Category Archives: General Posting

Will Big Funding for Correction of the Mount Vernon Sewage System Contribute to Health of the Hutchinson River Any Time Soon?

by Patrick J. Gannon, Ph.D

hutch pollution 2

The Hutchinson River of New York was once a beautiful waterway with spectacular biodiversity. Animals like bald eagles and otters were cautiously managed by native people in pre-colonial times. However, the Hutchinson River has been facing pollution from human activities since the beginnings of European colonization. Today, a significant amount of raw sewage enters the river from Mount Vernon’s faulty lines. The issue was reported by Save the Sound, a regional nonprofit that monitors the health of waterbeds flowing into the Long Island Sound. In an October 2019 article titled “Mount Vernon’s Neglect Puts Residents at Risk”, the Save the Sound Director of Water Protection Tracy Brown commented “we learned that the pollution had been known about for years prior and that New York  State Department of Environmental Conservation had already repeatedly tried to get Mount Vernon to make the needed repairs to fix the problems to no avail.”

hutch pollution 1

Fast forward to 2022, after several years of lawsuits and water quality testing, Mount Vernon has received a 150 million dollar grant from New York State Governor Kathy Hochul to correct their seriously damaged sewage and storm drain systems. The Mayor of Mount Vernon, Shawyn Patterson-Howard, commented “This is what government working together for the people looks like, and we’re excited to be moving forward together on this monumental sewer project.” Although this is a sizable amount of funding, some experts consider that to do the job right, considerably more money will be required; we’ll see!. 

As the project’s plans and timelines become public and the progress evident, the Hutchinson River Restoration Project will monitor longitudinal scientific evidence that proves, beyond all doubt, that the Mount Vernon project shows positive environmental outcomes that contribute towards timely healing of the Hutchinson River, as well as its incredible biodiversity that we all love.

Dr. Patrick J. Gannon is a Member of the Board of HRRP. He holds a Ph. D in Physical and Biological Anthropology from the City University of New York and is Adjunct Clinical Professor and Founding Chair (2007), Department of Science Education at Hofstra University

HRRP Jane’s Walk 2022 Report

JW22-10 banner

This past Mother’s Day, The Hutchinson River Restoration Project led a walk along a segment of the Hutchinson River Greenway Trail. Organized in conjunction with Jane’s Walk, this annual event honors the life and legacy of author and activist Jane Jacobs. Our walk almost didn’t happen – with the rain and wind on Saturday soaking the area, the cold and blustery weather on Sunday morning, and having the walk scheduled on Mother’s Day, we didn’t expect much of a turn out. However, fifteen participants showed up, much to our surprise and relief. Our intrepid and undaunted walkers came by car, bus, bicycle, and on foot, expressing great interest and enthusiasm for the adventure that lay ahead.

View of the Hutch from the HRP Bridge

The 1.5 mile walk, led by HRRP Board members Amelia Zaino and Carl Lundgren, took off from the Bartow Avenue entrance to the Greenway in Co-Op City and ended at the site of our annual Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Clean-Up at Shore Road and City Island Road. Before heading out, Amelia gave a brief talk to the group explaining the purpose of the walk and that stops at various locations along the trail that would serve to illustrate the topics on which she would speak. This included information and facts about the flora, fauna, geology, and history of the Hutch system, as well as problems associated with development and neglect of the area over the past century, and the steps that are now being taken to correct them. Participants added their own insights, observations and knowledge making the walk much more than a pre-planned nature hike.

Egrets nest on cell tower

Nature itself seemed to join in with us. At one of the stops near cell towers erected alongside the Metro North tracks, we witnessed an egret with a fresh caught fish in its beak flying up to a nest it had built atop one of the towers, eliciting oohs and aahs from the group.

