For many years, the Hudson River, like so many waterways across the U.S., was treated like an infinite waste barrel, a receptacle for poisonous chemicals, hazardous waste andtrash of all descriptions. During the past forty years, thanks to a committed group of environmentalists and their agencies, the river has become markedly cleaner, a far more welcoming place for small business and community investment. While the river is still an under-utilized natural resource, increasingly it is used by boaters, kayakers, even swimmers as a recreational playground.
But the river, in the words of Riverkeeper’s John Lipscomb, the Hudson River, from Troy to Manhattan, has “had a foot on its neck” for more than one hundred years due to all that pollution and unmonitored industrialization.
So despite all of the improvements the river and valley have witnessed thanks to the coordination of some of the savviest environmentalists in the country, there are still environmental risks and concerns.
A unique multi-media project and collection of short films by Oceans 8 Films and the One Ocean Media Foundation exploring the Hudson Valley's environmental successes and continued concerns.
City on the Water
New York City is truly a water city. Everywhere you go, there are tunnels and bridges delivering you over water, to such a degree some have dubbed the waterways that encircle New York City “the sixth borough.” Waterways like Brooklyn’s Newtown Creek and Queens’ Flushing Meadow, once thought ruined forever by industrial and manmade pollution are making a comeback. From the Billion Oyster Project to Dragon Boat races, from the Gowanus Canal to the Harlem River, there is brand new activity on all of the waterways that surround NYC.
Source to Sea
In partnership with volunteer citizen samplers, Hudson Riverkeeper tests select tributaries of the Hudson for fecal-indicating bacteria and other water quality indicators. These samples are collected from the streambank by trained community scientists, and processed in our onboard lab, our lab in Kingston, or one of our partner labs. Communities up and down the Hudson River use this data to restore and protect their local waterways.
Undamming the Hudson River
Many fish use tributaries to the Hudson River as pathways to move between feeding, nursery, and spawning grounds. Unfortunately, thousands of dams, many built in the 19th and 20th Centuries are blocking those pathways and dramatically shrinking accessible habitat area, causing declines in fish and other wildlife. As the years have passed, these dams often no longer serve the purposes for which they were originally built and many have fallen into disrepair.
Growing With the Grain
Upstate New York used to be a breadbasket of grain growing. Westward expansion yielded more ideal climates for growing and production shifted to the midwest. Scientists, farmers, bakers and brewers take part in a grain trial test that hopes to produce a new generation of grain suited for the northeast, bringing sustainable and more localized grain production back to the region.
Seeds of Hope
From planting to harvest, follow the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe at Akwesasne, the Hudson Valley Farm Hub and Seedshed as they honor Native American seeds that are at risk of disappearing. Can they preserve their rich agricultural heritage and the stories that each seed holds?
About the filmmaker
Writer, filmmaker and adventurer, Jon is a six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council. One of the Society’s ‘Ocean Heroes,’ his first assignment for National Geographic Magazine was documenting a 3,741 mile crossing of Antarctica by dogsled. Jon has written a dozen books and produced/directed more than fifteen documentary films. His Oceans 8 project took him and his teams around the world by sea kayak over the course of ten years (1999-2008), bringing back stories from the Aleutian Islands to French Polynesia, Gabon to Tasmania, and more, reporting on how the planet’s one ocean and its various coastlines are faring in today’s busy world. Jon lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. He is the Executive Producer of Oceans 8 Films and President of One Ocean Media Foundation, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation and a Board Member of Mark Ruffalo’s Water Defense.