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Archive for the 'Hudson River' Category

Guide for creating vibrant waterfronts

November
16

The following came in from Scenic Hudson:

New Guide Helps Hudson River Communities Create Accessible, Healthy and Economically Vibrant Waterfronts
Publication also details preparedness for potential climate change impacts

HUDSON VALLEY – Communities throughout the region recognize that Hudson River waterfronts offer rich opportunities for economic development, recreation, environmental health and scenic beauty. These multiple values make the valley’s Hudson waterfronts hotspots for revitalization. But they also can create battlegrounds where competing priorities must be resolved. Scenic Hudson has created a new, practical how-to guide with strategies that can bring interested groups together to reinvent our precious waterfronts into powerful community assets.

Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts: Illustrated Conservation & Development Strategies for Creating Healthy, Prosperous Communities aims to help local officials, planners, developers and concerned citizens realize the full potential of their shorelines. Written to be helpful to riverfront communities of all sizes, Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts presents an economically sustainable and environmentally sound vision for waterfronts throughout the valley.

The Scenic Hudson publication illustrates for communities how to create publicly accessible, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use waterfronts in municipal centers while protecting ecologically important natural areas and iconic views. The book offers tools that will enable municipalities to focus development in areas with existing infrastructure close to transportation hubs and concentrate water-dependent commerce along the river—marinas, maritime museums, fishing operations, etc. Strategies in the guide are aimed at attracting visitors and permanent residents to downtowns, spurring new business opportunities.

The guide may be one of the first published to include strategies to help municipalities prepare for and head off the impacts of sea-level rise associated with climate change. Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts includes steps for reducing the carbon emissions of developments, promoting sustainable design.

Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson, said, “Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts not only lays out a vision for ensuring a healthy economic and environmental future for the Hudson Valley, but also offers practical tools necessary to achieve it. The book’s strategies will help public officials, developers and citizens work together to increase public access to the region’s greatest asset, the Hudson River. They also will reduce sprawling development that would otherwise obliterate the breathtaking landscapes and quality of life that are the foundation of the region’s $4.7-billion tourism economy and magnets for new business. Further, the guide seeks to ensure viability of our important farming industry and the healthy, local food it yields.”

Jonathan F.P. Rose, president, Jonathan Rose Companies, is an award-winning thought leader on green urban real estate solutions and has been featured widely in media ranging from CNN to The New York Times. Commenting on the Scenic Hudson guide, Mr. Rose said, “Over the next 40 years, America’s population will grow by more than 90 million. We have a significant choice as to how to accommodate this growth—either we will continue to sprawl, with its negative economic and environmental consequences, or we will rebuild and concentrate development in our cities, where it is most efficient. The Hudson Valley is blessed with wonderful riverfront cities and towns. Revitalizing waterfronts is one of the key ways to attract people to live and work in them.

“Scenic Hudson’s guide to revitalizing waterfronts clearly lays out the principles and strategies needed to create great places along the river, and backs them up with examples of completed projects. We are cleaning up the Hudson. This excellent guide provides Hudson Valley communities with a pathway to benefit from the river’s return to health. Particularly important and groundbreaking are its recommendations on adaptation to sea level rise due to climate change.”

Kudos for the guide also came from Judith Enck, regional administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2. That region encompasses New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven Tribal Nations. Ms. Enck’s 30 years of experience in the environmental field includes time as deputy secretary of the environment for New York State and policy advisor to New York State’s attorney general.

“Environmentally sustainable waterfront development is critical to connecting people to the Hudson River, a true jewel in our own backyard. This report gives solid, practical advice to local communities, businesses, planners, environmentalists and others on how best to improve access to the river in a way that protects the ecological integrity of the river. I applaud Scenic Hudson for this valuable report and their ongoing work to protect and restore this magnificent river,” said Ms. Enck.

Robert D. Yaro, president, Regional Plan Association (N.Y., N.J., Conn.), the nation’s oldest independent metropolitan policy, research and advocacy group, affirmed the guide’s value. A frequent author and sought-after expert, Mr. Yaro also is a professor of practice, City and Regional Planning, at the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts. He expressed the importance of Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts: “Scenic Hudson has produced what no doubt will be a standard reference for all those who care about the future of the Hudson River Valley. The guiding principles and wonderful illustrations of infill and other centers-oriented development strategies will be of use to citizens, decision-makers and design professionals seeking to grow the valley’s economy in the right places.”

