This past week, Bronx River Alliance Director of Environmental Stewardship, Michelle Luebke, spoke on a panel at the Lower Hudson Urban Waters Summit at Pace University in Pleasantville, New York. The panel, “Progress, Impediments, and Opportunities in our Watersheds,” addressed challenges and triumphs in maintaining and restoring watersheds in the Lower Hudson. In addition to Michelle representing the Bronx River Alliance, speakers from the Pocantico River Watershed Alliance, Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance, Hudson River Watershed Alliance, and Saw Mill River Coalition joined her on the panel.
Michelle highlighted the three largest challenges facing the ecology of the Bronx River: floatable trash, fecal bacteria, and low oxygen levels. While there is still a lot of work to be done to overcome these challenges, a lot of progress has been made. Since June 2016, Project WASTE has removed three tons of trash and two additional trash booms are set to be installed in the Westchester County section of the river. Additional progress has been made in the form of great efforts to expand the use of volunteers and citizen scientists in water monitoring initiatives, and the results have been impressive! Thanks to Bronx River Alliance citizen scientists and volunteers, an abnormal level of pollutants in a certain part of the river were found, the source was then identified, and the relevant municipality was contacted and resolved the issue. To find out more about becoming a volunteer and helping out with water quality monitoring on the Bronx River
The conference presented an amazing opportunity to meet with fellow water advocacy organizations, promote grassroots activism to clean up our rivers, and promote citizen science. We look forward to working with our partners throughout the Lower Hudson and continuing to engage diverse communities to recruit new stewards of the Bronx River.