[NYCkayaker] Fwd: CITIZEN'S REPORT: First Incidental kill at TZ bridge?

Nancy Brous nbrous@gmail.com
Fri May 3 09:52:23 EDT 2013

I received the following from a guy in Nyack, who was directed to me by
John Lipscomb and Tracy Brown of Riverkeeper, in the hopes that I could get
the word out about this.
the piece, with the photo, will be posted at
www.nycwatertrail.org/news.html(i snipped it here for the sake of our
email lists)
I have found dead sturgeon along the banks of the Hudson, in fact specimens
MUCH larger than this (6 feet or so) and one day about 4 years ago we found
There are 2 issues here: the Tappan Zee Bridge construction, and who to
contact if you find dead or injured marine life, oil spills, etc.
If you have questions i suggest you contact one of the orgs or agencies
listed below.
Happy Paddling (nb:  the water is still very COLD so dress for that temp,
not the air temp!)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: D WOLFF <ziwolff@optonline.net>
Date: Fri, May 3, 2013 at 9:10 AM
Subject: CITIZEN'S REPORT: First Incidental kill at TZ bridge?



[photo snipped - view at www.nycwatertrail.org/news.html]

            To allow for the construction of the double spans for the new
Tappan Zee Bridge, the National Marine Fisheries Service had to sign off on
what’s called an Incidental Take Permit. It essentially says how much
wildlife the contractors are allowed to kill during construction. ****

            The Fisheries concluded that the five years of testing,
dredging, pile-driving and construction was within environmental law if no
more than two (2) endangered short-nosed sturgeon and two (2) endangered
Atlantic sturgeon died as a result of the activity.****

            Those numbers are “binding,” and the Acting Regional
Administrator of the Fisheries wrote that if more than that are killed,
there has to be a “reinitiation” of the permit to build.****

            On Saturday, April 20th, my son and I found a four-foot long
sturgeon washed up on the beach in Upper Nyack. I called John Lipscomb of
Riverkeeper and then got in touch with New York State’s Department of
Environmental Conservation. The latter told me that, from the pictures I
took, it was most likely a short-nosed sturgeon. ****

Cause of death was impossible to determine, though the pictures show that
its tail was missing, apparently sheared off. According to local papers,
propeller-driven tug-boats had pushed the first barges into position on the
west side of the Tappan Zee a month earlier, and they’ve been setting up
for test drilling since. Propeller strikes are a significant cause of death
for sturgeon, and the area where the tug and barge activity is now
occurring is very shallow, bringing the endangered fish into close
proximity to tug-boat propellers.****

            I have no way of knowing if the sturgeon we found was the first
mortality from construction of the proposed bridge. Nor does the DEC. But
the Fisheries Service states that the Federal Highway Administration “has a
continuing duty to regulate the activity covered by this Incidental Take
Statement.” In other words, the burden of proof lies with the bridge
builders -- and every death of this and other highly fragile species has to
be considered a result of construction-related activity until proven

            One dead sturgeon may not seem like much. But it could be an
indicator of things to come. After all, the heavy construction and the most
intense activity hasn’t begun. ****

            The new Tappan Zee is not a done deal – it’s not even financed
-- and its environmental permit may well depend on you and me as citizen
monitors. If you’re out on the river, or walking along the shore and see
dead marine life – if you’re driving across the current bridge and see oil
spills or other activity that doesn’t look right to you – please report
(with photographs if possible) to all the following agencies:****

            ·       NYSDEC Hudson River Fisheries Unit:   845-256-3071
            ·       DEC Region 3:  845-256-3000
            ·       U.S. Coast Guard:  718-354-4122
            ·       Riverkeeper 914-478-4501     info@riverkeeper.org

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