« December 2013 »
News & Announcements
November 15, 2013
Fish Passage Construction is Underway at the 182nd Street Dam
We are pleased to report that construction is well underway on the installation of a fish passage at 182nd Street, reconnecting river herring and other migratory fish access to spawning habitat in the freshwater sections of the river. The first phase of construction is located on the west side of the dam, where the fish passage will be situated. Dewatering the river to provide access to the dam for construction is the first phase of this work, currently underway.
Stay tuned for periodic progress reports on this exciting project, opening the way for fish to travel upstream and flourish
in the Bronx River.
October 02, 2013
New Raingardens for Muskrat Cove
Planting the raingarden at Muskrat Cove was the final step in this project to improve a degraded area along the Bronx River Parkway near the border with Westchester County. On a sunny September morning, the Alliance’s conservation crew joined with Biohabitats, the project’s designer, to install 80 native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in the forest. This planting was part of a larger project to stabilize a stormwater pipe and improve the conditions in the area surrounding it.
To fix the pipe, the existing dilapidated headwall was removed, the pipe cover was stabilized, and the area was regraded slightly, directing stormwater into small rain gardens. A small settling area was created at the end of pipe with broken up material from the stone headwall, and streambank protection was added to prevent future scouring and water quality degradation in the Bronx River.
A variety of native species are helping to transform this area, once unsightly with erosion and invasive Japanese knotweed, into a healthy oasis of native greenery. A barren slope between the parkway and the river was planted with native trees and shrubs, to help slow and retain some of the polluted runoff from the roadway before it enters the river. A dilapidated pipe was repaired to reduce the deposition of contaminated sediment into the river. The slope was reconfigured to direct water into a raingarden rather than onto the pathway, providing water for blueberry bushes and native ferns.
Expanding on this work, invasive vegetation was removed around the park and replaced with native plants to stabilize the streambanks and improve wildlife habitat. Alliance staff and volunteers have cleared approximately 2.8 acres of invasive vegetation in the park, and planted 700 trees and 400 shrubs. We have had some great help, including the assistance of a dedicated crew of nine young adults who served as apprentices with the Alliance's Conservation Crew for 5 weeks in 2012. Funding for this on-the-job training in green careers was provided by the Mayor's Center for Economic Opportunity Office, supplementing the project support generously provided by the Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Foundation and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
September 26, 2013
Wade into the Bronx River: Teacher workshop
September 26, 2013 (4:00pm-7:00 pm)
Wade into the River: Seining and Sampling
Hunts Point Riverside Park
Wade into the River
Join us at Hunts Point Riverside Park for a hands on workshop focused on waterfront education. Learn the ins and outs of getting your students involved in the study of our local waterways including planning your study, water safety, use of seine nets and kick nets, identifying organisms, and sampling water at the surface and at depth. Waders and all equipment will be provided for the training.
Learning opportunities run in consecutive one hour segments: 4pm,5pm, 6pm
A registration fee of $5 is required and all fees used to purchase refreshments.
For more information contact Damian Griffin firstname.lastname@example.org
Hunts Point Riverside Park, 812 Edgewater Road, Bronx, NY 10474
In partnership with Rocking the Boat and the NYSDEC
September 24, 2013
Oysters and the Bronx River
Today's New York Times has a nice article about the oyster reef at the mouth of the Bronx River.
September 18, 2013
Water Quality Monitoring Workshop
Register for the September 18 Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring Workshop
When: September 18, 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM
What: Learn about water quality and how to get involved in testing your waters.
Where: Pier 40, Hudson River Park (W Houston at the Hudson River)
HEP and its Citizens Advisory Committee invite you to come and learn about pollution issues still affecting our waters, solutions, how the states are testing the waters, and how you can test the waters in your neighborhood. There will be a live demonstration of water sampling and testing by The River Project.
September 06, 2013
DOT Begins Safe Connections Work Below Concrete Plant Park
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) recently began work on new planned safety improvements designed to make it easier to walk and bike to Concrete Plant Park.
The city recently re-paved portions of Bruckner Boulevard in the area adjacent to Concrete Plant Park. Now that repaving is complete, the NYC DOT is adding features that will make it safer to go between the south end of Concrete Plant Park and the Bryant Avenue pedestrian bridge, three blocks west. The pedestrian bridge connects to Hunts Point neighborhoods. The majority of the work is at and around the three-way intersection of Bruckner Boulevard, Longfellow Avenue and Whitlock Avenue.
The project includes:
- adding parking on Whitlock Avenue
- shared bike/ped markings on Bruckner Boulevard sidewalk
- two-way barrier-protected bike lane along Bruckner from Bryant to Longfellow
In related news, work is nearly 100% done on NYC DOT safe street improvements between Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park. NYC DOT began installing these improvements in July. The nearly complete safety features are located on Westchester Avenue and Edgewater Road (Sheridan Expressway frontage road.) Some signage and some delineators will be installed soon, but the new signal, lane and crosswalk striping, and painted sidewalk extensions are already in place, and looking great!
Below is a photo of the new "sharrows" (shared lane markings - for bike routes) on Westchester Avenue.
See also the Alliance's earlier coverage of these improvements here and here.
Have you walked/ridden these streets lately? What do you think of the changes?
September 04, 2013
The Bronx River Alliance is seeking a Greenway Coordinator to manage the planning and implementation of the Bronx River Greenway in the Bronx and assist with external communications. This is a terrific position working with public agencies, community leaders and the public at large to ensure the completion and full activation of the Greenway.
For more details on the job and how to apply, please view the job description here.
