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Bronx River Bio-log

Conservation Crewmembers carrying a biolog
Welcome to our blog—or bio-log—about the Bronx River!
Every day, Alliance staff and partners are making progress in our work to restore and improve the Bronx River. These daily accomplishments and observations are logged here to share what's going on!

Also known as a bio-log: High density coir net stuffed with mattress fiber for soil stabilization, sediment retention and vegetation establishment, see photo.


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December 18, 2008
Bronx River Floods

On Thursday, December 11,2008 it rained for a 24 hour period causing the Bronx River to flood. On Friday the conservation crew did a reconnasaince of the River and found the paths in the Bronx Forest underwater making the trails inaccessible.

December 01, 2008
YouthCan Bronx on the River

On the last Saturday of November, a contingent of YouthCan Bronx accompanied educator Christine Kola on a short tour of the Bronx River Forest and bagan surveying a site that they will steward. The group is made up of Ms. Kola's eighth grade students from MS 45 on Lorillard and former students who now attend various high schools in NYC. The crew will work on a variety of tasks including invasives removal, plantings and water quality monitoring. On this blustery day, they took the time to do a quick clean up which will also serve as data for their next visit to guage the amount of trash that builds up in that area over a given period of time.

November 13, 2008
Diary of Two Bronx River Alliance interns aka muskrat kits

During 2008 two interns, David Ocasio and Juan Vega, worked alongside the conservation crew. People often refer to our crew as the river rats, but most rats found in our city are not indigenous or native. On the other hand muskrats are native and we have a park in the Bronx honoring this animal called Muskrat Cove. Therefore we would like our interns to be referred to endearingly as muskrat kits.

Our goal for our interns is to learn how to identify invasive non-native plant species and how and why we remove them. Our interns also learn how to identify native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Another goal is to gain an appreciation for best practices used in erosion control on the river and work safety. Finally interns learn about professionalism including time management, teamwork and appropriate social interaction.

Recent muskrat kit, Juan Vega, came to us from Wildcat which is young adult internship program. Juan spent three months working with the crew. In these three months he learned how to identify Japanese Knotweed, “a hollow sugar cane looking plant”, Bindweed and Japanese Hops and Poison Ivy.

Another muskrat kit, David Ocasio, worked with the crew for four months. David came to us as a graduate of the Sustainable South Bronx's Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) program. David recalled accompanying the crew to pick up plants donated by Bissell Gardens operated by Russ LeCount. The plants David learned how to identify during this field trip ranged from Eastern White Pine, Tulip Trees, Black Walnut, and Spruces. David recalls being tested by crewmember and former intern Rosa Perez on how to identify his trees and plants especially snakeroot, pepperbush, inkberry and a weed called wine berry. One of David’s responsibilities was entering water quality testing data onto the Globe website. David really got his hands dirty removing shopping carts, trash and tires from the river used a chainsaw to remove down trees and even did some carpentry work to help re-build the canoe put-in at Shoelace Park.

One of the unusual opportunities David had was to escort assistant crew leader Elaine Feliciano to Soundview to count oyster spats with Natural Resources Group. This was accomplished by arriving on site at seven in the morning and putting on waders “to count how many barnacles, mud crabs, crab shrimp, clam worms and amphipods that were on the clam shells “retrieved from cages 100 feet off shore. There are pictures of this activity on the back cover of the September issue of Ecological Restoration Magazine. We appreciate the hard work of all of our 2008 interns and wish them well.

October 16, 2008
Urban Autumn on the Bronx River

As the trees across from Concrete Plant Park show the obvious signs of autumn, some of our summer visitors have yet to pack up and leave town. The Great Egret, Double Crested Cormorants and the Mallard in the lower half of the photograph are usually on their way south to their respective winter digs by this time, but something is keeping them around. There are still fish to be seen swimming in the estuary section which could be a factor, or maybe they are expecting a mild winter like what we experienced last year. Could be, though, that they are keeping an eye the neighborhood improvements and considering a permanent move!

September 19, 2008
Pipefish and stripers and parasites, oh my!

Several species of aquatic wildlife were observed by those seining in the Bronx River Estuary. NYC Parks Natural Resources Group staff were joined by helpers from the Bronx River Alliance, Rocking the Boat and the local community to survey the aquatic wildlife in the vicinity of the oyster reefs that were installed off the bank of Soundview Park in 2006. The group used a large net called a seine net to corral the critters so they could get a closer look, count and measure them. Fish species spotted included striped bass, pipefish and summer founder. Blue crabs, grass shrimp and an interesting-looking parasite (photo at right--don't worry, we zoomed in) called Lironeca ovalis also made appearences.

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