Specific advice on waterfronts built to absorb climate impacts while revitalizing communities
Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts includes practical strategies to help communities minimize damage to private property, public utilities and facilities as sea levels rise with climate change. By keeping critical infrastructure out of the way of rising sea levels, implementing green stormwater technologies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, communities can lower risks and costs to their citizens while improving access and natural resource health along the river.

Continuous greenway corridor among key strategies
One of the book’s most important recommendations is to create a continuous riverfront greenway corridor extending inland to the 100-year floodplain. In addition to providing public access to the river, the greenway would allow for the conservation of critical wildlife habitat and offer a buffer from flooding and storm surges. The book also points to resources for restoring and rehabilitating wetlands and other natural areas, and safeguarding the quality of groundwater, critical for protecting communities’ drinking-water supplies.

Guide’s dynamic design, illustrations and other resources key to its effectiveness
Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts features six chapters, 80 photographs and 30 drawings and maps that vividly illustrate strategies discussed in the text. It also offers links to dozens of additional online resources as well as an appendix of local ordinances that have helped communities across the state create more economically vibrant, environmentally healthy waterfronts.

The book is available online at www.revitalizinghudsonriverfronts.org .

Scenic Hudson planner will present on guide at upcoming conferences
Jeffrey Anzevino, director of Scenic Hudson’s Land Use Advocacy department, will make a presentation on the guide to professional groups at the New York State Conference on the Environment on Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Thayer Hotel, at West Point, and at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s annual conference on Tuesday, Nov. 30, in New York City.

Planning, environmental experts head editorial team
Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts was created for the New York Department of State’s Office of Coastal, Local Government and Community Sustainability with support from the Environmental Protection Fund administered through the City of Kingston. Theodore Eisenman was senior editor; Scenic Hudson staff serving as editors were Jeffrey Anzevino; Steve Rosenberg, senior vice president and executive director of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust; and Sacha Spector, Ph.D., director of Conservation Science.

The editors were guided by an Editorial Advisory Committee composed of leading experts on the Hudson River, planning, climate change and the environment. They included Heather Boyer, senior editor, Island Press; Suzanne Cahill, city planner, City of Kingston; John Clarke, development and design coordinator, Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development; Dr. Klaus H. Jacob, senior research scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University; Barbara Kendall, watershed special projects coordinator, Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program; Lynn Richards, Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Dr. David Strayer, freshwater ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; Sarah van der Schalie, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and David VanLuven, former Hudson River Estuary program manager, The Nature Conservancy.

About Scenic Hudson
Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with more than 25,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Our team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural resources. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 50 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved more than 28,000 acres. www.scenichudson.org <http://www.scenichudson.org/>

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 at 10:44 am |
| | 2 Comments »

A shad from the Hudson

September
22

There was no recreational or commercial fishing for shad in the Hudson River this year in an effort to help the dwindling fish population recover. But my daughter, along with a handful of others on Saturday, got a glimpse of some of this year’s young shad as they made their way out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Tom Lake, an estuary naturalist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, netted a few during a Hudson River Valley ramble session. He figured the young fish born this year would be out in the ocean by the end of the month.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
| | 35 Comments »

Sailing and sampling

April
30

Not only will the Clearwater sloop be plying the waters of the Hudson River when it launches for the season tomorrow but it will also be collecting water quality data from the river.

When the boat launches for the year on Saturday, May 1, it will be equipped with monitoring equipment to broadcast river data round-the-clock, focusing on water temperature, salinity, turbidity and other measurements.

The boat will become the latest part of the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS).

(Photo by Vincent DiSalvio/The Journal News).

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 11:16 am |
| | 1 Comment »

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Don’t forget your saltwater fishing license

April
27

Saltwater anglers this year need to remember they need a marine fishing license, a requirement that went into effect last fall. With striped-bass season getting underway, the state Department of Environmental Conservation sent out a reminder about the new licenses. Basically, if you’re fishing in the Sound or the ocean (within three nautical miles of shore), you need a marine license. Where it gets tricky is the Hudson River.

