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Riverkeeper’s Biggest Victories of 2013

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Thanks to your donations, time and activism, Riverkeeper can proudly claim another year of success tackling the biggest threats to our river and our drinking water, in partnership with thousands of amazing citizen activists. Please help us raise money now to support our continued efforts in 2014. All donations made by December 31 will be matched, up to $100,000, by the Dextra Baldwin McGonagle Foundation.

No NY Fracking—No Frack Waste

We stopped the frackers cold, as a key player in the movement to hold off the dangerous expansion of gas drilling in New York in the absence of proper health and environmental studies. What’s more, Riverkeeper helped several counties ban the use or disposal of hazardous frack waste.

Cleaner Water, an Informed Public

A citizen partner samples the water on the Rondout Creek. Photo: Dan Shapley/Riverkeeper

A new Catskill sewer line. A $10 million Tarrytown sewer upgrade. As Riverkeeper’s water quality data grows—from 74 locations in the Hudson River and nearly as many from its tributaries—so do the results. We also filed suit to prevent backsliding on federal safe swimming standards and mobilized thousands of people to speak out and ensure New York implements the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law as intended—so the public is notified whenever discharges could put them at risk.

“I’ve been calling the city about this sewer problem since 2009. I called Riverkeeper once.”
—Rob Ferris, Kingston resident

Closing in on Closing Indian Point

Put simply: Riverkeeper is winning the fight to close Indian Point by ensuring the plant is denied key state permits it needs to continue to operate. We also brought serious safety, security and environmental lapses to light, and helped produce a major Public Service Commission decision approving replacement power projects.

“Our community is extremely fortunate to have an activist, accomplished environmental organization like Riverkeeper help make the legal case to close Indian Point.”
—Peter Schwartz, Riverkeeper donor

5,000 Patrol Miles Logged

Riverkeeper on patrol near the Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo: Neale Gulley/Riverkeeper

Our patrol boat—the only vessel of its kind on the Hudson—logged about 5,000 miles, investigating cases ranging from permit lapses during Tappan Zee bridge construction to illegal shoreline dumping. Our boat also serves as mobile laboratory—both for our own water quality monitoring program, and for partners studying everything from endangered sturgeon to pharmaceuticals and antibiotic resistant bacteria.

PCB Cleanup Ahead of Schedule

With the landmark General Electric cleanup of the PCBs that make the Hudson the nation’s largest Superfund site more than three-fourths complete and a year ahead of schedule, Riverkeeper and a coalition continue to press for a critical expansion of the cleanup that will ensure hotspots of pollution don’t remain.

A Citizen Army for Clean Water

Sweep 2013: Volunteers remove trash from the Harlem River. Photo: James D'Addio

More than 1,400 volunteers removed over 38 tons of trash from our shorelines during the Riverkeeper Sweep, our 2nd annual day of service. Sixty citizen scientists test the water monthly on 160 miles of our tributary streams. Citizen activists took more than 13,000 online actions to support our campaigns.

“The cleanup was the first step toward public enjoyment of Travis Cove for years to come.”
— Anthony Ruggiero, Peekskill City Manager

Sustainable Water for Rockland


Riverkeeper empowered local advocates and successfully stalled plans to build a costly and wasteful for-profit desalination plant. The state is reconsidering the underlying need for the plant, given Rockland’s relatively abundant drinking water reserves.

“When we needed to meet and discuss, plan and take action against United Water’s desalination plant on Haverstraw Bay, Riverkeeper was there for us.”
— George Potanovic, Jr., Rockland Water Coalition

Protecting NYC Drinking Water

Threats from risky developments resumed after a recession hiatus, and Riverkeeper was there to protect the 9 million New Yorkers who rely on NYC’s drinking water supply. Our new report identified emerging threats, and gaps in city’s watershed management program.

Defending the Lower Esopus

Standing up for Ulster County residents and the Lower Esopus Creek, Riverkeeper continued to fight New York City’s efforts to use the creek as a cheap way to dump muddy waste from the Ashokan Reservoir.

“Without Riverkeeper on our side, we would never have been so effective.”
Mary McNamara Tashjian, Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership

A New Dawn for the Gowanus

Capt. John Lipscomb, on patrol in the Gowanus Canal.

A $506 million Superfund cleanup that will not only clean up 150 years’ worth of toxic sludge from the mud of the Gowanus Canal, but curtail NYC’s ongoing sewage dumping doesn’t happen all on its own. Years of advocacy by Riverkeeper and local partners produced this landmark cleanup for the most polluted arm of the Hudson River estuary.

Preventing Factory Farm Pollution

When Gov. Cuomo proposed axing rules to protect water from farm runoff, Riverkeeper cried foul—and filed a lawsuit to ensure dairy farms can scale up, but not at the expense of those downstream.

Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
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