August 20, 2013
New Safe Street Connections Underway from Concrete to Starlight
NYC Department of Transportation crews are in the process of striping new features that make it safer to walk and bike between Concrete Plant Park to Starlight Park. The Alliance reviewed these improvements earlier. Included in the work underway today are:
- New bike lanes on Westchester Avenue (from Whitlock to Bryant)
- New sharrows (bike routes) on Westchester Avenue and Edgewater Road (Sheridan Expressway frontage road)
- New signalized crosswalk across Westchester Avenue at Concrete Plant Park
- New painted sidewalk extensions at the intersection of Whitlock and Westchester
- New roadway striping to clarify safest roadway positioning for drivers
In the long run, the Alliance continues to push to "Bridge the Gap" - completing Phase 2 of Starlight Park in this area, but, right now, these on-street connections are already making things safer and easier for walking and bicycling along the Bronx River. NYC DOT crews began work last week, and the project appears to be about 3/4th done as of Tuesday August 20th 2013.
More coverage at DNAinfo and Bronx News 12.
August 09, 2013
Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Bronx Park connector CANCELLED for Friday, August 9
Today's ribbon-cutting ceremony has been cancelled due to the threat of rain. Stay tuned for a rescheduled--and less stormy--day to celebrate this fantastic new link on the Bronx River Greenway!
RESCHEDULED: Now scheduled for Thursday September 5th at 11am!!!
July 24, 2013
Recent Monitoring: How Clean is the Bronx River?
On July 2nd, the Daily News ran an article entitled Report: Bronx River is almost as bad as the Gowanus Canal for fecal bacteria. While the Alliance is glad to see coverage of pollution issues in local waterways, we wanted to respond to the Daily News article and further the discussion.
The Daily News makes comparisons between the Bronx River and the Gowanus Canal, for example: " testing reveals that the [Bronx River] now has levels of fecal bacteria to rival the notorious Gowanus Canal, a federal Superfund cleanup site." A misleading aspect of this comparison is that the "notorious" Gowanus' Superfund site status is not primarily due to fecal pollution; per the U.S. EPA the Gowanus suffers from "industrial pollutants... [including] PCBs, coal tar wastes, heavy metals and volatile organics." These chemical contaminants generally last a very long time and are very expensive to clean up. Sewage and bacteria behave somewhat differently; once their source is eliminated, their levels drop fairly quickly.
The Gowanus does have elevated levels of fecal bacteria. Fecal contamination is also a problem for the Bronx River, the East River, the Hudson, and urban waterways pretty much all over the world. The source of bacterial contamination is generally sewage. Where, how and when sewage gets into the Bronx River can be somewhat complicated.
It's clear that, during heavier rain storms, the combined sewer and stormdrain systems overflow into the river - through Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs.) There are a half dozen CSOs connected to the Bronx River, in South Bronx neighborhoods from West Farms to Soundview. Water quality testing shows that bacterial counts shoot up during heavy rain, and then return to background levels within a few days.
The CSOs aren't the whole story, though. Fecal bacteria does get into the river during dry weather. When it hasn't rained, samples from the Bronx-Westchester border show more bacteria than the South Bronx. It's not entirely clear, but this data suggests that there may be (probably illegal un-permitted) sewer connections in Westchester County.
Another source of dry-weather bacterial contamination can be the tides. The East River has some issues with bacterial contamination. This contamination can flow upstream into the Bronx River, bringing bacteria into the Bronx at high tide. Complex tidal flows can interact with freshwater rivers to create zones where some contaminants may linger and concentrate.
The new monitoring data, a project spearheaded by the New York City Water Trail Association, is a good thing. It's needed, especially to shed light on pollution conditions and how they trend over time. This data can help identify the sources of contamination; it can also indicate what investments can be most successful.
Recent monitoring results aren't really news. They are showing what's been known for a while: the Bronx River has a persistent problem with sewage contamination. Today, the river is not safe for swimming, and it won't be safe until sewage contamination sources have been curtailed. The sewage contamination sources are numerous: inputs from Westchester, CSO outputs (definitely during rain events and possibly also during dry weather), tidal flows, and probably other lesser sources not well understood. Though the Bronx River is generally clean enough for canoeing and other activities with minimal water contact, today the river is too polluted for swimming.
(Photo: Charles Berenguer)
July 12, 2013
BxR Alliance Job Opportunity! Administrative Assistant
The Bronx River Alliance is seeking an Administrative Assistant to support the financial and administrative functions and programs of the Bronx River Alliance, a non-profit organization, and the Bronx River office of the NYC Parks & Recreation Department. This is a part-time position, 20 hours/week.
July 03, 2013
Bronx River Alliance launches membership campaign!
Get behind the effort that is transforming a river, neighborhoods, and an entire borough - become a charter member of the Bronx River Alliance today!
Once declared an open sewer, the Bronx River is now a source of community pride, a recreational and educational resource for all to enjoy. We’ve done it by hauling out 657 tons of garbage, 89 cars and nearly 30,000 tires, appliances, bicycles and furniture, planting 90,000 trees and creating 18 acres of new waterfront parkland. See our full list of accomplishments since 2001.
Ours is a community in action. And this an historic act of hands-on environmental justice, reclaiming blighted areas suffering from years of environmental degradation, disregard and neglect. Nearly 10,000 volunteers have devoted almost 100,000 hours to restoring the river, and dozens of local organizations have incorporated river restoration into their work.
Join us today!
July 03, 2013
New Bronx Park Connector Walk/Bike Path Open to Public
A new bike and walk path opened to the public this week. It's the Bronx Park Connector, a part of the Bronx River Greenway, though it doesn't quite go along the river. Nonetheless it's a beautiful place and an important facility for bike and walk transportation and recreation.
In the middle of the Bronx River's 8-mile trajectory through the Bronx, the river runs through the Bronx Zoo and the NY Botanical Garden. These sites are fenced off, hence not entirely suitable for easily publicly-accessible riverside bikeways and walkways, so the Bronx River Greenway paths are located well east of the river between 180th Street and Allerton Avenue. In the past, Greenway cyclists and trail-walkers had to brave busy local streets to get around this area, but now they can use this new path separated from motorized vehicles.