Our final stop was a walk down to the site of our annual clean up, near the Bronx Equestrian Center. The path down to the Hutch had been full of puddles the day before but was clean and dry for us. The clean up site is the only location along this walk where participants could actually see the Hutch up close. Amelia pointed out the egrets and cormorants that were fishing across the way from us. Some members of the group were surprised to see oyster, clam, and mussel shells on the beach, testifying to the fact that the Hutch, while threatened in so many ways, is still a living, breathing, and thriving ecosystem. It was here that we got into the more serious discussions about the state of the Hutch, the problems that just about all participants were aware of, and what the next steps are for HRRP and the future of the Hutch. HRRP will be planning more events like this on a regular basis. Planning for our September Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Clean-Up is already underway.

Thanks to all who participated and made the walk a truly memorable event: 
Amy G, Anne K, Bruce B, Carol D, Deb & Arne A, Ebony L, Jerry P, John C, Kevin D, Regina K, Tim F, and our HRRP Co-Chair Adjie Henderson. 

Submitted by Carl Lundgren, HRRP Secretary-Treasurer and Social Media Admin

HRRP 2022 Jane’s Walk: Exploring the Hutchinson River Along Its Greenway

Janes Walk banner

Join the Hutchinson River Restoration Project on Sunday, May 8th starting at 11AM for a 1.5 mile walk from Bartow Avenue in Co-Op City to the Pelham Bridge in Pelham Bay Park. Along the way, we’ll explore spectacular vistas of the Hutchinson River and the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary. We’ll discuss the history, current threats, and future of the Hutchinson River and ways we can all work together to preserve and protect this invaluable natural resource. Amelia Zaino and Carl Lundgren will be leading the walk.

Note that the official walk is “one-way”. Participants may choose to reverse and walk back with us to Bartow Avenue, or take the Bx29 bus to retrieve their vehicles if they are parked in Co-Op City.


The route is 1.5 miles with slight hills and the potential for roots and other debris in the path. It is also a bike path, so participants are advised to be aware of, and move aside for cyclists. It is wheelchair accessible. Public transportation to the starting site is available (Bx28, Bx26, Bx30, Q50, Bx29, Bx12, Bx23, BxM7 buses), and public transportation from our end point to the start site is also available (Bx29).


We will assemble in the Bay Plaza shopping center parking lot (Northeast corner) (just behind the AMC Bay Plaza Cinema) located off Bartow Ave. at the Hutchinson River Parkway overpass . The trail begins just outside the lot. See the map below for more details. As participation is limited, please RSVP to:

Amelia Zaino: or
Carl Lundgren:



Jane’s Walk was founded as a way to celebrate the life and legacy of urban activist, Jane Jacobs, who believed in the power of individuals to influence their city. It now takes place in over 200 cities worldwide, with Jane’s Walk NYC, presented by the Municipal Art Society of New York, as the largest of these festivals. What started as a handful of walks in 2011 has since grown into a weekend of collective neighborhood storytelling featuring hundreds of walks online and across all five boroughs.

For more on Jane Jacobs and her legacy, click here

The Hutchinson River Needs You! Help Us Restore Our Skiff!

For those of you just discovering us, there’s so much to do!

First, our annual cleanup is this Sunday, September 19 at City Island Road and Shore Road – hope to see you there!

We are also looking to honor Jack Ullman, a true leader for the Hutch, by restoring our skiff, the Anne Hutchinson. This will help us explore and discover problems on the river.

Here is the letter we’ve been sending our Hutch Protectors:

To Friends of the Hutchinson River,

One of the founding members of the Hutchinson River Restoration Project (HRRP), the physicist Jack Ullman, passed away recently. Jack was a familiar figure to many on City Island, riding his bike until well in his 80s. He was passionate about cleaning up the Hutchinson and loved his boat, the Anne Hutchinson.  He had the boat built to his specification’s years ago. In his own words.

“The boat was built for me in 1980, by hand, of wood, by Michael Delaney, who then was doing fine carpentry for the last of the City Island yacht builders.  I had always wanted a good rowboat like the ones used by the Chicago Life Guards when I was in my teens.  They were easy to row, seaworthy and beautiful.  He showed me plans and pictures and I chose a design called a Whitehall Skiff, a water taxi used in New York Harbor in the 19th century.  The 1880 version had a collapsible spritsail rig that stowed on the boat.  Small ones like mine had no centerboard but only used the sail when the wind was favorable. “

Jack generously donated the Anne Hutchinson to HRRP. It is indeed beautiful but needs some repairs and restoring.  We would like to restore the boat to be used as a means of celebrating the river and reminder that cleaning up of our environment is a necessity. While sailing on the waters near our beaches and boatyards carrying appropriate banners, it will become a reminder to all that we must preserve and protect our environment.

