News and stories about the waterways of 
New York and New Jersey, from the 
Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

SEPTEMBER 20, 2014


Two years ago, WaterWire published a story about James “Birdman” Cataldi, who singlehandedly transformed a polluted cove on the Harlem River, where he had discovered a few sick geese picking their way through shards of broken glass, into a thriving natural spot to which birds — and the community — were returning. Mr. Cataldi was honored in 2012 by the Environmental Protection Agency for this work. Read the story here and check out a wonderful video about Mr. Cataldi here.

What was once an illegal dumping ground is now a wildlife sanctuary and community gathering place. Mr. Cataldi continues to work hard at the restoration and community outreach. On Saturday, September 27, his organization, the Manhattan Wetlands and Wildlife Association (which is affiliated with Conservancy North), is sponsoring a two-part event — a shoreline cleanup from 10am to 3pm, and a music festival from 3pm to 9:30pm. There will be food and crafts, talks on biodiversity and educational activities for children. To get to North Cove, walk through the parking lot off 9th Avenue just north of 207th Street in Manhattan.

Mr. Cataldi calls this work a multi-generational responsibility. He hopes for a big turnout on September 27. “As we continue our tradition to service our community, people from all walks of life are coming together and celebrating our great natural resources, learning more, and helping out,” he wrote. “It is important our community sees how much progress has been made, that people stopped dumping garbage because people started to care.”

Sept 27th Events: Cleanup & Family Music Festival


What started as an illegal dumping ground is now an urban wildlife sanctuary & community gathering place, Please join Manhattan Wetlands & Wildlife, Conservancy North and your neighbors to help cleanup and restore the North Cove Tidal Wetlands in Inwood, NYC.  Enjoy a talk on biodiversity and the estuary with EPA award winner James “Birdman” Cataldi, and hear from other experts in related fields. And much more….
Music / educational activities for youth starts around noon.

There will be lunch for all those who pitch in. Please arrive a little early.  Sturdy shoes or boots and long sleeves recommended.   Roll up your sleeves and make a difference in our community!
Saturday, September 27th, 10am-3pm

27th cleanup

The 1st Harlem River – North Cove Live Music Festival follows our community clean event

(10am-3pm), featuring the best in local NYC jazz, rock n’ roll, latino sounds, & more…..
Cintrone Brothers, Clarence Spady, Sonido Cubano, Felipe Cuba, Seth Myers, Baron Perez  –  acoustic / electric, free admission, but-will pass-the-hat for donations.  Food w a small donation.

Your tax deductible donations are needed to support our all-volunteer community grass roots projects inc. restoration, wildlife rehabilitation, youth education outreach, and nature / wildlife conservation efforts.  (Family Friendly)  Saturday, September 27th, 3pm-9:30pm

27th music

Special Guest Speaker Scheduled: 

the special emissary for Chief Louis Chinalquay and the people of Buffalo River Dene Nation located in northwest Saskatchewan, Canada.

Mr. Adelard Blackman, Chairman of the BRDN NGO and Special Emissary of the Buffalo River Dene Nation, frequently attends and participates in meetings held by the various UN bodies to raise awareness and support for issues concerning the BRDN.

Our long struggle has always been about the very survival of our land and our people”, said Buffalo River Dene Nation (BRDN) spokesman Adelard Blackman. “Unabated resource development is killing the land, our water, and our people.


The events originally scheduled for Saturday 13th, due to rain forecast, are now rescheduled for Sept 27th. Sept 13th events are rescheduled due to rain forecast in aft….Manhattan Wetlands & Wildlife North Cove Events Notice – new date is now for Saturday, September 27th.

Hope to see you there. Birdman

INCove News. state’s plan to wipe out entire population of mute swans by 2025


The state’s plan to wipe out the entire population of mute swans by 2025 has bird advocates worried about graceful fowls that flock to Prospect Park.


The state’s plan to wipe out the entire population of mute swans by 2025 has bird advocates worried about graceful fowls that flock to Prospect Park.