The length of the new facility is just over 9/10ths of a mile. Its southern terminus is at the intersection of 180th Street and Bronx Park Avenue, immediately west of the 180th Street 2 and 5 Subway Station. From there, the trail wends north between the train yards and the zoo. It goes below the Bronx River Parkway viaduct, then across the face of Ranaqua - NYC Parks Department's Bronx operations headquarters (and home to the offices of the Bronx River Alliance.) At Ranaqua there's a brief dismount zone, where cyclists are instructed to walk on a sidewalk. The path then continues north along the Bronx River Parkway, connecting into the southeast portion of Bronx Park East, next to the basketball courts and play fields below Boston Road. The northern end of the path is at the intersection of Unionport Road and Bronx Park East (street.)
The new bike path has gone by a few different working names. Though it has been called the "Ranaqua Connection" and "180th Street to Unionport Road," for now it's being called the "Bronx Park Connector."
The facility is open from dawn to dusk, with gates at 180th Street and at Ranaqua locked before/after those times. The path was designed and built by NYC Parks, who now maintain it. The project, including the path itself, new lighting, signage, landscaping, and more, cost just over $3,000,000. Funding sources were primarily Croton Filtration Funding with additional City capital funds allocated by City Councilmember Joel Rivera.
Though the path is open and in use today, the official ribbon-cutting is tentatively scheduled for Friday August 9th 2013. The Alliance will announce ribbon-cutting details as they become available.
Here are a few photographs of the brand new path:
New path near 180th Street
New path along Ranaqua
New path along Bronx River Parkway
More images at Bronx River Alliance on Instagram
June 28, 2013
GAPP Youth Crew Helps Out the Alliance with Forest Restoration
For the second year, the Bronx River Alliance was pleased to host a GAPP (Green Applied Programs at Parks) crew, a group of apprentices sponsored by the Mayor’s office through the Center for Economic Opportunity. Eight young adults, aged 18 through 24, split their time between ecological conservation projects with the Bronx River Alliance and gardening projects, working with the parks horticulture staff. Their names are: Kira Maxim, Carlos Santiago, Austin Hodges, Shakim Lebeau, Derrick Gordon, Tishella James, Andrea Williams, and Katlyn Bumgardner. Led by crew member Michelle Cropsey, their work culminated in clearing a plot in the North forest of invasive plants and replanting with 169 shrubs and plants native to the area. Their horticulture work focused on a site in Rosewood playground, which is commemorated by a plaque in the park. During their time with the Alliance, they had a chance to take a full river canoe ride, get a guided tour of the new native plant garden at the NY Botanical Garden, and learn about the intertidal zone during a low-tide walk at Soundview Park. But if you ask them to identify the highlight of their time together, it is likely that they will say the best part was meeting each other and having the chance to work together as a team. We appreciate their enthusiasm, positive attitudes, and willingness to learn new things, and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.
Look for our Conservation Crew with a new group of 15 young people from the NYC Youth WRAP (Workforce Restoration Assistance) program, a Sandy relief/restoration program in partnership with the NYC Department of Probation. The Alliance looks forward to the extra help this group can provide in restoring the Bronx River’s ecosystem and improving its resilience for weathering future storms.
June 25, 2013
Largest oyster reef installation in NY harbor takes place on the Bronx River
120 tons of clam shell were installed over a one acre site at the mouth of the Bronx River on Monday, in NY Harbor's largest oyster reef installation to-date. These shells will later be seeded with oyster babies, or spat, and will also attract native oysters that already live in the lower Bronx River.
The oysters will filter the water (one oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons a day) and their reefs provide valuable habitate for other aquatic organisms. In addition, the reefs may help blunt the impact of storm surge. For more information, see the full press release.
NY Daily News
"Jump starting the Bronx River’s oyster population may create more aquatic habitats, minimize storm surge and improve the river’s water quality."
"A few centuries back, oysters populated the harbor by the billions. But over-harvesting was the first hit the oysters took, and following the industrial revolution, many succumbed to pollution. Now, oysters are nearly extinct in New York waterways, but the clam shells offer hope for the future."
News 12 the Bronx
"The layer of shells will house the river's homeless oysters. The process is intended to make the Bronx River cleaner."
June 24, 2013
Bronx River Alliance endorses NY4P Parks Platform 2013
Recently, the Bronx River Alliance board of directors unanimously voted to endorse New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) 2013 Parks Platform. NY4P urges mayoral and other NYC candidates to sign on to this platform, and to commit to making the city's Parks Department stronger and more effective in the years ahead. The platform addresses various issues including funding, maintenance, transparency, capital processes, parkland preservation, and greater cooperation among City departments and communities.
If you're reading this, you want to make parks a priority, and you agree with Parks Platform 2013, you're encouraged to sign a brief on-line petition. It only takes a minute, and it can make a big difference. Go to the petition right now.
Below are the 10 basic tenets of the platform. Please see the full text of Parks Platform 2013 at NY4P website.
We call on the next Mayor and Administration to:
OVERHAUL HOW THE PARKS DEPARTMENT IS FUNDED.
1) The Parks Department should have its own discretionary capital budget.
2) The Parks Department’s maintenance budget should be increased, and funding for core functions should be baselined – meaning automatically renewed – in its annual expense budget.
3) The Parks Department provides an essential city service and should be staffed accordingly.
INCREASE THE TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE PARKS DEPARTMENT TO ENSURE EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF RESOURCES.
4) The Parks Department should know the cost to maintain every City park, as well as the amount of public and private funding that supports each.
5) The Parks Department should adopt the best practices of other capital projects agencies to improve its own process.
6) Organizations in public-private partnerships with the Parks Department should report annual revenues, expenses and other critical financial information in a simple, consistent manner to be shared on the Department’s website.
RESTRICT AND STRONGLY REGULATE THE PRIVATIZATION OF PARKLAND.
7) Parkland alienation should not occur unless no other land is available to serve an essential public need.