We are asking for donations to help us reach our goal and keep Jack’s memory alive. You can contribute via Paypal (see or

by check made out to the Hutchinson River Restoration Project.  Send it to:


The Hutchinson River Restoration Project

88 Horton Street

City Island, NY 10464


Thank you from the Executive Board of HRRP

Jack Ullman on an August 2017 excursion.

Happy Earth Week: Two Events We Think You’ll Like

Here are two events this weekend in honor of Earth Day that we hope you’ll want to participate in:

Saturday, Apr. 24, 9:45 AM:

Rivers Run Community Garden Earth Day Parade
March with HRRP and show your support for our mission in restoring the Hutch. Call 347-920-1606 or email to let us know if you’ll be participating.

Sunday, Apr. 25, 10:00 AM – 1 PM:

Hutch River Greenway Clean-UpSign up here:
Visit Website or E mail for more information:
Link for Website:
Instagram: @hutchrivergreen

Why Are Schools of Fish Dying in the Bronx?

[Note: Members of HRRP, other activists, and community leaders met earlier this year with State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (SD34) and Mt. Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard at Sen. Biaggi’s office to voice our concerns about the state of the Hutchinson River and to ask them to take action on the problems outlined in this article. We’ll be meeting with them again—with the addition of State Senator Jamaal Bailey (SD36), whose district also borders on the Hutch—via a Zoom call this Wednesday, Oct. 28th for updates and to discuss where we go from here.]

by Amy Yensi, News12 Bronx, Oct. 25, 2020

Everywhere you look, dead fish: On the rocks, tangled in trash bags—lifeless and limp. It’s just the latest school of fish to meet their demise in the Bronx.  

“So you would have a plume of polluted water, which would have a lot of sewage and would have very little oxygen. That would create a fish die-off like this,” explained Tracy Brown of Save the Sound, an environmental advocacy group that researches the water quality of the Long Island Sound.

“So you would have like a plume of polluted water, which would have a lot of sewage and would have very little oxygen. That would create a fish die-off lie this,” said environmental activist Tracy Brown. 

She told NY1 that the sewage pipes in the Westchester County city of Mount Vernon are in such a state of disrepair, sewage spills into the Hutchinson river.

“[It’s] creating unhealthy conditions for the wildlife clearly, and also for people,” said Brown.

Scientists say the sewage starts in Mount Vernon, but it doesn’t stay there. It makes its way down stream to the Eastchester Bay in the Bronx.

The environmentalists say Mount Vernon’s sewage also spills into the Bronx River, which courses through the Bronx to the East River, and the Long Island Sound. 

Mount Vernon has ignored several state and federal court orders to fix it’s broken system, but last month a federal judge issued a court order requiring it to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

We spoke with the communications director for Mount Vernon mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, who told NY1 that COVID has “seriously impacted city operations and services overall,” adding that, despite this shortfall, DPW has completed six of the seven mandatory repairs in the past three months.

According to New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, the New York Harbor is cleaner today than it has been since the Civil War. But there are smaller rivers and streams like those in the Bronx that do not meet federal water quality standards.

“As a parent and as a human, just worried about the future of our waterways and knowing how important marine life is,” said Brown. 

For their sake, she’s hoping the court ruling is the watershed moment she’s been working so hard for.

2020 Hutch Clean Up Report and Pics

Our thanks and appreciation to all who participated in this years annual HRRP clean up of the Hutchinson River on Sunday, Sept. 20th. If you volunteered this year, we’d like you to fill out our clean up survey to give us your feedback on the experience with any suggestions, ideas and comments that might help us make improvements for future clean ups. You’ll find the survey here.

