Restoring Waterways is Crucial

January 11, 2013

WCS teamed up with New York Congressman José Serrano to pen an op-ed in Crain's New York Business. Serrano and John Calvelli--WCS's Executive Vice President of Public Affairs--discuss restoration of the Bronx River, reiterating that its cleanup provides a model for urban waters initiatives around the country.

The tristate area is only beginning to recover from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy. As we assess the damage and how we prepare for a future storm, it is worth noting that work by local communities, government and nonprofit groups to restore and stabilize the city's local waterways may well be part of the answer.

Nowhere is this better typified than in the tremendous strides that have been taken to restore the Bronx River. Neglected for much of the 20th century, it is now a national model for reclaiming urban rivers, thanks to a joint effort of the federal government, the Bronx Zoo and dedicated local groups.

The river named for local merchant Jonas Bronck in the 17th century supported such a density of beavers that Europeans flocked to the area to acquire their pelts. New York City enshrined this symbol of its economic growth in its official seal. But while the beaver's image was preserved, the animal itself disappeared as the city grew.

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