Volunteers from TD Bank and staff from the Bronx River Alliance were truly digging in, adding hundreds of trees and shrubs along the banks of the Bronx River during a planting day event Wednesday.

They said it’s all about stabilizing the banks of the river to deal with flooding from heavy rains, along with some other benefits.

What You Need To Know

  • The Bronx River Alliance works with NYC Parks and community groups to restore and protect the Bronx River 

  • The alliance was founded in 2001 but its roots date back to the 1970s

  • The river was polluted by industry and neglected for decades before efforts began to clean it up 

  • The Bronx River stretches 23 miles from Westchester through the Bronx to the East River and is the city's only true freshwater river

“These shrubs, these trees, will soak up a lot of the storm water, all the rain we have been getting, be added to the tree canopy and create shelter for wildlife, so we are doing a lot of habitat restoration today,” said Jennifer Seda, a volunteer program assistant for the alliance.

The Bronx River Alliance has a mission to protect and restore the river. It is the city’s only freshwater river and runs 23 miles from Westchester County near White Plains into the East River.

“Even before our organization was formed, there’s decades of folks on the ground who got together and did what had to be done, because they love their community, but it’s been a real transformation and now we are ready to take it to the next level,” said Elena Conte, interim executive director of the alliance.

Despite being cleaner than it has been in decades, the river still faces challenges. Bronx native Anthony Martinez was recently appointed as Bronx River Administrator for the Parks Department. He said things have come a long way since they were pulling cars out of the river in the late 1990s and 2000s, but there is still work to be done.

“With the recent storms we have issues with flooding along the river, runoff in the river, we have a recent problem with the e-scooters getting dumped into the river,” Martinez said.

The alliance, NYC Parks and numerous community groups continue to work to make the river clean, healthy and safe for residents in surrounding communities.

Right now it’s a popular spot for canoes and kayaks, but Conte said maybe one day, the river will be clean enough for swimming.

Find out more about the Bronx River Alliance here.