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Jeffrey Kramer

Jeffrey Kramer

Next time you go to your favorite park to see those large, white birds of regal repose, better bring a camera. You may never see them again. New York State’s mute swan may become the first animal to be managed into extinction by 2025. This proposed, premeditated extirpation is the endgame of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) newly released draft “Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State,” calling for the elimination of all free-ranging mute swans. The plan is fallacious and insidious, another misuse of taxpayer monies to promote killing and molestation as a wildlife management science. The DEC states that their population of 2,200 has actually stabilized.

Seized from its native lands, the mute swan has become our neighbor for the past 130 years since being shanghaied to this country because of its timeless beauty. It has been a fixture in the imagination of man since early civilization, but also has been persecuted for almost as long.

The DEC’s justification for its scheduled disappearance — using deceptive language and misconceptions — is almost identical to the reasons given for the slaughter of over 5,000 resident Canada geese (a native, North American bird) in New York City: a potential aviation hazard (birdstrikes); aggression while nesting (ironically, the mute swan’s main target is Canada geese); and loss of water quality from coliform bacteria. Here, the DEC, along with its cooperator, the USDA-Wildlife Services, is killing two birds with one stone.

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INCove News. 2014 Winter/ Spring Wildlife Conservancy Program Fundraising Drive



STEWARDSHIP GOAL: KEEP FLOCKS, HUMANS & MIGRATION PATHS HEALTHY(We are all part of web of life, not separate from it, what we to web we do to ourselves)


Manhattan is a wintering home for many birds on the east cost migration path and has been for thousands of years, perhaps 100s of thousands or more. The trend is that we are destroying so many places like North Cove along this east coast migration path, that birds (and multigenerational insects like the monarch) can’t get from one place (to rest and heal and eat) to the next. Especially final locations for the season, like summer or winter, for species like the waterfowl who rely on the Manhattan area in the winter and has from what we can tell since before recorded history. With out healthy migration landing points like north cove dedicated to migratory wildlife especially in dense urban environments the east coast migration is under a realistic non recoverable threat of complete collapse.

MWAWA is now responsible for protecting, and providing stewardship for the North Cove Wetlands migration point, under the leadership of James Cataldi, licensed wildlife Rehabilator and 2012 US EPA Environmental Quality Award Winner; highest honor for enhancing and protecting public health and the environment.

North cove serves this critical function as a “health hub” Not only as a restored wetland estuary cove, into it’s fifth year but also where migratory and native wildlife / feral are captured and released for medical purposes, cared for and protected. The medical component of MWAWA stewardship is central to our value proposition; and provides health benefits far beyond the area…up and down the east coast. We as well have plans and a expert partner to help us to re introduce marsh vegetation into the mud flat making it a five zone or level salt water marsh.

In a decade or so when a five zone marsh will be fully established by our current estimates, all at no tax payer expense, North Cove Stewardship will be fully beneficial to the entire region. We ask you to join us in our mission, starting today with a donation or paid membership or volunteering at any level you wish and can afford. We can also receive items we can sell to purchase critical wildlife conservancy items gladly.

It is our vision that the Inwood North Cove Wetlands will be a lush self sustainable natural habitat eco system with the capacity to support multiple species through out the year. And monitoring / medical catch point. As well providing a scientific and enjoyment opportunities for all New Yorkers and tourists from around the world. And providing naturally diverse nourishment in the winter months, in the water and on land. Until then we ask for your support, especially now. North Cove offers great access to the Harlem River and an ideal setting for community out reach programs; and environmental justice internship as well as community service programs. An ideal location to teach people about natural habitat conservation, community service, and how modern plant growing techniques can create small business drivers and career opportunities here in Inwood, and help save and return natural habitats, like Inwood North Cove.

At the core of our behind the scenes work we have been developing, measuring and refining techniques which look to be becoming increasingly more effective in promoting spring migration north. This work and scientific research directly aids in reducing the numbers of geese year round in a sustainable manor. And not using critical city tax dollars as do the non sustainable killing programs carried out in the area parks in the summer by gassing them to death, including babies. Better to give the geese healthy winter homes, and build the birds up strong to make the migrations north then to kill them, and having year round residents of our parks and ball fields. And all the other benefits of places like the North Cove Wildlife Refuge/ sanctuary.


