10th Annual Thomas Pell Sanctuary Clean Up

 

Students from SUNY Purchase at our 2018 Clean Up

The Hutchinson River Restoration project will be holding its 10th Annual Clean Up of the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary in Pelham Bay Park on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2018 from 9 AM — 3 PM.

The Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest salt marsh ecosystem in the Bronx and the second largest in NYC (the salt marsh in Jamaica Bay Park in Queens is the largest).

This annual event is a great way to:

  • learn about an important and crucial ecosystem right in our own backyard,
  • gather with friends and neighbors to support our community,
  • do your part in protecting the environment,
  • feel a sense of accomplishment and pride,
  • and have some good, clean(up) fun

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. Gloves, waterproof shoe coverings, and light refreshments will be provided.

Parking will be available in the Turtle Cove Driving Range parking area on City Island Rd.
For more information, call 718.885.9653
“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.

About Salt Marshes and the Thomas Pell Sanctuary*:

“Salt marshes play a critical role in the support of human life, acting as natural filtration systems by trapping pollutants that would otherwise contaminate our bays and oceans. Salt marshes have the ability to absorb fertilizers, improve water quality, and reduce erosion. They are also among the richest wildlife habitats.”

“The Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary and the Hunter Island Marine Zoology and Geology Sanctuary in the northeast Bronx consist of a total of 489 acres of marshes and forests within Pelham Bay Park. The City began landfill operations near this area on Tallapoosa Point in Pelham Bay Park in 1963. Plans to expand the landfills in Pelham Bay Park in 1966, which would have created the City’s second-largest refuse disposal site next to Fresh Kills in Staten Island, were met with widespread community opposition led by Councilmember Mario Merola, later Bronx District Attorney. This struggle resulted in the creation of the sanctuaries by a local law, signed by Mayor John V. Lindsay on October 11, 1967.”

“The Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary makes up the westerly part of Pelham Bay Park (2,764 acres). Included within its bounds are Goose Creek Marsh and the saltwater wetlands adjoining the Hutchinson River as well as Goose Island, Split Rock, and the oak-hickory forests bordering the Split Rock Golf Course. The area is home to a variety of wildlife including raccoon, egrets, hawks, and the occasional ibis or coyote. The Sanctuary is named for Thomas Pell, the first European to control the land. Pell signed a treaty with the Siwanoy, the Native American tribe that previously occupied this area, in 1654, marking the first time a Briton owned significant property near Dutch New Amsterdam.”

*courtesy of the NYC Parks Dept.

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2019 Clean Up Countdown: C U @ the C. U. tomorrow

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

Hutch Fact #8:

The old expression, “out of sight, out of mind,” applies to the Hutchinson River. It’s easily the most hidden waterway in the Bronx, if not the city. Many area residents are not even aware of the Hutch, never mind strangers. There are few paths where you have access to the river. Most paths are overgrown or in disrepair. Some are makeshift. In most places, fences, walls, and commercial and residential developments prevent access.

You can catch glimpses of the Hutch as you drive along the Hutchinson River Parkway or cross one of the six bridges that span the river in the Bronx, but access to the river from these locations would be illegal and dangerous. In Westchester, except for Lake Innisfree, which was developed for recreational uses, the Hutch flows through the backyards of private residences.

Because of this inaccessability, the Hutch has been subjected to all kinds of projects that have endangered life in and along it’s waters.

The dredging of the Hutch by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to turn it into a shipping channel in the late 19th century damaged and irrevocably changed the character and the ecosystems of the Hutch.

Storm and sewage conduits are continually spewing waste into the Hutch.

The commercial development of parts of the area — first, with Freedomland and then with Coop City — further compromised the Hutch.

The old Pelham landfill and dump (dubbed “Mt. Garbage” by some) on the West bank of the Hutch was used for decades by the Dept. of Sanitation until it was ordered closed in 1968. It was responsible for all types of toxic and noxious pollutants leeching into the Hutch and Eastchester Bay. These toxins were also responsible for many cases of leukemia and other diseases in nearby residents, particularly children. In 1967, the creation of the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary was signed into law to prevent any more parkland from being threatened.

Now the Hutch is being threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change, and by two man-made projects: a proposal by the USACE to build a sea gate across the mouth of the Hutch, which could destroy the salt marshes, and a plan by the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection to construct a water chlorination plant to deal with storm and sewage effluent. This could harm much of the aquatic life in the river, especially at a time when we’re just starting to revive it.

This where HRRP comes in. It’s our mission to educate the public about the Hutch’s history and importance as a vital ecosystem, to work with our communities to make the Hutch safe for recreation and nature, and to raise awareness and calls to action to prevent any further threats and damage.

Tomorrow, Sept. 15th 2019, we’ll be holding our 10th annual Clean Up of the Thomas Pell Sanctuary. It’s one of the most direct ways in which the public can help spread the message about this wonderous resource in our own backyard and keep it “In sight, in mind.”