From the announcement:

Depending on the specific location of the Hudson River fishing activities, and/or the specific species fished for, an angler may need to have a recreational marine fishing license, a freshwater fishing license or both licenses:

If you are fishing downstream from the Tappan Zee Bridge, you are considered fishing in the marine and coastal district and will need to have a recreational marine fishing license – regardless of species of fish you are fishing for.

If you are fishing upstream from the Tappan Zee Bridge and are fishing for non-migratory fish (such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, carp, walleye, and perch) only, you need to have a freshwater fishing license.

If you are fishing upstream from the Tappan Zee Bridge and are fishing for “migratory fish from the sea” (such as striped bass, hickory shad, blueback herring, or alewife) only, you need to have a recreational marine fishing license.

If you are fishing upstream from the Tappan Zee Bridge and are fishing for migratory fish from the sea and non-migratory fish, you need both a recreational marine fishing license and a freshwater fishing license.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 at 11:58 am |
| | 165 Comments »

Money for trees for streams

April
6

In recent years, Trees for Tribs, an effort of the state’s Hudson River Estuary Program, has planted almost 4,000 trees and shrubs along tributaries feeding the Hudson River in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties.

Now, Trees for Tribs, through a partnership with the Hudson Basin River Watch, is in the running for a $50,000 grant to help it further its efforts along the Hudson River. By voting here, you can help the program win the grant.

Planting shrubs and trees along a stream bank accomplishes several things. The vegetation filters and slows pollution runoff, prevents erosion and shades the stream to keep water temperature down, among other benefits.

Voting (which you can do once a day from now until the end of August) requires you to register with the Web site, which promotes the winery that is funding the grant. But you have a chance to opt out of receiving future information about the winery, if that helps.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 at 10:04 am |
| | 1 Comment »

No more shad fishing

March
18

The state this week banned all shad fishing – commercial and recreational – in the Hudson River and also set limits in the Delaware River. This comes AmericanShadafter scientists for years have been watching shad numbers in the Hudson decline. Efforts to just curtail fishing, implemented in 2008, didn’t seem to do the trick.

“Unfortunately, the Hudson River shad stock has declined dramatically for more than a decade and even the restrictions enacted in 2008 have not triggered a rebound,” Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a statement. “As a result, closing the fishery for now is the best way to try to prevent this historically important species from permanently vanishing from the Hudson River ecosystem. It’s not a step we take lightly and we will continue to work on a process for reopening the fishery if and when the shad population recovers to sustainable levels.”

The decision, according to fishermen in this Poughkeepsie Journal story, won’t solve the problem. They blame the overabundance of striped bass in the river for eating all the shad.

I’ve seen a big decline of shad (in the river), and something has to be done about it — that’s certainly true,” said Leo Wojciehowski, a former commercial shad fisherman from Saugerties. But he pointed to the overpopulation of striped bass as the problem.

The DEC’s shad recovery plan, though, dismisses both striped bass and the river’s water quality as causes of the shad decline.

Two hypotheses for causes of shad decline were discounted in the recent ASMFC (2007a) analyses. They were striped bass predation on mature shad and poor water quality. Crecco et al (2007) reported that adult striped bass preyed on small mature American shad in the
Connecticut River. The authors speculated that the recent increase in striped bass abundance may have affected shad abundance in other Atlantic Coastal rivers. However, extensive analyses of Hudson River striped bass gut contents concluded that this was not an issue in the Hudson (ASMFC 2007a). Moreover, abundance data for adults from several East Coast Rivers suggested no relationship between striped bass abundance and shad abundance. Declines in water quality in shad spawning and nursery areas have been suggested as a cause of shad decline in some east coast estuaries. However, this is not so in the Hudson where water quality has improved over the last 30 years.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, March 18th, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

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One herring, two herring, three herring more

March
15

OK, maybe counting herring doesn’t make a good Dr. Suess book. But the state Department of Environmental Conservation is looking for volunteers to help it monitor the river herring population in the Hudson River and its tributaries. tjndc5-5b3g99tm9cicpe456jt_layout

The fish spend most of their lives in the ocean but return each spring to the Hudson and its tribs to spawn. The play an important economic and ecological role in the river, becoming prey for larger fish and a sought-after quarry for commercial and recreational fishermen.

