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20th Anniversary Open Letter

BxRA Founding Image 11_21_01

Dear Bronx River Partners, Volunteers, Members, and Supporters,

20 years! It’s hard to believe that two decades have passed since a band of passionate community leaders joined together to realize their vision of the Bronx River as a force for community-led environmental reclamation in the heart of the Bronx. Since 2001, we have achieved so much, together with YOU, such as:

Transformation: the river, once a neglected, shunned eyesore, is now a source of community pride. The river is getting cleaner and more beautiful each year, the Alliance is growing stronger and deeper as an organization, and above all, communities along the river are making the river more and more their own.

 

Parkland: together with NYC Parks and community-based partners, we have created 22 new acres of waterfront parkland in the South Bronx—Concrete Plant Park, Hunts Point Riverside Park, Starlight Park—and improved 26 more. We have secured and coordinated over $250 million for greenway capital and river restoration projects.

 

Education: Over 20,000 students have utilized the river as a living laboratory. In the midst of the pandemic, we launched a new, paid internship program for South Bronx youth. In 2021, we are embarking on a new partnership with Lehman’s Summer Institute, offering an environmental science unit for local high school students to earn college credit and a stipend.

 

Recreation: To paddle the river is to see it, and the Bronx, in a new light. 25,000 people have paddled with us. Thousands more with partner organizations. We’ve created 9 boat launches where previously there were none.

 

Habitat: We have switched from counting the number of cars pulled from the river to counting the new wildlife returning to the river—including beaver, American eel, and alewife herring, that we’ve worked together with NYC Parks to boost through installation of a fish ladder, habitat restoration, and annual stocking.

 

Cleaning + Greening: We have planted over 130,000 trees, shrubs and other plants and removed 700 tons of garbage, 89 cars and over 30,000 tires, appliances, bicycles, and furniture. We also engage community members in critical policy issues affecting the river and champion and steward green infrastructure—rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs—throughout the watershed.

 

Community Stewardship: Over 20,000 volunteers have devoted more than 120,000 hours to restoring and enjoying their river; dozens of local organizations have incorporated river restoration into their work.

 

River House, we are thrilled to now be opening your new boathouse and environmental classroom! We look forward to inviting you into the space to build our partnerships for the Bronx River and Greenway.

 

This doesn’t even capture all of what we’ve done together in these twenty years! Join us as we build on these successes and achieve so much more, for your river and the communities through which it flows.

 

Sincerely, 

Maggie Scott Greenfield, Executive Director

Nilka Martell, Board Chair

Join us in celebrating our 20th anniversary

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About the Bronx River Alliance

The Bronx River Alliance is a coordinated voice for the river that works in partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy ecological, recreational, resource for the communities through which it flows.

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