#RestoreTheHutch

2019 Clean Up Countdown: 2 days to go

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

Hutch Fact #7:

Our HRRP Clean Ups are done in conjunction with the American Littoral Society and the Ocean Conservancy. We submit detailed reports to both groups after every clean up as a way to monitor the overall health of our waterways. The reports are divided into different categories of refuse we collect: Most Likely To Find Items, Fishing Gear, Packaging Materials, Other Trash, Personal Hygiene. There are also sections for: Items of Local Concern, Tiny Trash, and Dead /Injured Animals. The Ocean Conservancy Report has an additional space for “The Most Unusual Items Found.”

Last year we filled 79 large trash bags of refuse (in addition to large bulky items) collected from the different sites we visit and the area from which we launch. We separate what we’ve collected into recyclables and non-recyclable trash. You can see the complete reports under the Documents section of our website.

#RestoreTheHutch

 

The Passing of Inge Otto

Dear friends and members of HRRP,

It’s with sadness and shock that I report to you of the passing yesterday of Inge Otto, one of the founding members of HRRP. I found out earlier today from Eleanor Rae. Inge had been diagnosed just late last year with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), so her passing this quickly came as a shock. Due to her condition, Inge stepped down as Treasurer a couple of months ago but she was determined to remain active with the group to the best of her ability. Our July board meeting was held at her place.

Inge participated in all of our annual clean ups and was involved with every aspect from set up to break down, even piloting a canoe here and there.

Inge’s ashes will be shipped back to her hometown in Germany where they’ll be scattered in one of her favorite places. A memorial service is being planned for sometime in October or November.

We know that Inge will be with us in spirit at the annual clean up this Sunday.

On behalf of HRRP,

Carl Lundgren

HRRP Treasurer; Social Media Admin

2019 Clean Up Countdown: 3 Days to Go

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

Hutch Fact #6:

Although the Hutch has been called the dirtiest river in the Bronx, it teems with life and is slowly becoming cleaner and healthier. Walk along the banks of the river and you’ll still find mussels, oysters, and horeshoe and fiddler crabs in the shallow waters near the shoreline just as the native Lenape people (mistakenly called the Siwanoy) and the later Dutch and English settlers did, and depended upon. They were an important food source for both the human and animal inhabitants. We sometimes find fiddler crabs living in abandoned tires during our clean ups. Due to the efforts of local residents and groups like HRRP, the oyster  and mussel beds are beginning to thrive once again.

#RestoreTheHutch

2019 Clean Up Countdown: 4 Days to Go

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

© 2018 Nathan Kensinger for CURBED New York

Hutch Fact #5:

The Hutch serves as a commercial waterway for businesses and utilities around the Bronx / Westchester border. To bring commerce to the Hutch, at the request of businessmen in Mt. Vernon in 1895, the US Army Corps of Engineers, widened, straightened and dredged the river turning it into a ship canal. But by doing so, much of the surrounding ecosystems were harmed, with many native species dying off. Through the efforts of groups like HRRP, the river is slowly being restored.

#RestoreTheHutch

2019 Clean Up Countdown: 5 Days to Go

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

© 2019 Meagan Dwyer, Lake Innisfree Conservancy

Hutch Fact #4:

From it’s source in Scarsdale, the Hutch flows South between Eastchester and New Rochelle into a manmade lake called Lake Innisfree. Originally constructed as a series of three reservoirs supplying water to New Rochelle and Eastchester in the late 19th / early 20th century, it was later developed into a recreational lake for swimming, boating and fishing.

2019 Clean Up Countdown – 6 Days to Go

Hutch Fact #3:

Below the I-95 overpass, the Hutch flows alongside the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary (part of Pelham Bay Park) which includes 195 acres of salt marsh. Once considered, useless swamp land, we now know that salt marshes are vital in creating and maintaining the habitats of many species of flora and fauna.  Find out more by visiting the Pelham Bay Park pages of the NYC Parks Dept. website.

One Week Until the 2019 Hutch Clean Up

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:
Hutch Fact #2:
Like the Bronx and Hudson Rivers, the Hutch is a tidal estuary. The fresh water from upstream meets with the salt water of the Long Island Sound right around the Bronx / Westchester border. The Hutch is affected by tide cycles and has very strong currents at this point. This determines when our clean ups are scheduled and where the clean up sites will be.
CU_2012_27

I-95 overpass spanning the Hutch. This is the Bronx / Westchester county line.

#RestoreTheHutch

8 Days Until Our 2019 Clean Up

Hey, everybody. Don’t forget: only 8 days until the 10th Annual HRRP Clean Up. If you’re going to help with the work, make sure to wear old clothes. We’ll supply gloves, shoe coverings, and trash bags. And even if you can’t help with the clean up, drop by anyway to learn more about the Hutchinson River and take in the scenic views of the Bronx’ hidden treasure.

As a lead up to our annual clean up on Sept. 15th, we’ll be posting some interesting facts about the Hutch each day: Hutch Facts.

Hutch Fact #1:
The Hutch begins its journey as a fresh water spring located in Scarsdale (center of pic).

#RestoreTheHutch