The Bronx River Alliance was officially organized in 2001 but the founding members of the group have been working with the community since the mid-1970s. Through the hard work and support of our team, the river has transformed from a dumping ground for waste where sunken cars could often be found into a recovering ecosystem where fish, migrating birds, and even beaver can be found. But despite our past efforts, we have known that bacteria levels in the River were high. The Alliance has partnered with the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP),
New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), and Rocking the Boat to monitor and create a study to find out how high the levels really are.
We just want to learn the basics," says Damian Griffin, the Alliance’s Chief Educator. "Where are the bacteria most concentrated and do the levels change with the weather. In the end, we would like to use the study to help clean the river."
So far, from the information we’ve collected, the levels have been consistently high; past a safe level for people swim in. The Bronx River Alliance’s Ecology Director, Robin Kriesberg noted, "People are already swimming and fishing in the Bronx River. We need to keep the community healthy and safe by doing a better job of keeping our river clean."
Kriesberg represents the Alliance on the steering committee of S.W.I.M (Stormwater Infrastructure Matters), a city-wide coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable waters around New York City through sustainable stormwater management.
This grant program is the result of a close collaboration between many of the Bronx River Alliance’s partners: HEP, NEIWPCC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). It is based on the successful Barnegat Bay water quality monitoring partnership led by NJDEP.
Stay tuned to find out how we can continue to clean the Bronx River and keep our community safe. To find out more about the Bronx River or the EPA sponsored bacteria study, contact Damian Girffin or Robin Kriesberg.
(Above) The bacteria study lab at Rock the Boat. (Right) Bronx River Alliance staff & Sam Marquand of Rock the Boat viewing this weeks results.