You’re invited to join HRRP for our 8th Annual Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Cleanup. The event will be held on Sunday September 17, 2017 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.
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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
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]
Here 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
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.
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.
[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
MOUNT VERNON – 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.
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:
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.’ ”
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
The 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:
If you’d like more information, would like to volunteer with HRRP, or would like to subscribe to our email list, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please visit us at www.hutchinsonriverrestorationproject.org
- Like and Share on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HutchinsonRRP
- Follow us on Twitter: @hutchinsonriver (twitter.com/hutchinsonriver)
Ocean Conservancy Ocean Trash Data Form
(click images to enlarge)
The weather was perfect this past Sunday for our HRRP 6th Annual Shoreline Cleanup. The event was very well attended, with more participation by local youth groups than ever before, and coverage by the local press. A video crew was there to record the event for a documentary / promotional video.
Below are some of the pics from the day. If you participated in the cleanup and took your own pics, please feel free to post them to our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/HutchinsonRRP – or email them to email@example.com, and we’ll upload them to our website. Be sure to include your name so we can give credit where due.
Thank to everyone who came out. Hope to see you again next year.
This gallery contains 12 photos.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our 2015 Jane’s Walk on May 2nd. Hope you’ll join us again next year. And don’t forget our Annual shoreline clean up this September. Let us keep you up-to-date about our activities and events … Continue reading
This is an inventory of all the trash and debris that was collected by our volunteers at the 5th Annual Thomas Pell Sanctuary Shoreline Clean Up. This represents just a fraction of the debris that still pollutes the Hutchinson River and surroundings. We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.