“Although a valuable resource, river herring stocks along the East Coast are declining. No single cause has been identified, but it is likely a combination of dams (which restrict their migrations into tributaries to spawn), invasive species such as the zebra mussel, over fishing, bycatch losses (caught in fisheries that target other species), and increases in predator populations,” according to the DEC.

Volunteers are needed to watch specific sites and get a sense if herring are using the tributary.

Information on the volunteer program is here, as well as on this flier. For those who want to get involved in Westchester, the info session is 3/25 at the Croton library.

(TJN photo)

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, March 15th, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Eagles, eagles, eagles

February
3

Did you know bald eagles can be seen in 49 of the 50 states? Hawaii is bald-eagle-less. Among the top places to see a bald eagle this winter, according to the National Wildlife Federation, is the Hudson River.

You can try and take advantage of that opportunity this Saturday at the 6th Annual Hudson River EagleFest.

In case you missed it, here was a recent story I did about volunteers counting eagles along and near the Hudson.

The photo by TJN photographer Joe Larese shows an immature bald eagle near the Annsville Creek in Cortlandt/Peekskill on Jan. 21.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
| | 45 Comments »

Collapsing castle

January
26

Weather and old age are taking taking their toll on Bannerman Castle, the brick-and-concrete castle that sits on an island in the Hudson River just north of Cold Spring. It’s tower wall collapsed last month, advocates believe, because of ice and wind. Monday’s big storm brought down more of the historic structure, Neil Caplan, executive director of the Bannerman Castle Trust, told the Poughkeepsie Journal.

“The western wall is the only wall that remains,” Caplan said.

Earlier this month, Sen. Chuck Schumer pledged to seek money to help restore the castle. The island was bought in 1900 by Frank Bannerman VI, who began building the castle and several warehouses.  The structures were used as a storage depot for his military surplus wares.

The photo shows Thom Johnson of Peekskill in 2006 giving a tour of the property. (Photo by Randall Wolf of TJN.)

Photos of the December mishap can be found on the Bannerman Castle Trust’s Web site.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
| | 2 Comments »

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River booklet for teachers

January
25

Teachers can get a copy of “Discover the Hudson River” from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, a 16-page booklet that “provides information about the Hudson watershed, the variety of wildlife the river supports, and the many ways people influence and are influenced by the river.”

“Discover the Hudson River “will be a valuable teaching tool for anyone interested in helping our younger generation to better understand the environment of the Hudson through its wildlife, watershed, history and people,” said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. “It’s a marvelous example of the positive work that can result from a successful collaboration between public and private entities.”

A preview can be found on DEC’s Web site.  Teachers who would like a free copy can get one directly from DEC’s Bureau of Environmental Education by e-mail or by calling 518-402-8043. Otherewise, they are $1.25 each and can be ordered here.

Here’s the full announcement.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
| | 91 Comments »

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About this blog
The Nature of Things provides a chance to talk about the wild denizens that share the Lower Hudson Valley with us and the natural settings that make this place home for everyone. From Long Island Sound to the Hudson River to the Great Swamp and beyond, almost anything related to the environment is fair game in this blog.

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About the authors
SBenischekJournal News staff writer Greg Clary writes Earth Watch, reporting on environmental issues in the lower Hudson region. Clary has been a reporter, editor and columnist at the Journal News since 1988 and has covered police and courts, transportation, municipal government, development and the environment in the Lower Hudson Valley, among other topics.
Laura IncalcaterraLaura Incalcaterra covers the environment, open space and zoning and planning issues for The Journal News. A Boston College graduate, Laura grew up in Rockland, attended East Ramapo schools and has worked for The Journal News since 1993. Laura has written features and covered North Rockland, crime, government and a host of other issues.
SBenischekMike Risinit covers Patterson and Kent in Putnam County, as well as environmental topics touching on the Hudson River and the Great Swamp. Risinit has been a reporter at The Journal News since 1998.
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