As the sun rose over the Bronx on Monday, August 18, groups of scientists from several New York organizations waded out into the Bronx River. Each group was looking for something different but all of them were unified to provide a unique perspective on the health of the river. Many of the tests and surveys complied to create "A Day in the Life of the Bronx River" had never been completed in the river while others, like the Bronx River Alliance’s bacteria and water quality monitoring survey, have been going on for a period of time. Read the press release for a full list of projects and participants.
This study will provide a point for future scientific studies to be held against. To understand where we are going, we have to know where we have been. The data and samples gathered by the teams will allow citizens and scientist to better understand the Bronx River moving forward.
For example, nearly a hundred Asian Freshwater clams were found a few sample points near Shoelace Park. While their presents shows that clams can live in the river, experts don’t know if they have pushed native freshwater clams out or if the native species were wiped out years ago due to pollution. People will now be able to look back to this day and will know how the river has changed.
Maggie Greenfield, Director of Programs & Development, noted that, "This day is really sort of a snapshot of both the wealth of diversity that we have along the Bronx River as well as some of the problems we face."
The Bronx Botanical Gardens discovered several native species of aquatic plants and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries Office caught some large American Eels. You can watch the NYDEC Fisheries office electro-fish for eels and other fish in this video filmed by one of their students. These are only two of the many tests and surveys completed in the Bronx River.
(Left; Asian Freshwater Clams. Right; Team of Scientists Electrofish to Sample Species Population In Bronx River)
The Bronx River Alliance helped to organize this event in order to bring together the many organizations, institutions, and individuals who have been working in and around the Bronx River for years but have never met. These new connections will allow scientists to gather data, share notes, and consult each other to create a clearer picture of the Bronx River than when they worked separately. The Alliance looks forward to fostering future collaborations and conversations between the scientific and Bronx communities working and living along the river.
Monday’s "A Day in the Life of the Bronx River" event received media attention on a local and national scale. Here are just a few of those stories:
Oysters Aid Bronx River Cleanup, Mollusks Help Filter Out Pollutants From River, Wall Street Journal article details the efforts of the Alliance & Rocking the Boat to revive the oyster population in the Bronx River. (August 18, 2014)
Note: Those without subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal will not be able to view this link
Scientists Launch Study Of Complex Ecosystems In Bronx River, Linda Cox, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance, reported on some of the findings from Study to CBS (August 18, 2014)
Bronx River Health Checkup Shows Ebbs and Flows, Article contains video report by New York 1 news station. Scientists, environmental advocates and private citizens got their feet wet to find out how healthy the Bronx River is. (August 18, 2014)
Learn About Eels and Oysters at the Bronx River, DNAinfo article announces a day of scientific study on the Bronx
River. (August 15, 2014)