8) State and local laws regulating parkland alienation should be strengthened to require earlier and broader notification of alienation actions, and to mandate acre-for-acre replacement of lost parkland.
INTEGRATE PARKS PLANNING INTO NEIGHBORHOOD, CITYWIDE AND RESILIENCY PLANNING.
9) Parks are part of a broad network of public spaces, and City agencies should collaborate to maximize neighborhood open space and citywide environmental benefits.
10) The City should be more proactive in involving neighborhood residents in their parks, both as volunteer stewards and in planning for the future.
Read the full platform here and the accompanying white paper here.
June 20, 2013
New 222nd Street Bike Lanes Connect with Shoelace Park
(Photo during installation. 222nd Street bike lane is complete on the left, but not yet on the right. New left turn lanes visible in the middle of the image. If you look closely you can spot the darker gray earlier 4-lane striping which has been erased/scraped. photo by Jocelyn Carlisle)
Over the past week, the NYC Department of Transportation added new bike lanes to 222nd Street. The lanes extend from the Bronx River Greenway at Shoelace Park to Co-Op City. The project includes new left turn lanes, and a reduction in travel lanes. More information about the project at our earlier article.
(Another shot of the 222nd Street bike lanes where they go below the 5 Subway near Co-Op City - photo by Daniel Ranells)
June 05, 2013
City Parks Seeks Federal TIGER Grant to Close South Bronx River Greenway Gap
Earlier this week, NYC Parks & Recreation Department submitted an application for federal TIGER funding to build Phase 2 of Starlight Park. TIGER, which stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, is a competitive funding opportunity of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Municipalities throughout the nation will be awarded TIGER transportation project funding totaling $487M. That may sound like a lot of money to average Bronx residents, but the grants are very competitive as that funding is spread nationwide. NYC Parks is requesting $25.7M TIGER funding to combine with $10M in local funding to build out the $35.7M project.
The Bronx River Alliance worked closely with NYC Parks to prepare the TIGER application. Phase 2 of Starlight Park will close the Bronx River Greenway gap between Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park. This gap closure project is critical to ensure that residents of the South Bronx will have access to a contiguous Bronx River Greenway bike/ped trail that will extend the entire 23 miles from Soundview to Kensico Dam. The Starlight Phase 2 project includes nearly a mile of new bike/walk path, with three bridges - two over the river (similar to the existing bridge shown being installed - right) and one over Amtrak rail lines. The trail link has seen an ourpouring of community support via the Alliance's Bridge the Gap campaign.
The Alliance is very grateful to the entire team involved in applying for TIGER funding. The Greenway gap closure project is a collaboration between NYC Parks, and the City and State Transportation Departments - with assistance from many others, prominently including the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, under the leadership of the Department of the Interior. Amtrak has been proactive in resolving issues in bridging over their rights-of-way. Thanks to many elected officials for making this critical gap closure a priority, especially U.S. Congressman Jose Serrano, Assemblymember Marcos Crespo, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Councilmember Annabel Palma for letters of support. Thanks also to East Coast Greenway Alliance and Signature Urban Properties for support letters. Thanks also to all the organizations and individuals who expressed their support via the Bridge the Gap campaign.
The TIGER opportunity is very competitive; there's no guarantee that the application will receive funding. Based on past TIGER rounds, the awards should be announced around August/September 2013. If funded, construction could begin late next year - and South Bronx residents could enjoy the completed greenway trail segment around 2016.
May 23, 2013
Sheridan Study Choice Shows Greener Future for the Bronx River
New York City's Department of City Planning is working on a study that will have major impacts on the future of the Sheridan Expressway and the Sheridan-adjacent portions of the Bronx River Greenway. The formal name of the study is the Sheridan-Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study abbreviated as "SEHP." If you attended the 2013 Bronx River Flotilla, you may have seen City Planning's booth soliciting community input. The SEHP study has been underway for about two years, and is expected to be completed this summer. Actual on-the-ground changes to the Sheridan will likely take another 5-10 years.
Earlier this week, at a community meeting on Tuesday May 21st 2013, city representatives announced that the study is far enough along that they have selected a preferred alternative among the four scenarios they've been analyzing. The alternative is known as "Modify Combined." The Modify Combined is the scenario most different from today's existing conditions: portions of the Sheridan roadway are reduced to the fewest number of lanes. Modify Combined includes the most new crossings: three new traffic signals will be added, allowing for crossing the Sheridan at Jennings Street, 171st Street, and 172nd Street.
Revisiting the Sheridan will have beneficial impacts on the Bronx River Greenway. According to the Department of City Planning, the "Modify Combined" alternative will add "1600 linear feet of publicly accessible waterfront" along the Bronx River (between 172nd Street and Westchester Avenue.) It will also add "over 2 acres of added open space to Starlight Park." In addition to these benefits, the three new crossing points (Jennings, 171st, 172nd) are expected to greatly improve access to Starlight Park from the Crotona Park East neighborhood.
If you're interested in learning more about the Sheridan study, and expressing your interests in the Sheridan's, the neighborhood's and the Bronx River Greenway's future, read more about the study at the city's project website, and plan to attend the final City-hosted community meeting planned for June 20th 2013.
May 10, 2013
Starlight Park Official Ribbon Cutting
City officials and park advocates came together to welcome Starlight Park to the Bronx River Greenway in an official ribbon cutting ceremony on May 10.
The event celebrated the construction of Phase 1 of Starlight Park and officially opened its ground for public use, although many community residents have been spotted enjoying what this new park has to offer.
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Veronica White opened the ceremony. In attendance was Congressman Jose Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Bronx Borough Commissioner Hector Aponte and Executive Director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, David Shuffler all of whom addressed the crowd.
We are thrilled to see this park come to life and to want to thank all those who helped to facilitate this project.
For more information on Starlight Park click here.
May 07, 2013
EPA honors Alliance Exective Director
The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently honored Bronx River Alliance Executive Director Linda Cox.