This year North Cove needs more food on the ground to keep the immune systems healthy for all the wildlife using the North Cove for their winter home. THE BIRDS MOVE BETWEEN NORTH COVE AND THE AREA PARKS SO WE ARE SERVING THE ENTIRE AREA NOT JUST NORTH COVE.



As the unexpectedly cold winter start and several early snow falls followed by freezing spells killed almost all of the grazing area, at north cove, which was expected to continue to feed the flocks into February, as we planted winter rye in late October. We hoped for at least 45 to 60 days of grazing area this year. So we had to start our supplemental food program earlier than we planned. And working on new methods to keep more grazing pastures starting next year. However we need more funds critically today and next month and are reaching out yo the public to support our mission.


We believe that the unusually high number of loose dogs off leash have made the populations higher at north cove this year.


While most of the waterfowl will start to migrate north in 60 or so days, we are working hard to keep the flocks immune systems healthy with oils, vitamins, minerals and just enough fuel to keep them warm and strong for the migration north in the spring. WE DON’T WANT SICK OR WEAKENED BIRDS MIGRATING TO OTHER PLACES ONLY HEALTHY STRONG ONES. In the spring the birds to the south like heron and egret will take the place of the large flocks of water fowl if past years are any indication of the future.

The waterfowl (geese and ducks) are hearty species, however many have traveled long distances and are stressed, hungry and weakened from the long flight some thousands of miles. They are programmed to migrate south just below the ice line in the winter months, for thousands of years. Maybe tens of thousands. In recent years, the winters are getting more intense over the past years. Even record breaking, despite the general belief of climate warming. Looks more like significant climate change.


Significant climate change requires the migrating wildlife to have bountiful landing areas or places to provide for them. A place to stop rest, eat, recover from long migrations and prepare for the next, build strong social bonds so the flocks are large enough to travel together to reduce the amount of energy to move through the air for many hours, which new proof has proven flying in v formations does just was scientifically confirmed.

Protected safe setting like North Cove does just that. North Cove wildlife conservancy effort include supplementing the food and providing medical treatment programs as well.

Please donate at what ever level you can afford, no donation will be too small, even $3, at the following:

1. Furry Fiends.
630 W 207Th
New York, NY 10034Map Marker
1212 942-0222

Manhattan Wetlands & Wildlife Assoc. (M W squared)
347 360-1227

Thank you Birdman of Inwood and the North Cove

INCove Portrait 2014


INCove Portrait . Winter 2014


INCove Portrait. 2014. Life protect fr predictors in sanctuary


INCove Portrait. Life on the Harlem River in a winter chill


INCove News, Republishing of an possible threat to our environment


Today, a bill to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was introduced in Congress. The deal, which is being negotiated with over 600 corporations behind closed doors, is a threat to clean air, clean water, safe food and our democracy.

We have to stop fast track for the TPP. Email your Congress members now.

If passed, corporations could sue the U.S. government to overturn democratically created laws and regulations if they threaten the corporation’s profits. Things like sourcing local food for schools, banning fracking in your community and labeling genetically engineered foods are at the top of the corporate hit list.

President Obama is trying to fast track this deal to give himself sole authority to negotiate it, leaving Congress and the American public with absolutely no input.

Thankfully we still have time to stop this. Fast Track votes have been defeated in Congress in the past and we can do it again. In recent weeks, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have showed opposition to Fast Track for the TPP. But corporations around the world will stop at nothing to pass this bill.Every single member of Congress needs to hear from their constituents on this.

Take action now. It’s the most important thing you can do.

Thank you,

Sarah Alexander
Deputy Organizing Director
Food & Water Watch

INCove News, Congressmen question costs, mission of Wildlife Services agency


Congressmen question costs, mission of Wildlife Services agency

LOS ANGELES (MCT) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspector general will investigate a federal agency whose mission is to exterminate birds, coyotes, mountain lions and other animals that threaten the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers.



