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Ecology Program

Restoration in Action

Dedicated to the restoration of the only freshwater river in NYC. The primary issues facing the Bronx River today are from too much stormwater, invasive plant & animal species, and trash. 

The Ecological Restoration and Management unit works to protect, improve, and restore the Bronx River corridor.

Using rigorous science, sound planning, and community-driven involvement, we have set our sights on achieving a “fishable, swimmable” river, a goal set by the Clean Water Act.

To do this, we conduct on-the-ground ecological restoration projects, such as habitat restoration and streambank stabilization activities that are led by the Bronx River Conservation Crew and amplified by thousands of volunteers.

Our Team also advocates for sound policy and sustainable practices to improve the health of the Bronx River, and other local waterways.

At every step of the way, we are committed to ensuring that community voices are not just heard, but lead the way. To get involved,sign up here!

Find out more about the causes, solutions, and ways to get involved below!


To achieving a “fishable, swimmable” river, as defined and set by the Clean Water Act.

To learn more about hands-on restoration of the Bronx River or the Eco Team, contact Christian Murphy at: christian.murphy@bronxriver.org

Page Contents

Accomplishments over the last few years include:

Tons of Garbage Removed
0 +
Cubic Yards of Invasive Vegetation Removed
0 M
Trees, Shrubs, Herbaceous, Grasses Planted
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Monitoring Sites

Featured Content

Water Database

A database of Bronx River water quality

Whether you are a steward, student or researcher, this page is your one stop to learning about Bronx River water quality. Use this webpage to upload your collected water quality data or research valuable historical data that has been collected by our stewards. Collected water quality data helps us understand the river and the effects of the community on the river.

Consider becoming a Bronx River steward and help us protect, improve and restore the Bronx River! For more information or questions as to how to use this site, please call 718-430-4692 or send an email to christian.murphy@bronxriver.org.

Green Infrastructure

Keeping green to reduce storm overflow

Every year, 27 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater flows into New York City’s waterways via combined sewer overflows. Green infrastructure keeps stormwater out of the sewer system and is a way to manage stormwater onsite, creating a healthier watershed. Additional benefits include increased neighborhood green space, biodiversity restoration via the creation of additional habitat, natural filtration of pollutants, carbon sequestration, cleaner air, and cooler temperatures.

Alewife Game

Can YOU Survive a Day in the Life of an Alewife?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fish in the Bronx River? Should you swim near the shore or out in the middle? Now you can experience just that! Just click below and follow the prompts to download and play!


Will you swim to the spawning grounds? 

The Ecological Program Teams

Working Groups

Ecology Team

The Ecology Team, a committee of scientists, city, state, and federal agency representatives, and local community representatives, serves as a forum to discuss, evaluate, and prioritize environmental studies and on-the-ground projects that promote ecological health of the river and its watershed.

Every year, the Ecology Team members elect two co-chairs to represent them on the Bronx River Alliance Board of Directors.

Ecology Team Co-chairs:
Eliot Nagele, New York Botanical Garden
Rebecca Swadek, NYC Parks

The team ensures that all projects, both large and small, are in accordance with the ecological principles set by the team and that these principles guide the Alliance’s Watershed Policy and Planning and Conservation Crew work.

The Ecology Team meets quarterly. Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 14th, 2022. More details soon.

For more information about these meetings, please call Christian Murphy at 718.430.4692 or christian.murphy@bronxriver.org

Conservation Crew

Much of our on-the-ground work is done by our Conservation Crew who serve as the river’s eyes and ears. They spot and report oil spills, remove channel blockages and trail hazards, and maintain all the natural areas around the Bronx River. The Crew also leads restoration through invasive plant removal and management, native species plantings, green infrastructure maintenance for stormwater management, and riparian restoration.

We provide mentorship for green job training programs for groups like Sustainable South Bronx’s B.E.S.T (Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training) Program in ecology and river management, with all of our senior Crew members numbering among its graduates. Through our Apprenticeship program, graduates have found career opportunities in ecology and in team management with NYC Parks Jobs. The Crew also works with volunteers, community-based organizations, school groups, and other restoration teams. These collaborative relationships provide the opportunity for Crew members to mentor youth who are interested in restoration, which will ensure future stewardship of the River by engaging youth and resident volunteers.

For more information about the Crew, contact Conservation Manager, Michael Mendez: michael.mendez@bronxriver.org

Get Involved

Restoration Opportunities

Ecological restoration of The Bronx River and Greenway is only made possible by volunteer residents up and down the watershed.

Opportunities to get involved include:

  • Project WASTE (Water and Street Trash Elimination)
  • Project Water DROP (Detecting River Outfalls and Pollutants)
  • Bronx River Sweep – in partnership with Riverkeeper and American Rivers
  • Wildlife monitoring, especially river herring and American eels – Aquatic Species Monitoring How-to Guide
  • Invasive species removal
  • Native species planting

Bronx River Stewards are community scientists and volunteers that participate in hands-on data collection and environmental restoration work. Stewards come from school groups, community groups, and individual residents who care about the Bronx River. Stewards may participate in any number of different monitoring studies, including water and soil quality conditions, trash levels in the river, organismal population data, health of trees and forests, and act as the primary watchdog for their stretch of the river!

If you would like to get involved please send an email to volunteer@bronxriver.org.

Writings & Blog Posts

Stories from the River

Gators in the Bronx!

One of New York’s most enduring urban legends is the tale of the alligators haunting the sewers, descendants of souvenir baby ‘gators supposedly discarded and

Read More »

The Witch Canoe

As the approach of Halloween heralds the end of our paddling season, we’ll share with you a strange river legend that hails not from the

Read More »

Join us in transforming
our community by getting
involved with the Alliance

Deepen your roots in transforming your own ecosystem: restoring the river, making the greenway viable for wildlife, creating parks and trails, growing food, and making this accessible to all.

You’ll feel more part of this land and the people (and nature) living with it.