Despite the ongoing Covid pandemic and the safety guidelines we needed to follow, we still had a well attended turn out. We were limited to 25 participants and that’s just how many showed up. Special thanks to the leaders and scouts of Troop 109, Mt. Vernon. They accounted for more than half the attendees.

The day started off with brisk temperatures but quickly warmed up to what became  just about a perfect day. As we were not permitted to be out on the water ( no canoes were provided this year), the clean up was restricted to about a half mile stretch of shoreline adjacent to our usual assembly area.

We also want to give a shout out to our friend and neighbor Lovie Pignata for providing us with this big tank of much welcomed — and needed — coffee.

And, as always, our thanks to Marrianne Anderson, Lynne Corry and the rest of the Parks Dept. / Pelham Bay Park staff for giving us the go ahead for our clean up when we weren’t sure it would happen this year.

HRRP works in conjunction with The Ocean Conservancy / American Littoral Society as a participating group in their annual NYS Beach Clean Up program.  You can view the report we submitted for this year as well as for  past years in the Reports and Studies pages of this website.

Here are some more photos of this years clean up. Click on photos for larger image:

Adjie Henderson and Violet Smith at the sign in table

Our supply bench

United States Obtains Court Order Requiring City Of Mount Vernon To Address Polluting Storm Sewers

On September 22nd, 2020, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Southern District of New York granted a Summary Judgement against Mt. Vernon for illegal discharges into the Hutchinson River. The Hutch is most affected by pollution, sewage discharge, and illegal dumping. This is a major victory for the people. HRRP will be participating in a virtual meeting with State Senators Alessandra Biaggi (SD34), Jamaal Bailey (SD36), and Mt. Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard on Oct. 28th for updates and progress in remediating the problems.

Here is what the court ordered Mt. Vernon to do:

  1. Track down and identify all sources of illicit discharge for impaired storm sewer system outfalls, and eliminate all sources of illicit discharge;
  2. Perform necessary construction and repairs for impaired outfalls;
  3. Complete inspections to ensure detection of future illicit discharge;
  4. Obtain the necessary equipment, staffing, and funding to comply with its Clean Water Act and permit obligations;
  5. Develop an updated storm water management plan;
  6. Perform a sewer system evaluation survey of the sanitary sewer system to identify possible discharges of sewage and develop a sewer system corrective action plan; and
  7. Submit periodic reports to EPA and New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Additional Documents:

City of Water Day: Hutchinson River Virtual Tour

Today, Sept. 12, 2020, is City of Water Day in New York, and HRRP is doing it’s part to mark the day.

HRRP member Amelia Zaino has put together a virtual tour of the Hutchinson River that we’re premiering today.

Click this link to visit the Hutchinson River Virtual Tour. Click on the stars to learn more about the river as it flows from  Scarsdale  and into Eastchester Bay.

The 2020 HRRP Clean-up is on!

UPDATE: We have reached our 25 person limit for the Clean Up but you can still fill out the sign up form and we will place you on our standby list and notify you if a spot opens up.
After conferring with Pelham Bay Park administrators and getting their approval, the 11th annual HRRP Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Cleanup is going forward. It will take place on Sunday, September 20th  from 9 am — 3 pm.  However, it will be a little different this year due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.

As per Parks Dept. rules, we will need to limit the event to  no more than 25 people participating in cleaning up along the river banks. There is no limit on those who wish to take their own kayaks or canoes to the event but you won’t be permitted to launch from the clean up site. If you contact us, we can suggest some other accessible launch sites Social distancing needs to be observed and masks are mandatory. Children are welcome.

HRRP will provide masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, shoe coverings, recycling bags and light snacks.

Restrooms will be available at the Pelham Bit Stables just across Shore Rd. from the clean up site or at Turtle Cove Golf Center a short walk from the site on City Island Rd.

Please fill out the form below to reserve a place. Please provide contact information so we can let you know when the 25 person limit has been reached and to inform you of any changes.

If you signed up but find you need to cancel, please contact us at or 347-920-1606 to let us know so we can let others know a place has opened.

Enter children’s names below