The Environmental Quality Award, for Protecting and Enhancing Environmental Quality, was presented on April 19th 2013 by EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck (on the left in the above photo). Congratulations, Linda, for all the work you do for the Bronx River!
April 27, 2013
The 2013 Shoelace 10K Fun Run/Walk
Saturday April 27th was the Shoelace Park 10K Fun Run/Walk.
This annual event is your chance to get some great exercise - either walking or running - and to see the very nicest and most natural sections of the Bronx River. The event began at 9:30am at the 219th Street entrance to Shoelace Park. It's presented by Friends of Shoelace Park - and raises funds for their local park stewardship efforts. The 10K (roughly 6-mile) course goes through Shoelace Park, Bronx Park and the Bronx River Forest. The route includes some of the Bronx's most beautiful parks, including some great historic bridges, too. The Bronx River Forest is the only remaining floodplain forest in the lower Bronx River watershed, with extensive restoration of natural habitats. It's the best place to imagine what much of the Bronx looked like about 500 years ago. Spring has sprung - enjoy the blossoms and trees leafing out. Saturday's weather was pefect for running, sunny and in the mid 60s!
For photos of the event, visit Friends of Shoelace Park's Facebook page.
More event information at our Shoelace 10K event page.
April 21, 2013
Bike trainer training with Bike New York!!!!!
Want to be able to volunteer with Bike New York and support Alliance bike programs? Get trained by Bike New York!
Change someone’s life! Teach a New Yorker how to ride a bike this summer! Attend a brief, one hour training with Bike New York’s education program this Sunday in Van Cortlandt Park, from 11am – 12pm to learn the Bike New York method of teaching people to ride. To sign up, or for more info email: email@example.com
April 19, 2013
New 222nd Street Bike Lanes to Connect Co-Op City with Bronx River's Shoelace Park
The Bronx River Alliance was part of a ride-through last weekend to review plans for new bike lanes on 222nd Street. The new bike lanes will run 1.6 miles connecting Co-Op City with Shoelace Park.
(Image: 222nd Street ride through - left to right: Rich Gans, Jennifer Harris-Hernandez, Mel Rodriguez)
The City Transportation Department's (NYCDOT) 222nd Street project will do what's called a "road diet" - converting a 4-lane street with no turn pockets, into a 3-lane street with turn pockets, while adding new bike lanes. Federal research shows that road diets make streets safer for all users: drivers, pedestrians, and, of course, cyclists. NYCDOT is finalizing the designs. The new bike lanes are expected to be striped this summer.
The west end of the new bike lanes will be at the recently-renovated 222nd Street entry point for Shoelace Park. The 222nd Street entry includes a ramp and a stairway to connect into the park, making for easy bike connections to the Bronx River bike path below. The 222nd Street entry area also features rain gardens that soak runoff into the ground, preventing pollution from reaching the Bronx River.
The east end of the new bike lanes will be at the intersection of 222nd Street and Baychester Avenue / Hammersley Avenue, where cyclists can cross the street via a crosswalk, and continue to Co-Op City via the pedestrian bridge over the New England Thruway.
The 222nd Street bike lanes are a project of NYCDOT, but credit also goes to many individuals and organizations that have worked to make them a reality: thanks to Mel Rodriguez, Rich Gans, Transportation Alternatives, the East 222nd Street Block Association, Bronx Community Board 12, and other supporters.
We're looking forward to riding the new lanes this summer!
April 06, 2013
Bronx Beavers in the News
Please check out this nice article in Beaver Sprite that shares some great information on our local beavers.
March 22, 2013
It Takes a Team to Protect a Streambank
On a cold late winter day in the Bronx Forest, the Bronx River Alliance’s Conservation Crew and trainees joined forces with the the Natural Resources Group of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation on a bioengineering project, using willow branches harvested from a fallen tree to help stabilize an eroding section of river bank.
|Preparing fascines for installation.
|Tying up the bundles
|Securing fascine to slope
|"Burrito" method for reinforcing fascine
|Securing lower fascine with stakes
|Drilling hole for live stake.
Fascines are in place on streambank.
The willow branches harvested from the forest were soaked and then used to created “fascines” or live bundles of twigs that are installed horizontally along the streambank. They are placed in shallow trenches on sloped streambanks to reduce erosion. The goal is for the willows to take root, holding the soil in place, and eventually re-vegetating the slope. The fascines were created by soaking live willow cuttings for two weeks and creating bundles on site using twine. Two fascines of approximately 16 feet in length were installed on an eroded streambank just south east of Burke Bridge, an area in desperate need of bank stabilization.
Another technique, planting live stakes, was also employed in the Bronx Forest. Using larger cuttings, live staking involves the insertion of live, rootable cuttings into the ground. If prepared correctly, these stakes will establish and grow, creating a network of roots that stabilizes the soil and extracts excess moisture. Willow species tend to root rapidly and are effective at drying out a bank soon after installation.
These techniques are simple and effective, using readily available materials and helping to improve site conditions. This in turn makes way for the natural colonization of vegetation from the surrounding plant community.
Stay tuned as we monitor the site to see how it goes, and whether our resident beavers will discover the young willow shoots, which is one of their favorite snacks.
March 21, 2013
Education Program laucnhes new series, Wade into the Water
Pull On Your Boots ... Bronx River Education Team Launches "Wade into the Bronx River" - A Series of Lectures, Workshops and Walks
This year Bronx River educators are presenting four events:
See our flyer for details. All events are open to the public!
- March 20: "Migration Reform: Opening Up the Bronx River to Migratory Fish" a talk at the Arsenal in Central Park by Queens College Professor Dr. John Waldman.
- June 5: A naturalist's walk in the Forest on World Environment Day.
- Early September (date TBD): "Sewershed v. watershed - what's the difference?"an educator training on how to teach these concepts.