JAN 5, 2014

Jaime Dyer points to a photograph in 2010 of the M-56 after it was lured into a cage by a government trapper. The 20-month-old mountain lion, wearing a tracking collar affixed by University of California-Davis researchers, left his mother in the foothills of Orange County and struck out on his own and leaped into a pen of sheep on the Dyers property. (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT)


LOS ANGELES (MCT) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspector general will investigate a federal agency whose mission is to exterminate birds, coyotes, mountain lions and other animals that threaten the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers.

The investigation of U.S. Wildlife Services is to determine, among other things, “whether wildlife damage management activities were justified and effective.” Biologists have questioned the agency’s effectiveness, arguing that indiscriminately killing more than 3 million birds and other wild animals every year is often counterproductive.

Reps. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., and John Campbell, R-Calif., requested the review, calling for a complete audit of the culture within Wildlife Services. The agency has been accused of abuses, including animal cruelty and occasional accidental killing of endangered species, family pets and other animals that weren’t targeted.

DeFazio says the time has come to revisit the agency’s mission and determine whether it makes economic and biological sense for taxpayers to underwrite a service, however necessary, that he argues should be paid for by private businesses.

“Why should taxpayers, particularly in tough times, pay to subsidize private interests?” said DeFazio, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources. “I have come to the conclusion that this is an agency whose time has passed.”

Wildlife Services was created in 1931 as part of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. It has wide-ranging responsibilities, including rabies testing and bird control at airport runways. But the bulk of its work is exterminating nuisance wildlife by methods that include poisoning, gassing, trapping and aerial gunning.

The agency acts as a pest management service not only for agribusiness and ranches, but also for other federal agencies, counties and homeowners who might have such problems as raccoons in an attic. Other services include protecting endangered species and maintaining game herds for hunters.

The services are free or substantially subsidized, which many private predator and pest control companies say unfairly undercuts their business. States and counties complain that they are responsible for an increasing share of the costs.

DeFazio and Campbell are also calling for congressional oversight hearings. Defazio said he has spent years asking for but not receiving information from Wildlife Services, which he calls “the least accountable federal agency I’ve ever seen.”

He said he had to learn from the Los Angeles Times about an internal audit the agency conducted last year. The audit found the agency’s accounting practices were “unreconcilable,” lacked transparency and violated state and federal laws. Further, the audit revealed that $12 million in a special account could not be found.

“The last time I tried to get more specific financial information, they just blew me off and said they couldn’t provide that,” DeFazio said in an interview. “Yet, at the same time, they were undertaking this audit. So, the managers were, at best, disingenuous, and at worst, undertaking a cover-up.”

A Wildlife Services spokeswoman said the agency already has begun to carry out changes recommended in the audit.

In response to allegations of improper behavior by agents, the spokeswoman said the department does not condone animal cruelty and that employees are trained to strictly follow state and federal wildlife laws.

Information that DeFazio’s office says Wildlife Services has refused to disclose includes identities of its clients. DeFazio’s office has determined that the agency acts as an exterminator for golf clubs and resorts, hunting clubs, homeowners associations, paving companies and timber giants International Paper and Weyerhaeuser.

The agency’s supporters argue that the cost is appropriately borne by consumers who value local food production. In California, many ranchers and farmers would go broke if they had to pay private companies to do the work provided for free by Wildlife Service agents, said Noelle G. Cremers, a lobbyist for the California Farm Bureau.

Members of Congress have heard allegations for years about improper _ and in some cases, illegal – practices within Wildlife Services. Attempts at congressional investigations have been stalled by what DeFazio calls the agency’s “powerful friends” in agriculture and ranching lobbies.

Among the allegations legislators want to review are those by Gary Strader, a Wildlife Services hunter in Nevada until 2009. He alleges he was fired for reporting to superiors that colleagues had killed five mountain lions from airplanes, a felony. He said his supervisor told him to “mind his own business.”

