Riverkeeper: A Contemporary Model of River Advocacy and a True Champion of the Hudson River

Posted March 29, 2016

Riverkeeper works to protect the environmental, recreational and commercial integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries, and to safeguard the drinking water of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. The Moore Charitable Foundation and founder Louis Bacon are proud and long-time supporter of Riverkeeper and stand behind its work up the Hudson, and in and around the bays of New York City.

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A little history: In 1966, the Hudson River was dying. Treated as essentially an open sewer from Albany to New York City, it had been poisoned and stolen from the public. A group of concerned former marines, commercial fisherman, factory workers and carpenters finally had enough. Stepping up to bring the polluters to task, they formed the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association (HRFA). It was a mighty turn of events, and fifty years later, evolved into the form of Riverkeeper, with Paul Gallay as Hudson Riverkeeper, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as Chief Prosecuting Attorney and John Lipscomb as Boat Captain, with many other tireless workers and partners, the organization has become a trusted model of education and action for river advocacy around the world, and the force that turned – and keeps – the Hudson River glorious again.

In 2015, Riverkeeper fulfilled its role as watchdog for the Hudson in many ways, including the following:

  • Holding back oil terminal expansion: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) changed course on a proposed oil terminal expansion in Albany
  • Tappan Zee Bridge/endangered sturgeon: Monitoring and outreach around the massive Tappan Zee Bridge construction project. Riverkeeper made known the dramatic spike in sturgeon deaths reported to New York State coinciding with the bridge project
  • Water quality sampling: Expanded the water quality testing program and took more than 6,200 measures of water quality from 315 locations, including new monitoring projects at Ossining Beach and in the Saw Mill River, and a pilot project in the Mohawk River
  • Biggest shoreline cleanup ever: More than 2,000 volunteers netted 40 tons of trash and planted/maintained trees along Hudson Valley and New York City shorelines during the fourth annual Riverkeeper Sweep on May 9, 2015
  • Improving New York City’s waterways: Attacked stormwater pollution on Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal by systematically targeting industrial operators that lack Clean Water Act permits. Notices of intent to sue led many previously non-compliant operators to obtain permits and adopt best management practices as part of a stormwater pollution prevention plan.

Now – or rather, still, we have Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. In 2015, Riverkeeper concluded two federal and state-level historic hearings in the battle to deny Entergy another 20 year license, spotlighting the plant’s eight mishaps during the year, including a transformer explosion and fire; highlighting its massive incidental killing of over a billion fish per year; and documenting how this security threat to metro New York can be replaced safely and inexpensively while ensuring reliable electric service.

It is up to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, currently examining the inputs, to determine whether the plant’s licenses should be renewed. We strongly encourage readers to click here to learn more about the threats of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant to the Hudson River and surrounding residents, to take action in favor of a sustainable energy future, and stand with Riverkeeper.

In 2001, Louis Bacon, Founder and Chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation and its affiliate foundations was honored to be the 2001 recipient of Riverkeeper’s Environmental Leadership Award.

This entry was originally posted on anncolley.com, the blog of The Moore Charitable Foundation’s executive director, Ann Colley.