- Late October (date TBD) - A report on Bronx River Water Quality over the past decade
March 20, 2013
Migration Reform: Opening up the Bronx River to Migratory Fish
Veronica M. White Commissioner
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
And the Bronx River Alliance
Invites you to an event in the
Uncommon Ground lecture series
Migration Reform: Opening up the Bronx River to Migratory Fish
Join us as we celebrate the start of construction of NYC’s first fish ladder and fish migration with an evening of discourse, discussion and dance.
Scientist and author John Waldman will preview his latest book on the history and fate of diadromous fish, researcher George Jackman will share early results on a current WCS/NOAA Bronx River eel study, the Bronx River Fish Passage plans will be presented and choreographer Paloma McGregor will present a work based on her long term interest in fish and the people who study their behavior.
In the spring of 2013, construction is expected to begin on the first of three fish passages on the Bronx River. The “Fish Ladder,” as it is also called, is intended to permit fish migration for alewife for the first time in 330 years, and improve migration of American eels. Both of these species are on the decline worldwide and this small project is part of larger efforts to support biodiversity in the world’s oceans.
Wednesday, March 20
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Reception to Follow
The Arsenal Gallery
64th Street and Fifth Avenue
Free. Event seating is limited, to RSVP please email:
March 18, 2013
Community Boards Consider Safe Streets Proposals to Connect Bronx River Parks
The face of the southern Bronx River has changed in recent years. There are great new parks, including Hunts Point Riverside Park, Concrete Plant Park, Starlight Park, and more on the way. Unfortunately it's difficult for neighbors to walk or bike to these new parks, due to obstacles including rail lines, expressways, and busy streets. Fortunately, there's a proposal to make some streets safer and to better connect communities with our river.
The Alliance and our Greenway Team partners, especially Boogie Down Rides, Bike the Bronx, and Transportation Alternatives, worked with NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a proposal for new street improvements that make it easier to bike and walk to new Bronx River parks, especially where Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Avenue/Expressway cross the Bronx River. DOT responded to community concerns, and designed a proposal to re-work several streets and intersections. The new plans maintain the capacity for existing car and truck traffic, while making the streets safer and more convenient for walking and bicycling.
DOT presented their proposal to Bronx Community Boards 2 and 9 in mid-January. UPDATED 4/25/2013 CB9 did not have quorum on March 21, so CB vote postponed - now expected April 18th 2013. CB9 meets at 1967 Turnbull Avenue, Bronx, NY 10473. Note: no entrance on Turnbull Ave. Meeting room is on the second floor of the mall north of Turnbull – enter parking lot off White Plains Road between Story Ave and Turnbull Ave. If you like these proposals (or even if you don't), the Bronx River Alliance encourages you to attend the upcoming CB9 meeting and let them know what you think.
If you're unfamiliar with these streets, watch this Alliance/Transportation Alternatives/Boogie Down Rides video that explains existing conditions and concerns. See the full DOT proposal presentations here, and a Streetsblog article summarizing them here.
Below are some highlights from DOT's proposals: (These are proposals, as presented in January, not finalized. Things may change somewhat during final approval processes.)
On Westchester Avenue at Edgewater Road (between the Sheridan and the River), existing traffic lanes are preserved and re-striped. New bike lanes on Westchester and a new 2-way bikeway will connect to both Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park.
On Edgewater Road from Westchester to Starlight Park, new bike lanes will be added. This portion of Edgewater is along the Sheridan Expressway, and tends to serve as a Sheridan on-ramp. The Sheridan on-ramp is preserved, while making for safer bike connections to Starlight Park.
On Westchester Avenue at Whitlock, existing traffic lanes are preserved, while new painted "curb extensions" make for safer pedestrian crossings, making it easier to get to river parks.
March 08, 2013
Administrative Assistant Needed
JOB DESCRIPTION: ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, BRONX RIVER ALLIANCE
The Administrative Assistant supports the administrative functions and programs of the Bronx River Alliance, a non-profit organization, and the Bronx River office of the NYC Parks and Recreation Department. This is a part-time position, 20 hours/week.
The Bronx River Alliance serves as a coordinated voice for the river and works in harmonious partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor and greenway so that they can be healthy ecological, recreational, educational and economic resources for the communities through which the river flows.
Tasks and Responsibilities:
§ Maintain a welcoming environment for the public and partner organizations. Respond to telephone and visitor inquiries; gather and relay information by telephone, fax and email.
§ Assist of written correspondence/mailings/updating contact information.
§ Maintain office inventory and general supplies, submit and track purchase orders.
§ Support financial activities: Petty cash/banking transactions/vendor files/file updates/payroll related matters/Check writing & processing etc.
§ Assist Executive Director with meeting scheduling, materials, administrative filing.
§ Participate in and provide support for 8 – 10 special events on evenings and weekends.
§ Provide other program support as directed by Supervisor.
· Proficiency with both Word and Excel; experience with Internet usage.
· Experience with contact data base preferred.
· Minimum of two years experience working in an office, including experience with maintaining office systems and good record keeping & filing skills.
· Interest in the nonprofit sector and the aims of the Bronx River Alliance.
· Excellent time management and attention to detail.
· Associate degree or equivalent combination of education and experience.
· Comfortable working independently and in team environment.
· Bilingual (Spanish/English) skills preferred.
How to apply
Please submit resume & cover letter via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Maria Sawyer, Director of Finance & Administration, Bronx River Alliance, 1 Bronx River Parkway, Bronx, NY 10462. (E-mail is preferred).
aPPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED between March 8, 2013 until March 22, 2013
March 05, 2013
Seasonal Opportunity: Volunteer Coordinator
Become a Volunteer Coordinator with the Bronx River Alliance!
The Bronx River Alliance is looking for a new team member to come on board and work hands on with all aspects of the volunteer program and assist in leading hundreds of volunteers to clean the Bronx River, plant and care for trees and shrubs along its banks, and assist with community & cultural events. The Volunteer Coordinator will also assist with the development of local “grass roots” groups to care for parks along the river amongs other responsibilities.
