THE LAST RIVER IN NEW YORK CITY
Prior to colonization, the Bronx River was called Aquehung and its headwaters rose from natural springs 24 miles north of New York City. For a short time before urbanization, the Bronx River was described as a sparkling green oasis that once supplied New York City with fresh water. After centuries of significant industrial pollution and massive environmental degradation, community members rallied together to save New York City’s last remaining freshwater river. Restoring the Bronx River continues to have its challenges, but the community’s commitment and dedication to save New York City’s last remaining fresh water river serves as an inspirational reminder of the resiliency of people and the natural world.
The restoration of the Bronx River is and always was a community led effort. In the early 1970’s Ruth Anderberg founded a nonprofit organization called The Bronx River Restoration, predecessor to The Bronx River Alliance. Historian and Bronxite Stephen P. DeVillo, author of The Bronx River in History and Folklore, gives some context to the challenges of restoring the severely polluted and neglected Bronx River, “when [Ruth] first organized the Bronx River Restoration in 1974 The Bronx, along with the rest of New York City, was reaching its nadir, and to many people the thought of restoring the Bronx River was, at best, a quixotic notion. Ruth, though, persisted, and in time the Bronx River Restoration gave rise to the Bronx River Alliance, along with a host of other citizen organizations along the river…[T]oday her vision is fulfilled by new riverside parklands, a Bronx River Greenway, and an increasingly revitalized Bronx River…All of us here in The Bronx owe an immense debt of gratitude to Ruth Anderberg, and to her unstinting pursuit of a once seemingly impossible idea — that of a trashed and maligned river returned into a cherished natural resource.”
Aerial support generously provide by Lighthawk.