch to the athletic fields.

Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis said he envisions riverside restaurants and parks.

Eleanor Rae and the Hutchinson River Restoration Project continue their work, leading cleanups of the river and its banks; pleading with local governments to devote resources toward improving its health; advocating for increased public access. When she has time, she cruises the river and Eastchester Bay in her skiff, the Anne Hutchinson, whose life inspired Rae’s interest in the river.

At the end of April, accompanied by a pack of teens and other members of the organization, Rae helped yank invasive plants from the river’s banks in Pelham.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is now developing plans to reduce the amount of stormwater and sewage spilling into its waterways, including the Hutch.

On our paddle, my wife and I spotted egrets, geese, red-winged blackbirds, cormorants and countless gulls. At times the air smelled of seawater, other times of heating oil.

As we passed beneath Sandford Boulevard, the cement underside of the span close enough for me to run my hand along, our boat got stuck on a submerged, broken toilet. A moment later, we were standing on a sandbar, surrounded by lush vegetation, accompanied by the hum of traffic on the parkway and the officious honk of a lone goose wading upstream.

We climbed into our boat and let the current and the outgoing tide carry us back down to the Bronx, the Hutch’s waters sparkling in the morning sun.

Hutchinson River facts:

  • Length: About 8 miles
  • Spans: Scarsdale to New York City
  • Pollution: Classified as “impaired” or “stressed”
  • Industrial: 739,000 tons of cargo moves through the lower part of the river every year

Continue reading

2015 Cleanup Results: Reports and Inventories

wp cleanup pic 2015The annual HRRP Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Shoreline Cleanup is not only a fun and rewarding event for the people who participate (thanks again to all who did this year) but it also serves an important purpose in documenting the efforts and progress being made in restoring our waterways  by monitoring and tracking the debris and trash we collect. HRRP works in conjunction with the American Littoral Society and the Ocean Conservancy — just two of the many environmental groups advocating for our waterways — in organizing these cleanups. Part of that job is submitting surveys to both groups, with a record of the number of people who attended, and the amount and types of debris we’ve collected. The finished surveys are shown below and can also be found on our website: www.hutchinsonriverrestorationproject.org.

Here are some of the highlights (a complete breakdown of the items collected can be seen on the report):

  • Number of people who participated this year: 51 adults / 16 children
  • Number of trash bags filled: 82
  • Distance covered: 2.5 miles
  • Most unusual item(s) collected: 2 swimming pools

One participant found a fully intact horseshoe crab shell:

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If you’d like more information, would like to volunteer with HRRP, or would like to subscribe to our email list, contact us at hutchinsonriver@gmail.com.


American Littoral Society NYS Beach Cleanup Report
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Ocean Conservancy Ocean Trash Data Form
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