Strader said the same supervisor gave similar advice when the hunter discovered that a snare he set had unintentionally killed a golden eagle. Knowing that the bird was protected under federal law, Strader called his supervisor for guidance. “He said, ‘If you think no one saw it, take a shovel and bury it,'” Strader said.

Agents are required to maintain records of their kills, but critics say those records are opaque and probably inaccurate. The official count, for instance, does not include offspring that will die after adult mountain lions or bears are killed or coyote pups inside a den that has been gassed.

“The numbers are absolutely manipulated, gravely underestimated,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, a wildlife conservation group.

Part of the difficulty of wildlife control work is making sure the lethal methods reach only intended targets. Cyanide traps set for coyotes can kill other animals. Many domestic dogs _ thousands, by the accounting of watchdog groups _ are inadvertently poisoned by capsules meant for coyotes.

Rex Shaddox, a former Wildlife Services agent in Wyoming, said agents “were told to doctor our reports _ we were not allowed to show we killed household pets.” Shaddox said he knew a rancher who kept a grisly souvenir of the agency’s collateral damage: a 10-foot chain of interconnected dog collars.

Shaddox said the agency rarely handles federally controlled poisons legally. Agents are required to post signs where pesticides and poisons are placed and maintain detailed logs. But supervisors tell them not to, Shaddox and other former agents said.

Wildlife Services agents have been accused of animal cruelty, particularly in the use of dogs to control and kill coyotes. Last year, a Wyoming-based trapper posted photographs to his Facebook page showing his dogs savaging a coyote caught in a leg-hold trap. Other pictures showed the agent’s animals mauling bobcats and raccoons.

The agency said it was investigating.

Wildlife biologists also criticize the agency’s work, which they say ignores science. Bradley J. Bergstrom, a conservation biologist at Valdosta State University in Georgia, and other biologists at the American Society of Mammalogists say they have been frustrated by the agency’s unwillingness to share scientific data tracking the effectiveness its approach.

For instance, Bergstrom said, eradicating coyotes from a landscape creates unintended consequences. He said a Texas study found that killing coyotes that preyed on cattle led to an increase in rodents, which prey on crops. The pest problem shifted from cattle raisers to farmers.

“Pre-emptive lethal control … makes no sense,” Bergstrom said. “It’s known as the ‘mowing the lawn’ model – you just have to keep mowing them down.”

INCove News. Urgent Fund Raising Drive


PLEASE HELP US RAISE MONEY, ANY AMOUNT WILL HELP NO MATTER HOW SMALL. If you can’t afford to at this time we understand maybe you can volunteer at the cove. Or just keep us In your thoughts Thank you Birdman Jim!

Dear blog viewer, thank you for visiting our blog site, now we wish to invite you to join the mission at the North Cove.

Today, We need help raising critical funds to provide wildlife care programs at North Cove.While making a paypal donation is helpful, we can’t get immediate access to the funds, so making a cash donation at any level you can afford would be even more helpful. No amount is too small to make a difference and show you care.

If you contact me at Birdman, I can make arrangements to receive funds directly.

We know you care, and any amount will help nourish one more life during these extreme wintering times. Or help fund our planting program next spring when we start to grow marsh plants and grasses for next year for the migration from the north. As each year returns the water fowl to their winter home, as you see the north cove is a gate way to sky and ocean along east coast migrations paths tens of thousands of years old. Or older. Now at risk because the wildlife is loosing critical grazing areas due to modern urban designs that don’t account for our migratory brothers and sisters.

Below are Pics of the north cove being used as a migration winter home, sheltered oasis in the middle of modern mans steel and cement. Sister birds, in the Harlem River of ice.

Today, They need your help to keep just enough healthy food to keep the immune systems strong enough that the young and weak from the long flight from the north where they spent the summer keeps them alive.

As well the presence of wintering migratory wildlife also protects the Inwood Harlem River North Cove Wetlands from being developed as they are federally and internationally protected.

