Fwd: The Harbor Porpoise Returns to the Hudson River!!?

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Ira Gershenhorn

Apr 14, 2019, 9:19:40 PM4/14/19
to CIBBOWS weekday swimmers

Hi All,

I'm forwarding a message about the viewing of a porpoise in Hudson River yesterday.

Please share widely.

The message contains a link to iNaturalist and a Youtube video that is currently unlisted so not searchable.  The video is available to anyone with the link.

My apologies if you have already received this information.

As Rob Buchanan is well aware, this porpoise was observed at one of my NYC Watertrail water sampling sites and the ice breaking structures in front of the North River Waste Treatment Plant are very recognizable to me.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: The Harbor Porpoise Returns to the Hudson River!!?
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2019 19:44:06 -0400

Hi everyone,

I've grabbed your emails from the contact info on your respective organizations' websites to make a joyous announcement about the Hudson! Please forward accordingly!

I thought I was losing my marbles Saturday ~4:45 PM when I saw a dolphin-like creature emerge from the water 10-15 feet in front of my face, at Riverbank State Park ~146th St at the edge of the river. Spellbound, I watched it surface repeatedly, then looked for anyone nearby who may have also noticed the creature--and indeed someone--Ms. Alejandra Trumble, CC'd here--came forward, taking this video while we watched her/him swim up and down and around the area for at least 10 minutes! Ms. Trumble has graciously offered to share her footage with anyone who might use it to help protect these guys!! 

I called Riverhead Foundation soon after, and they both ID'd the animal as a Harbor Porpoise; a healthy group of 2-3 had also recently been observed across the river in Edgewater, NJ--possibly same family this individual belongs to. Ira Gershenhorn says that he makes frequent water quality assessments up and down the river--and that the Hudson has been getting much cleaner!

iNaturalist observation is here:

YouTube video (kindly uploaded by Ira) available here:

The return of these well loved creatures are a clear and surreal testament to the work YOU all have been doing to clean and protect our watersheds!! I share this both to celebrate and to THANK all of you--and because I hope folks will see these creatures and realize our decisions politically, recreationally, and as consumers REALLY MATTER!! People love dolphins and porpoises and I can't think of a more effective "PR Mascot" for our rivers than watching these guys jump and dance and hunt and play! 

Could a return of these charismatic megafauna encourage folks directly or legislatively to protect their smaller fish/invertebrate food sources (esp menhaden and other "hubs" of the food web)? To cut chemical/noise pollution in our rivers/estuaries/bays??! Could you use this news as both a celebration and a call to action??

Also relevant (but on the West Coast) is this youtube segment on the return of the same species of Harbor Porpoises to San Francisco! We in NYC are a good 11 years behind them apparently, but wow!! Apparently scientists there, using the Golden Gate Bridge, can SEE the animals (unobtrusively) more easily--by the hundreds!!--allowing for more detailed behavioral observation and ID of individuals. If we can keep our river clean, I imagine the GWB and Riverbank Park itself (5 stories over the river)--not to mention Ellis Island and the many tall buildings/lookouts/piers along the Hudson (/East) Rivers could make similarly fabulous and safe "observatories" for NYC's porpoises as they return and hopefully find plenty of reasons to stay and thrive!!! 

To High Hopes for the Hudson!
Brittany Porter

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