2013 was a productive year for the Bronx River Alliance’s Ecology Program in greening the river, through our work with partners and the community in restoring native habitats, improving stormwater capture, and providing green jobs training and opportunities.
Muskrat Cove Park:
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. The Conservation Crew joined with Biohabitats, the project’s designer, to install 80 native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in the forest, as part of a larger project to stabilize a stormwater pipe and improve the conditions in the area surrounding it. The nearby slope was reconfigured to direct water from the Parkway into a raingarden rather than onto the pathway, providing water for blueberry bushes and native ferns.
A 650-foot long section of degraded pathway was removed to expand the buffer along the river near 219th Street, expanding habitat and improving stormwater capture by reducing the amount of pavement near the river. On November 16th, approximately 40 volunteers planted 770 trees and shrubs at the site, incorporating a mix of native species selected by the Friends of Shoelace Park.
Our seasonal apprentices completed their time with the Alliance on November 16th, helping us in meeting our program goals while gaining training and valuable on-the-ground work experience. We were pleased to hire one of the apprentices, Jose Santiago, as a permanent member of the conservation crew. A big thank you to Parks for supplying a rotating group of horticultural Jobs Training Program members to work alongside our staff in the field, providing much-needed help with our conservation work.
The Alliance has been successful in expanding stormwater capture at Shoelace Park and Muskrat Cove, as described above. Our crew has helped maintain the green roof at the Bronx Parks headquarters, as well as raingardens at Shoelace and the newly-opened Starlight Park. We continue to maintain the rainbarrel and raingarden at French Charley Park and the greenstreet at Sagamore and Cruger near our offices. The Bronx River Alliance is pleased be offering outreach and education to the community as part of a part of a five-year study of green infrastructure in the Soundview neighborhood, led by Columbia University School of Engineering and funded by the National Science Foundation.
Construction is underway at the 182nd Street dam fish passage, designed to connect migratory river herring with the freshwater habitats they need for spawning in the river. With a projected completion date of spring 2014, the first phase of the project is focused on the west bank of the river, incorporating improved canoe portage into the fish passage design.
Looking ahead to 2014:
The Ecology Team’s first meeting of 2014 will be held on Thursday, January 23rd at Rocking the Boat from 2 to 4 p.m. Please join us for an opportunity to learn about the Rebuild by Design proposal for the Hunts Point Section of the Bronx. Sponsored by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and HUD, this project is aimed at addressing vulnerabilities exposed by Hurricane Sandy and developing solutions to better protect residents from future climate events. This innovative proposal seeks to develop "site-specific designs for integrated storm protection and green infrastructure that offers high quality social space, engages industrial property owners, and has components that can be manufactured locally and built cooperatively."