And if you squint your eyes you might just for a moment get a sense of what the ancestors might have seen at the North Cove native village in the years before Europeans destroyed their way of life, the old ways and relations w Mother Earth, father sky, brother animals and sister birds.

As well, there are shell fish, crab, oysters, opossums, muskrats, raccoon, and feral cats as well.

Pics from the fist cold spell about one week back first week of January 2014.

James Cataldi, a.k.a. Birdman of Inwood North Cove

A ‘Broken Windows’ Theory for Environmentalism


A ‘Broken Windows’ Theory for Environmentalism

By Paul Gallay on December 23, 2013

Call it the broken windows theory applied to environmentalism.

This Spring, Riverkeeper helped mobilize a crew of 80 to clean up trash at Inwood’s North Cove, a reclaimed wetlands area on the Harlem River where wildlife now flourishes amid steel and cement.


The biggest cleanup of 72 on our 2nd annual day of service for the estuary, theRiverkeeper Sweep, we removed about 6 tons of tires, twisted metal, polystyrene coffee cups and rotten fruit. The trash was so deep it had to be dug out with shovels in some places, and we had a lingering concern that the work of our volunteers—including dozens of kids from the nearby KIPP School—would be undone if the same people who had trashed the cove initially started dumping again.


Photo by James D’Addio

So we happily greeted news this week from the cove’s fierce local advocate James Cataldi, executive director of the Manhattan Wetlands & Wildlife Association, that the cove has not suffered from new dumping. And the political ties forged through work on the Sweep even helped Jim stop the dumping of snow and the pollution scraped off roads along with it.


Fix the broken window, and people take more pride in their neighborhood, forcing the nefarious elements out. That’s the idea. Polluters tend to pollute where there’s already pollution. The formula for stopping pollution is to clean up the mess—and then keep close watch. Jim’s doing just that at Inwood’s North Cove just as Riverkeeper does with our boat patrols throughout the estuary.


When Riverkeeper started almost 50 years ago, the Hudson River was full of broken windows. The General Motors plant in Sleepy Hollow turned the river a different color as each line of cars that came off the factory floor were painted. PCBs leaked from the Anaconda Wire and Cable Co. factory in Hastings. Coal tar oozed from the manufactured gas plant at Nyack.


That kind of blight and disregard for the state of our river was what energized the founders of Riverkeeper in 1966. They dusted off unused laws that barred dumping in our waterways, and started prosecuting polluters, one by one.

At that time, pollution made it hard for many to see the river for what it is – a thing of beauty, and an ecological powerhouse, producing awe-inspiring Atlantic sturgeon, athletic striped bass and herring by the millions—more than 200 species of fish in all, as well as the birds and mammals that feed on them.


Today, the Hudson is the backbone of neighborhoods from lower Manhattan to Waterford, 150 miles upriver. The river is the driver of the region’s $4.5 billion tourism economy.


Or put another way, if you clean it, they will come.


Humans are drawn to water. It takes a powerful repellent to keep us away. Just ask the Gowanus Dredgers, whose love of Brooklyn’s blighted canal isn’t undone by stinking, green-gray stagnant water, or the rainbow blooms of coal tar that bubble up from the toxic mud below.


Capt. John Lipscomb patrols the Gowanus Canal. Photo by Leah Rae

Cleanup plans are now on the books for each of these blights, in Brooklyn, Hastings, Sleepy Hollow and Nyack—and many other like them. The work of cleaning up our waterways isn’t fast, and it isn’t done until our water is safe for swimming, and our fish safe for eating—two challenges that remain on the Hudson.


And Riverkeeper is being called on to enforce our environmental laws as never before. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has lost 30% of its staff since 1990.


Take cops off the beat, and you’ll get more broken windows, which is why we have to fight to restore essential staff to our environmental agencies, and support those stalwarts who are working hard to enforce the laws that protect our environment.

In the meantime, Riverkeeper remains your cop on this most important beat. We’re fixing the broken windows. The neighborhood is rallying. We have a lot to look forward to in 2014 and beyond.


Kingston Kayak Festival 2013. Photo:Dan Shapley

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