If interested please click here for a job description.
March 01, 2013
"River of Hope" - a feature on the Bronx River from the NY Times (2012)
If you missed it the first time (or would just like to re-read it), check out Michael Kimmelman's profile on the Bronx River from 2012, A River of Hope in the Bronx.
March 01, 2013
Seasonal Opportunity: Become a Bronx River Conservation Crew Apprentice
Job Title: Bronx River Conservation Crew Apprentice
Eight months (April through November). Full-time at $12.50/hour
The Bronx River Alliance serves as a coordinated voice for the river and works in harmonious partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor and greenway so that they can be healthy ecological, recreational, educational, and economic resources for the communities through which the river flows. The Alliance Conservation Crew carries out ecological restoration, river and watershed management, and clean- up projects along the eight-mile stretch of the Bronx River in New York City and participates in education and outreach efforts to encourage the public to become stewards of their local natural resources.
Conservation Crew Apprentices receive training and gain skills and knowledge in numerous disciplines, including: forest, riparian, wetland and salt marsh ecology; botany; written and oral communications, including public speaking, data reporting, writing for the web; public education and outreach, including working with volunteers, planning events, visiting schools; technology skills such as using GPS units, water, fish, soil and plot monitoring equipment; erosion control and soil conservation techniques; installation, monitoring and maintenance of stormwater capture systems; canoeing/kayaking.
Click here for full job description.
Please submit your resume and cover letter to Michael.email@example.com by March 22, 2013.
February 14, 2013
NYC Parks is hiring!
NYC Parks has announced that the agency is hiring hundreds of workers this spring. Many are great entryways into city employment, including City Parks Workers, Parks Enforcement Patrol. Also check out the postings for Maintenance Workers and Foresters. More jobs are available via the NYC Careers website. (In the "Agency" field select Dept of Parks & Recreation to see available positions.)
February 07, 2013
Starlight Park is Open!
Starlight Park is open! The official ceremonies haven’t happened yet, but construction is complete and fences are down and the Bronx River Greenway’s newest park is open to the public. Enter at 177th, 174th or the north end of Edgewater Road, by the Sheridan Expressway onramp. Ride a bike, swing on a swing, shoot hoops, play some fútbol, take a walk, or just sit and enjoy the view of the Bronx River.
Big thanks to New York State Department of Transportation and New York City Parks Department for creating and maintaining Starlight Park. Also big thanks to Bronx community leaders without whom this park wouldn’t exist.
Note that this is just Phase 1 of Starlight Park. Additional water and bathrooms will be installed shortly, expect by late 2013. There's also a planned phase 2 that needs your help. Right now Starlight Park is 13 acres with 0.6miles of bike path. Soon, it should be 15 acres, with a mile of bike path, including three new bridges to connect the greenway east to 172nd Street and south to Westchester Avenue. Help get Starlight's phase 2 built! Read more about our Bridge the Gap campaign here, and add your name to the petition here. If you've already signed, share with your friends.
Starlight Park's official ribbon-cutting ceremonies haven’t been scheduled yet – but are expected in the next month or so. We'll announce it here as soon as it's confirmed. In the meantime, check out the brand new Starlight Park and let us know what you think!
Updated: Click here for a flier showing how to get to Starlight Park and where to park at Starlight Park.
photo copyright Charles R Berenguer Jr.
February 01, 2013
We're hiring! Bronx River Alliance seeks a Manager of Foundation and Goverment Grants
The Bronx River Alliance is looking for a qualified individual to serve as full-time Manager of Foundation and Government Grants. Salary range is $40,000 - $45,000.
About the job
The Manager of Foundation and Government Grants will report to the Deputy Director in close coordination with the Executive Director to raise money from foundation and government sources to support the Alliance’s programs and services.
- Manage the grant process, writing grant proposals, reports and letters of inquiry, while tracking the funding cycle. Research and pursue new institutional funding prospects.
- Collaborate with program staff to develop compelling proposals and reports.
- Track progress against fundraising goals and ensure timely renewals and reports.
- Manage a contact database to track funders and deadlines.
- Maintain relationships with donors to communicate progress of programs and explore funding opportunities, and participate in direct solicitation meetings.
- Become familiar with the Alliance’s programs and current issues related to these programs, by meeting with program managers, reviewing related studies and articles, and attending events and staff meetings.
- Coordinate external communications through a monthly e-newsletter, Facebook, twitter, and press releases.
About the Bronx River Alliance: The Bronx River Alliance leads the effort to protect, improve, and restore the Bronx River and create a continuous greenway along its eight-mile length in the Bronx. It serves as a coordinated voice for the river and works in partnership with many organizations to ensure that the river corridor will be a healthy ecological, recreational, educational, and economic resource for communities along the river. The Alliance employs a staff of 20 and has a budget over $1.6 million.
- 2 years grants management or writing experience in nonprofit organizations and/or government agencies or equivalent business experience.
- Excellent writing and communications skills, as well as ability to understand and communicate budgets to funders.
- Ability to communicate and work with diverse constituents, including funders, program staff and board members.
- Strong attention to detail.
- Ability to be self-starting, think creatively, work quickly under pressure, and meet deadlines.
- Familiarity with Word and Excel, database software, the web, and social media; experience with fundraising software, especially Sage, a plus.
How to apply: Please submit a resume, cover letter and writing sample via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Maggie Greenfield, Bronx River Alliance, One Bronx River Parkway, Bronx, NY 10462 by February 20, 2013. No calls or faxes, please.
January 29, 2013
30+ Years of Bronx River Restoration on Display at the Bronx River Art Center Gallery
A new exhibit highlighting 30+ years of restoration on the Bronx River will open on Friday, Feburary 1 at the Bronx River Art Center's Gallery space at 305 E. 140th Street, #1A, Bronx, NY 10454.
