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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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September 01, 2008
USGS Monitors Groundwater and Streamflow

While walking through Shoelace Park, our Executive Director, Linda Cox, happened to meet up with some USGS staff who were sampling groundwater wells. In addition to the streamflow data that the agency has collected for years, they also are monitoring monthly groundwater levels. Samples taken at these wells are monitored for pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, specific conductance, temperature, and water-level elevation during our sampling procedure, and the collected samples are sent to the USGS National Water-Quality Laboratory to be analyzed for nutrients, major ions, trace metals, volatile organic compounds, gasoline additives, semi-volatile organic compounds, and a broad range of pesticides. These observation wells are part of a larger water-level and water-quality monitoring network within the five borough of New York City, which was designed to provide the NYCDEP and USGS with the data needed to address future water-management and development issues.

August 24, 2008
Algal Bloom Update

The mysterious brown and red coloration of the Bronx River south of Concrete Plant (see below, 8/16/08) has been identified as a bloom of the dinoflagellate Gymnodinium sp . Dr. Joe Rachlin and Dr. Barbara Warkentine analyzed samples provided by Rocking the Boat On-Water program director Chrissy Word and a student, Marcus Caceres. The bloom has been seen once before, in 2002, and also persisted for about 7 days. The short duration of the bloom should mean no long term effects. Eating shellfish from the Bronx River is never recommended, but shellfish should not be eaten from an area during such an occurrence as there could be more immediate health risks due to the possible toxicity of the bloom. For a summary of the events, visit, "The Whole River is Red".

August 19, 2008
Oh To Be Young Again!

While many of us are preparing for the autumn of our lives, this fledgling Black Crowned Night Heron, seen just south of Hunts Point Riverside Park on Saturday's Tidal Paddle and identified for the Alliance by Robert DeCandido, PhD , is just venturing out of the nest. Night Herons often nest on the ground but have been known to take up residence in the nests of other herons and egrets. While this youngster can prove a lineage of two Black Crowned Night Herons, the offspring of other wading birds can take comfort in the fact that, should they wander into the nest of a night heron, they will be taken care of as though they were one of the family.

August 16, 2008
Masque of the Red River?

For approximately a week, the Bronx River Estuary has taken on a reddish hue. This noteworthy color change was accompanied by a foul smell and a handful of dead crabs and fish that washed up on the shore at Hunts Point Riverside Park. Chrissy Word of Rocking the Boat reported the situation to the Bronx River Alliance as per the Spill Protocol. The problem was reported to NYS Department of Conservation (DEC) Spill Response Hotline where the operator informed Alliance staff this was a common occurrence. Chrissy Word is examining a sample to determine if it is the result of an algal bloom. The condition persisted over the weekend (see photo at left) and worsened by Monday, August 18 when Tony Archino of Rocking the Boat called to report that the river was black in color and was like nothing he'd seen during his more than six years working on the Bronx River. Alliance staff passed on the report to the DEC and were told that they would try to send someone to check it out. Allison Mass of NRG noted that Brown Tide was a problem in the Long Island Sound from 1995 - 2003 and has started to pop up again more recently. She will contact a Brown Tide-minded colleague to see about getting a Bronx River water sample tested.

August 13, 2008
1st Annual street tree pit design competition

This summer, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice's Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Community Building and Outreach Youth Program has been working hard on street tree stewardship around the Bronx River neighborhood. During the competition, each group was given a street tree pit on Morrison Avenue and asked to not only beautify the street tree pits but to improve their design in order to capture more stormwater from the streets! Esteemed judges of the competition included Anne-Marie Runfola, Damian Griffin and Teresa Crimmens from the Bronx River Alliance and Henry LaJara from YMPJ. Judges decisions were guided by Paul "Keep it on the Land" Mankiewicz. Group 1 won the Design Execution and Pit Functionality Award and Group 2 won the Team Presentation and Pit Design Award. The plenitude of french drains, compost, and herbaceous plantings caused the judges to be overwhelmed with joy at the amount of stormwater that would be captured by these two retrofitted tree pits, which will mean less pollution to the Bronx River, healthier trees and cooler temperatures in the neighborhood. Nice job CSO CBOP! This street tree pit competition was supported by The Home Depot Foundation and will complement the larger scale street tree installations being coordinated by YMPJ and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.

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