great, but is it enough?

September 28, 2010


canoe the bronx kill saturday

September 28, 2010

Paddlers, rowers, stand up paddle boarders, swimmers, all….

Bronx Kill Clean-Up

Saturday October 2, 2010

*Shore clean-up
*Canoe intros

The Bronx Kill is a mile-long strait that that flows along the southern-most shore of the Bronx and the northern edge of Randall¹s Island. It connects the Harlem River to the East River. It is a narrow, and safe passage with a wonder of habitat for a variety of birds and water creatures, including blue crabs and mussels.

For Canoe trip leaders and participants meet at Brook Park East 141st Street
and Brook Avenue, Bronx at: 10 AM. Pre register please. For paddlers with some experience.

All other volunteers and public Meet at the North West shore of Randall Island at: 1:30PM – 4:30 PM  Clean up, canoe, food!

MORE INFO, maps and more

brown tsunami on the gowanus

Sinking Barge in Newtown Creek

On our field trip to Newtown Creek I witnessed a few old, rusting barges sitting in the creek seemingly undisturbed by any attempts to get rid of them. With a little bit of research I found out a particular barge spilling out Styrofoam into the creek had been noticed by someone else; The DEC. In early 2008 the DEC issued a violation to Pile Foundation Construction Inc. for abandoning two barges in Jamaica Bay’s Barbadoes Basin. A few years earlier a separate Pile company barge sank in the Hudson by 57th st. and according to reports began “leaking an oily substance into the river” ( And as it turns out the barge sitting in Newtown creek is yet another Pile barge. The barges have been deemed by many to be both a hazard for navigation and a severe threat to the sensitive harbor ecosystems, most notably the benthic habitat. The owner of the company claimed their barges “cannot sink” normally however he blamed the sinking barges in Jamaica Bay on children cutting holes in the boats Styrofoam.

The Pile foundation was not charged for the barge leaking oil into the Hudson however it was fined $10,000 a day until the removal of the barges in Jamaica Bay.  The reports I found were from early 2008 and as of our trip into Newtown Creek the Pile barge is still sitting in the same spot leaking Styrofoam and slowly collapsing into the basin of the creek. No other more recent information was available on the state of the barges removal. However, city councilmen are working to make the labeling of barges mandatory in order to more clearly identify the companies responsible for abandoning them.

cut class for a week!

September 27, 2010

Crew Needed: Hudson River, Hell Gate, Long Island Sound – Sailors for Oct
We’re still looking for crew members for our Oct 2 to 8th sail from Albany, NY, through East River and Hell Gate, to New London, CT, in preparation for a student voyage up the Connecticut River. The trip will transit the interesting waters of the lower Hudson, East River, Hell Gate, and Western Long Island Sound. Crew will board Friday evening for an early Saturday morning departure. If interested, please contact Karen at
William T. (Chip) Reynolds
Director, New Netherland Museum
Captain, Replica Ship Half Moon
P.O. Box 10609
Albany, NY 12201
+518.443.1609 office
+518.432.4516 facsimile

The short-nosed Sturgeon (Latin: Acipenser brevirostrum) could be the first fish species to make it off the endangered species list.  This species of sturgeon has been on the endangered species list since the Endangered Species Preservation Act was passes in 1966.
Sturgeon have faced a number of obstacles since humans started colonizing the area around the Hudson River.  Populations steadily declined due to overfishing, largely to make a smoked meat named Albany Beef, named for the sturgeon’s upstream spawning location and likely the fish’s large nature.

Short-Nosed Sturgeon

The Short-Nosed Sturgeon is a close relative to the Atlantic Sturgeon, which can reach 60 years of age.  Generally these fish grow to be 6 feet in length and up to 300 pounds, but some have been recorded at nearly 15 feet long and over 800 pounds.  This species remains critically endangered.

Short-Nosed Sturgeon are amphidromous, meaning they have the ability to live in both fresh and saltwater, though populations have been isolated from saltwater by dams and seem to have done better than populations allowed to swim in both.  This does not mean they can live in the ocean however, the maximum salinity they have been found in is 30-31 ppt, which is slightly below that of ocean water.

Their spawning must take place in freshwater, above the head of the tide.  They are bottom feeders, with some young specimens having been observed with up to 90% of their stomach’s contents consisting of non-food items.  This may suggest that they randomly vacuum the bottom.
The Short-Nosed Sturgeon does not have any non-human natural predators, yet it still was nearly extinct by the 1950’s.  Along with overfishing, diminishing water quality was a large factor as the area became more urbanized.
“By the 1900s it was rare to see Short-Nose Sturgeon,” Bain [a Biologist at Cornell] said, and by the 1950s “they had declined to such low levels they were barely ever seen.”
The Clean Water Act of 1977 played a big role in bringing sturgeon back from the brink.  The reason it has taken so long to see the results is the fish is so long lived; many living 60 years or more, and are slow to reproduce.
In short, the Short-Nosed Sturgeon’s return in the Hudson River is a great indicator of how policy changes can have very tangible results.

sailing the pioneer !

September 27, 2010

part 2

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Sailing the Pioneer!

September 27, 2010

part 1

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reading and writing this week

September 27, 2010

READING for next week:

lewis, chapter 4: the valley transformed

bob sullivan, “concrete jungle: how did new york city become a diverse ecological hotspot?”

BLOG POST for next week:

write, photograph or video an item that connects to new amsterdam or colonial new york

email me if you’re at a loss, or look here for inspiration: