Manhattan WetLands & WildLife Association
North Cove, Sherman Creek, & “Three Sister Coves”
Stewardship – Science – Rehabilitation – Restoration – Education  

International-Flyway Tidal-Estuary Restoration
Four-Cove Complex on Harlem River, NYC, NY, USA
U.S. EPA Endorses Steward : James A. Cataldi “Birdman of Inwood”

Jump to NYCWetLands.org




Restoration and stewardship of the Inwood’s North Cove and upland natural habitat, wildlife/ feral and river inlet ecosystems in and around Northern Manhattan, currently focus on the Harlem River.


The North Cove Project: to restore, maintain and preserve the North Cove as an undeveloped rare island resource natural habitat, medically care for wildlife/ feral, and provide outreach services for the community. The North Cove is and should continue to be an active wildlife sanctuary and attracting the public at large. With no carbon foot print, pay check or tax dollars spent, properly sort and recycle all trash, debris and toxins.

A.  to clean, restore and enhance the North Cove Inlet and surrounding areas. To monitor, protect and improve water locally and downstream.  Next return the non-vegetated mud flat, to a lush fully functioning five zone salt water marsh. To provide local and migratory wildlife monitoring, protection,  restoration and advocacy at and around North Cove. Working to prevent unauthorized parking, and unwanted activities such as dumping, of trash and liquid toxins. 

B. to provide public water access for community service and events, education and training, and serving as a unique resource for local schools, community organizations, institutions and the general public.

C. to support rebuilding our neighborhood economy and working with the public, organizations, institutions, elected officials and community leaders to finish the work start. To leverage public and private funds for career training and creation. Establishing the North Cove Project as a model for new and innovative best practices standards and methods to be copied in other places on the estuary and around the world.

D. to provide public events and outreach for including live music, picnics, cookouts,  responsible human powered watercraft (at the North Cove is an active wildlife sanctuary).   Market North Cove as a public gathering place and for environmental and ecological education. Teach the latest advances in physics, and mathematics, (and relevance and benefits to the our youth). Provide community service and community development programming focused on-site public service and for pay employment in wetlands restoration, and wildlife rehabilitation, site maintenance, aquaponic farming and river-generated electricity for natural habitat uses and human consumption.


1. Care for, monitor, protect and rehabilitate wildlife daily.

2. Estuarial restoration and enhancement

3. Test and monitor the water at the North Cove as part of a large federal study of the river systems and connected to the on-going wildlife migration studies. The goal is to use this research to guide further restoration and enhance of the North Cove.

4.. Use the site as a pilot for privately or  publicly-funded employment in a community-led development project, attempt accessing federal and State employment funding.

5. Advocacy building, and public policy building, friendship building.

6. Public gathering place with a community and environmental purpose, and self empowerment focus. Provide access weekend afternoon, and late week days to the public weather permitting ), to visit the North Cove, socialize, relax, perform live music, assist at cleanup, spend time to experience the wildlife sanctuary.

A. to help with  the process of rehabilitate and reconstruct back into a salt water marsh, learn about and  care for the North Cove, its wildlife.   Gradually build up operations and public training of  hydroponics and aquaponic farming.

B. to participate in R/D of clean blue green-based energy systems, water purification and pollution extraction systems on- and off-site.(These are limited scope experimental projects in which the public is invited to participate in the design and execution.


The North Cove is a national treasure, that New Yorkers should support keeping undeveloped and operating as a migratory wildlife preserve, for today and future generations. People are beginning to cherish this resource envisioning the exciting opportunity to finish restoring North Cove, enabling it to support a uniquely high range of vegetation and native and migratory wildlife species.  Research indicates that the high species dominance can be maintained, in part, due to rare environment of mix of or relationship of water and salinity; and other factors including,  North Cove is upstream from Con Edison and brown soil contamination of prior gas dumping as is the case of Swindlers Cove. (We also believe that the risk of significant gas or PCB contamination is low making it possible with requiring the EPA, Army Corp, or NYS DEC resources.) 


We see the North Cove as gateway to ocean and the Air, as east coast migratory flight paths of 330 migratory birds utilize Manhattan as a stop over in east coast migratory flight paths; many of which need wetlands.

The North Cove Tidal Basin is fresh water and salt water marsh/ “Inwood treasure” called North Cove (by City planners), and jewel of the Sherman Creek Project; and currently provides vital natural habitat functions for many area fish and wildlife species (primarily federally protected birds) in northern Manhattan, and Bronx NY. The North Cove is a natural Habitat with tidal action where nutrient cycling and production taking place there.

Four years into  the process, the North Cove wetland/ tidal basin as a safe haven  and provides for sources of food, breeding areas and nurseries for many species of fish and shellfish plants,, amphibians, migrating and indigenous wildlife dependent on wetland eco systems for survival.

Develop and maintain two distinct but interconnected natural habitat areas, at North Cove, restoring and enhancing among the most naturally promising fertile areas of New York City:

a. Salt Marsh – primarily consist of cord grass and Salt Marsh Bulrush – tolerant of salt and changing water levels- natural water shed habitat supporting diverse fish shell fish, crustacean, Waterfowl and water bird species.

Five natural Habitat Salt Mash or Tidal Basin Zones would be developed and maintained – from the natural high down to the low tidal water levels :

  1. Juncus marsh
  2. Salicornia-Distichlis Marsh (High Tide)
  3. Short Spartina Marsh (High Tide)
  4. Medium spartina Levee Marsh with Marsh Grass (High Tide)
  5. Tall Spartina Edge Marsh (High tide) with Mud Algae and phytoplanckton (Low Tide)

b) Meadow / Treeline – A natural micro Habitat at street level primarily consist of native trees, grasses and native wild flowers; and bushes 



  • Conduct the following
    • Estuary and beach restoration and enhancement,
    •  wildlife monitoring, care and rehabilitation
    • test and Improve the water quality at and around North Cove.
  • Reinforce realization that these tidal basins natural habitat resources .
    • Promote and preserve Natural Habitat environment
    • Fight erosion and water pollution
    • Stop sediment leaching and burdening into river
    • Stop toxins which flow from the parking lots into the river
    • Provide value and benefit to Inwood
  • protect one of Manhattan’s last salt marsh estuaries/ fresh and salt water tidal basins,  to monitor and provide wildlife
    conservation, first by land and soil clearing; improving environment for grasses, trees, flowers, shrubs, trees, soil and wildlife.
  • Start final design and construction phase of Aquatic Ecosystem and restore the degraded shoreline and upland fill landscape at north cove, and eliminate toxic watershed runoff.
  • Slowly return north cove into valuable salt marsh wetland.
  • restore a small portion of the ecological, physical, and biogeochemical functions that have been lost at north Cove.
  • Fill to be excavated down to tidal elevations, covered with clean soil, and planted with the low marsh plant
    salt marsh cord grass and upland plants including salt meadow hay, groundsel bush, and marsh elder.
  • restored tidal marsh system would ultimately attract wildlife to cove and surrounding area
  • local Manhattan and Bronx residents will be able to enjoy seeing more bird life and a lush wetland from several viewing points surrounding the project area, and the community will gain more outreach and environmental education opportunities
  • restoring the salt marsh habitat and coastal maritime upland communities with cove property
    people will experience Manhattan much as it might have looked before development
  • frequent visitors of North Cove, will become familiar with different biotic communities and learn what birds require,
    usually not observable because they are usually obscured by vegetation.
  • Visitors will begin to understand
    • the often harsh physical environment of the salt marsh and various plant and animal
      survival strategies which have developed through evolution
    • major elements of the North Cove Salt March and how they interrelate.
  • Function as an Outdoor laboratory tied into pre-visit activities, people/students exposed to North Cove marine elements
    (at the North Cove visit) using classroom and take-home word games, scientific experiments and hands-on activities.
  • Support experiments and first-hand experience to draw conclusions about the stresses of inhabiting a salt marsh;
    or observe tidal action and explain how the tide affects the salt marsh plants, animals and shoreline; or learn about
    salt marsh animals, birds and plants in their natural habitat as well be able to identify and name the most common
    animals, birds and plants of the North Cove Salt Marsh;
  • Support discussions of wildlife’s major adaptations to this habitat.
  • Build new trust, partnerships, friendships, and positive outlook for the future

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