Hutchinson River Restoration Project
Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Cleanup Project
The goals of Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary Cleanup Project are to bring the existence of the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary in Pelham Bay Park to the community’s attention and to continue the cleanup of the debris (bottles, plastic, tires, etc.) that is found on its one and a half mile shore on the east bank of the Hutchinson River.
The volunteers were taken to the cleanup sites by canoe or power boast. At the sites, the cleanup parties placed recovered trash in bags, which was then placed in the powerboats and taken to the shore processing point. The powerboats continued to return to the cleanup sites until all bags and volunteers are recovered.
They had a wonderful time during the cleaning up and enjoyed Buffalo Wild Wings afterwards.
Since its creation in 1967, and many years before, construction waste, run off from Co-op City and river floatables from sites north of the Sanctuary have accumulated in the Thomas Pell Sanctuary. The Sanctuary, which is located on the east bank of the Hutchinson River in Pelham Bay Park, is the second largest salt marsh habitat in New York City. (Only Jamaica Bay is larger.) Because the Sanctuary is a salt marsh, it is not accessible by land and must be cleaned up from the Hutchinson River.
It is only accessible from the Hutchinson River. It is impossible to reach this shore from the land because the land is swampy and devoid of trails. Because of this limited accessibility, the only way to approach the cleanup area is by boat. So that the sanctuary nesting cycle is not disturbed, access is limited until summer’s end. The third limit is overall working environment, weather, and tides. Experience has shown that rising tide is the major factor. Considering these limits, Sunday, September 20 was selected as the cleanup day.
John Rapaport of Component Assembly Inc. introduced the project to the Club. The Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon Keystone Club--the ultimate Teen Program--choose six teens to attend the cleanup. The project started at 9:00 am and ended at 3:00 pm.
The Club kids got a crash course on rowing on the Hutchinson River and a guide to how to treat the wild life sanctuary. They spent a half hour rowing and three hours cleaning up Turtle Cove.