Humpback Whale Sightings In Hudson River Possible Win For Ecosystem

By Kristy Rice Dec 9, 2016

There are plenty of things to marvel at in New York City: the towering buildings, the Statue of Liberty, the 103-story Empire State Building. But many New Yorkers are seeing something they never dreamed of glimpsing in the big city-a humpback whale in the Hudson River.
The U.S. Coast Guard was flooded with calls from citizens reporting their whale sightings.
Even Dr. Rachel Dubroff, whose apartment overlooks the Hudson, told the New York Times that she was pretty sure she'd been watching a whale out her window for the last two years.
Turns out she most certainly was as scientists and on-lookers have now confirmed that there is in fact a whale in the Hudson River.
“We received the first reports on Wednesday, Nov. 9,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jason Moritz in a press release. “We’ve had multiple daily sightings since then throughout the harbor and up the Hudson River.”
Since the sightings began, the Coast Guard has been cautioning boats to slow down and keep an eye out.
But what's more amazing than something actually shocking the residents of New York city is WHY there's a whale in the Hudson.
While scientists are slow to confirm a direct correlation, it's believed that the environmental improvements sustained by the river in the 35 years since the passing of the Clean Water Act may have something to do with it.
In an interview with the New York Times, Paul Sieswerda, the president of Gotham Whale, an organization that tracks marine life around the Big Apple, told the paper, "The whales found this spot as a feeding ground. Rather than go all the way up to Massachusetts and Maine, they’ve found a good feeding ground right here in New York.”
And while conservation efforts continue, it is likely that these sightings will become more and more frequent.
"30 years ago you’d see maybe one whale off of Long Island a season," said Chuck Bowman of the Riverhead Foundation, in his interview with the New York Times. "Now you see them all the time. ... You get a bigger population and you get a greater chance of things like this happening."
But as I mentioned before, scientists are not yet ready to confirm the Clean Water Act's involvement in the whale sightings without further evidence.
CBS reported: "Although most experts agree water conditions have improved in the river in the 35 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act, they weren’t willing to say that the visit from the humpback had a direct correlation."
Yet, confirmed or not, the Hudson whale is a spectacular win for city-dwellers and conservationists.
It has been the hard work and conservation efforts of many that lead to the rejuvenation of New York's waterways; Waterways that support diverse and critical ecosystems for a variety of marine life.
This year there have been more than 100 whale sightings in New York and New Jersey: a number scientists expect will grow by the end of 2016.
It's a whale of a tale for environmentalists and residents alike, including Dr. Brudoff, who continues to whale-watch from her high-rise Manhattan sofa.
Source: Upworthy | Nytimes | Cbsnews