Category Archives: General Posting

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 https://hutchinsonriver.wordpress.com/donate/) 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 hutchinsonriver@gmail.com to let us know if you’ll be participating.


Sunday, Apr. 25, 10:00 AM – 1 PM:

Hutch River Greenway Clean-UpSign up here: http://tiny.cc/fhrg-cleanup
Visit Website or E mail for more information: Hutchrivergreen@outlook.com
Link for Website: https://hutchrivergreen.wixsite.com/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.
0920151002b
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 hutchinsonriver@gmail.com or 347-920-1606 to let us know so we can let others know a place has opened.


Enter children’s names below

Going straight to the source

Where does the Hutchinson River begin? What is its source? These are questions members of the Hutchinson River Restoration Project have been curious about since our founding.

A few years back, HRRP members Toby Liederman and Eleanor Rae went on a reconnaissance mission to find out. They determined that the Hutch begins from underground springs located literally in the backyards of residents who live close to where Drake Rd. in Scarsdale becomes Baraud Rd. in New Rochelle. The Hutch is the dividing line between the two.

Drake Rd. entering Scarsdale

Baraud Rd. entering New Rochelle

Eleanor and Toby discovered a path called Ray Calgi Way, off Tewkesbury Rd. just north of Baraud, that leads to a small public park and pool that is accessible to the public.

Ray Calgi Way on Tewkesbury Rd. just North of Drake Rd.

The path leading to the park.

This past June, Eleanor and I decided to take a trip up there to take some pictures and further explore the area.

You can see the Hutch from Drake Rd. /Baraud Rd.  It’s not obvious. At this point it’s not more than a rill that runs through a culvert under the road.  On the north side of the road it’s obscured by underbrush.

On the south side of the road you begin to see the banks and a higher volume of water flowing. The Hutch is used for drain off from the yards of some of the residents. You’ll notice discharge pipes in a number of places.

Driving up Tewkesbury, we parked near Ray Calgi Way and walked down the path to the park. The swimming pool was covered over, presumably because of the Covid 19 pandemic. The park sits atop the springs from which the Hutch originates. Since the springs are beneath the surface, the construction of the park probably had little impact. What it did do was to cause the spring water bubbling up from below to create two courses starting at the top of the park and flowing down both sides. The two courses merge just South of the park. There was little to no water in the courses when we were there but that’s not unusual for spring fed streams. The courses will fill with water as the water table rises or after a rain storm.

In the park. The two courses diverge just beyond the fence in the background. One of the courses can be seen behind me.

Pics below are of the woods at the north end of the park from which the spring waters flow down around either side of the park.
Below: pics of the course on the west.
Below: pics of the course on the east.

If you look at a Google Map of this area, it appears that the Hutch begins in a backyard at a cul de sac just past the corner of Southwoods Ln. and East Woods Ln. in Scarsdale. We decided to check it out. The location is about a third of a mile South of Drake Rd. down Forest Ln. which becomes East Woods Ln. There is no public access to the Hutch at this point.

From the street we could see where the Hutch was flowing down. As luck would have it, we met the owner of the  house whose backyard borders this stretch of the  Hutch. She gave us permission to look around and to take pictures.

The first thing to catch our eyes eye was a small wooden, rustic footbridge that spans the stream. It looked a little rickety so we didn’t attempt to cross it.

Looking north from the property, the Hutch is still a trickle of a stream interspersed with mud puddles but just a few yards south of the footbridge it widens and becomes a fully flowing stream.

In the backyard of a residence at the corner of Southwoods Ln. & East Woods Ln.     The Hutch becomes an active stream at this point.

A couple of weeks after our trip, I discovered an archive of old atlases that Westchester County has on line.  They range from 1867 – 1931.  Out of curiosity, I checked to see if any of them had maps showing the course of the Hutch that might verify the source as we assume it to be. Some of the maps did, in fact, show the source of the Hutch in exactly this location. The maps all showed a single stream originating from the site, as the area hadn’t yet been developed to the extent it is today. Most of the houses are on the Scarsdale side. The area on the New Rochelle side where the park now stands shows no buildings at all. Tewkesbury Rd. hadn’t been extended yet. It was probably still all woods.

Now that we’ve answered the questions posed at the beginning of this post to our satisfaction, HRRP will continue to search for  more access points so that we can add to our knowledge of the river and provide an opportunity for the public to experience and appreciate the river just outside our back doors.

A Walker’s Guide To The Hutchinson River Parkway Trail

A few years ago, The Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation published a beautifully illustrated guide to the Hutchinson River Parkway Trail. It contains historical information, illustrations and maps of the trail that begins in Harrison near the Maple Moor Golf Course and ends in Mt. Vernon near St. Paul’s Church.

We’ve reproduced “A Walker’s Guide to the Hutchinson River Parkway Trail” as a photo essay. The guide is available under our References page tab
Visit our download page if you’d like to print out a copy.

Click on images to enlarge.



Some random photos of the Hutch and surroundings

I’ve been wanting to do a photo essay of the Hutchinson River for a while, concentrating on locations and areas that offer some different perspectives. The only thing holding me back was a decent camera. So, the first thing I did when I received my stimulus money was to buy a digital camera.

For the past two days I’ve gotten out on my bike to start taking those pics, which I’m sharing now. I’ll be posting an article in the next couple of days on some of the things I discovered, and people with whom I spoke along the way as I was taking these pics.

The first two pics were taken from Bay Shore Avenue in Country Club. There are a number of locations in Country Club to view the Hutch and Eastchester Bay.

The Hutch flowing toward Eastchester Bay. On the far left side of the pic is the Pelham landfill.

View from Evers Marina looking toward City Island.

Here are some views from  the bike trail along City Island Rd.

Taken from a little before the traffic circle. Looking toward Rodman’s Neck

Same location but looking back toward Shore Rd. There’s a Parks Dept. facility off to the right (out of pic).

My main interest on this ride was to get pics from the landfill side of the Hutch. It’s not easily accessible but there’s more activity here than I thought.

There’s a path down to the water but it’s not easily found.

There is a chained gate but people have just created a path around it (on the left).

I met this young man when I reached the shore.

He was just hanging out relaxing. Had his bike with him.

I had to park the bike and continue on foot.

Looking toward the HRRP clean-up assembly area across the river.

View from closer to the bridge.

Some scenes as I followed the path South toward the bay.

Looking toward the City Island Rd. side of the river going toward the island.

This is about as far as I was able to go on the path. But there are people down there fishing.

Looking back toward the bridge and Coop City.

I’d seen these pipes earlier but didn’t know where they were coming from…

…until I saw this stream cutting across the path.

The water is coming from under this structure, apparently draining from the landfill.

The landfill is accessible from the path. No signs are posted.

I walked onto the landfill and saw this structure which appears to be part of the drainage system.

Met some really cool people on my trip. I spoke with these guys who came by shortly after I got there. They told me they come here often to fish and are concerned about the condition of the river.

Also met this wonderful family who there for a family day out. Dad told me he’s been taking his family here since his daughters began to walk. He also came here as a kid. Mom told me her daughters were very interested in environmental issues, including trying to get her to give up plastic bags. They too were concerned about keeping the river clean and safe. We spoke for a while. When it was time for me to leave they gave me a bottle of water which was quite welcome.