Process and Progress: Drew Manahan, Meta Local Collaborative & The Bronx River Alliance showcases the past, the present and the future of commnuity and government efforts to restore the Bronx River. According to BRAC, "Architect Drew Manahan explores how the wilderness around the river has resurfaced within the South Bronx's urban environment through renderings and drawings and how this evolving ecology and the river is creating new ephemeral or transcendental experiences for the borough's inhabitants."
In addition, Meta Local Collaboratiive has partnered with the Bronx River Alliance to curate a selection of photos, plans, maps, documents from our archives, dating back to the early days of Bronx River Restoration in the 1970s. "These images trace how spaces along the river have changed throughout the years, revisit past restoration and recreation plans, and consider the river's present state and plans for its future," according to BRAC. "Meta Local is showcasing work they are developing which focuses on public access to the Bronx River Greenway."
January 10, 2013
Urban Omnibus: "We Want it Back: Reclaiming the Bronx River"
"In 2009, after ten years of living, working and teaching in Spain, Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi, principals of SLO Architecture, began what would become a series of long-term projects in the Bronx. .... Their latest project is Bronx River Right-of-Way, a proposal to reuse a historically significant, but abandoned train station adjacent to Concrete Plant Park."
Read the full article here.
Bronx River Right-of-Way | Center: former waiting room of Westchester Avenue Station moved to the riverside and reused as a boathouse
Bronx River Right-of-Way | Right: Former head house with a new bridge connecting Westchester Avenue to Concrete Plant Park
Bronx River Right-of-Way | View of new entryway and boathouse from Concrete Plant Park
January 10, 2013
Action Alert: Support Better Bike and Pedestrian Access to our New Parks!
Show your support for better bicycle and pedestrian access to our new parks at two upcoming Community Board meetings
Our major successes on the southern Bronx River are our new parks, particularly Hunts Point Riverside Park, Concrete Plant Park, and Starlight Park (opening soon!). As wonderful as these new parks are, access to them is poor.
We have been working with NYCDOT for several years to develop improvements that would make it easier to bike and walk to these new parks. DOT has prepared formal recommendations and will be presenting them to Community Boards 2 and 9 next week.
Please come and show your support for these improvements at these Community Board meetings! These improvements will enable more and more folks of all ages and abilities to access the wonderful new parks along the Bronx River Greenway.
To learn more about why these improvements are so important, watch a great video prepared by the Bronx River Greenway Team, Boogie Down Rides, Bike the Bronx, and Transportation Alternatives. And join us at these upcoming meetings!
Community Board 9, Public Service & Housing Committee
Date: Tuesday, January 15
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: 1967 Turnbull Avenue, 2nd Floor, Room 7, Bronx, NY
Community Board 2, Municipal Services Committee
Date: Wednesday, January 16
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: 1029 East 163rd Street, Bronx, NY
Our new parks are beautiful and great for biking and walking
But access roads like this one (the on-ramp to the Sheridan Expressway
from Westchester Ave) make them difficult to access!
January 08, 2013
Streetsblog covers Bridge the Gap campaign
"Bronx River Advocates Petition State and City to Fix Greenway Gap" by Stephen Miller. Monday, January 7, 2013.
"While a network of parks continues to sprout along the banks of the Bronx River, a dangerous gap between two parks could fester for years, preventing the creation of a continuous, safe walking and biking route for local residents. Advocates have launched a petition asking the city and state to overcome bureaucratic hurdles to complete the missing link, so people don’t have to risk their lives biking and walking across a freeway on-ramp between two parks."
Read complete article here.
January 07, 2013
Bronx River Watershed Project Manager needed!
NYC Parks Department is hiring for a seasonal position that will focus on the Bronx River.
City of New York/Parks & Recreation
Seasonal Job Vacancy Notice
Office Title: Ecological Restoration Project Manager
The Natural Resources Group (NRG) is a division within NYC Parks & Recreation, and is responsible for acquisition, protection, restoration, and management of remnant and restored natural areas within the nearly 29,000 acres of City parkland. NRG develops natural area management and restoration programs and provides technical research that aids in the protection of the City’s natural resources.
NRG has a full-time position for a Project Manager (PM) to implement ecological restoration projects focused primarily in the Bronx River watershed with the aim of meeting both environmental and social goals. These goals include creating fish passage for diadromous fish (river herring and American eel), restoring native vegetation communities, controlling invasive species, enhancing habitat for aquatic life, restoring oyster reefs in the estuary, better managing stormwater, implementing the Bronx River Ecological Restoration and Watershed Plans, and increasing community education and stewardship. The PM will be responsible for project management, coordination, permitting, planning, reporting, research, and monitoring, as well as for working with community groups, nonprofit organizations, consultants, federal, state and local agencies, and other divisions within Parks. Under the guidance of the Director of Wetlands Restoration, the PM may also assist with monitoring, design, and planning for wetlands and aquatic resource protection and restoration projects across NYC.
January 02, 2013
NY Times Tells Story of Why We Must Bridge the Gap on the Bronx River Greenway
A Long-Closed Park Is Soon to Reopen, Improved Yet Still Hard to Reach. By David Gonzalez. December 28, 2012
Sign the petition to Bridge the Gap on the Bronx River Greenway!
All David Shuffler wanted to do when he was 14 years old was play basketball on the street and go to Starlight Park – which despite its name was a dimly lighted, dusty sliver tucked between the Bronx River and the Sheridan Expressway.
A lot has happened since that time. The park, thanks to the work of grass-roots groups and New York City and State agencies, has been remade into a green gem and will soon reopen after more than a decade. It’s part of a trail known as the Bronx River Greenway, which was designed to connect the tip of the South Bronx and the shaded, grassy parks up in Westchester County, with parks, pedestrian bridges and bike paths along the way.
And some things haven’t changed. Mr. Shuffler, 33, still lives in his childhood home. And it’s still a hard trek getting to the park. Read the complete story here.