Hudson River on the Rebound

Hudson River on the Rebound

The Hudson River was once rich with fish and wildlife, until it was virtually decimated by pollution. Slowly but surely, the Hudson is coming back. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Nack: We used to have great smelt runs. They usually get here about the first of April.

In this archival recording, fisherman Everett Nack tells how he used to catch smelt in the Hudson Valley in the forties and fifties .

Nack: We used to sell quite a few of them and they’re really tasty little fish to eat and we’d pack 40-50 pounds in the freezer every year and have smelt all year long to eat. And now there isn’t any smelt to catch.Now it’s just gone.

Fran Dunwell is the coordinator for the Hudson River Estuary Program at New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Dunwell: Inch by inch the scenery of the Hudson has been protected through activism that started over a century ago and water quality has improved dramatically. The river is no longer an open sewer and no longer an industrial canal. But we face new issues today; many of our fish populations are declining. So many fish that spawn in the Hudson, reproduce in our river and then migrate up and down the coast are being taken by offshore by commercial fisheries before they ever even get a chance to come into the Hudson to reproduce, so there’s a dramatic loss of certain fish populations. Shad are way down. Striped Bass are at historically high levels from aggressive programs to protect the Stripe Bass for several decades now and those have paid off. So we’re now embarking on a Shad recovery program, a Sturgeon Recovery Program at DEC, to bring back these stocks. It will probably take decades.

Our thanks to the Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Hudson River on the Rebound

Like many rivers around the world, the Hudson went from from being an ecological paradise to an open sewer. Slowly but surely, it's coming back.
Air Date:11/11/2014
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Hudson River on the Rebound

The Hudson River was once rich with fish and wildlife, until it was virtually decimated by pollution. Slowly but surely, the Hudson is coming back. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Nack: We used to have great smelt runs. They usually get here about the first of April.

In this archival recording, fisherman Everett Nack tells how he used to catch smelt in the Hudson Valley in the forties and fifties .

Nack: We used to sell quite a few of them and they're really tasty little fish to eat and we'd pack 40-50 pounds in the freezer every year and have smelt all year long to eat. And now there isn't any smelt to catch.Now it's just gone.

Fran Dunwell is the coordinator for the Hudson River Estuary Program at New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

Dunwell: Inch by inch the scenery of the Hudson has been protected through activism that started over a century ago and water quality has improved dramatically. The river is no longer an open sewer and no longer an industrial canal. But we face new issues today; many of our fish populations are declining. So many fish that spawn in the Hudson, reproduce in our river and then migrate up and down the coast are being taken by offshore by commercial fisheries before they ever even get a chance to come into the Hudson to reproduce, so there's a dramatic loss of certain fish populations. Shad are way down. Striped Bass are at historically high levels from aggressive programs to protect the Stripe Bass for several decades now and those have paid off. So we're now embarking on a Shad recovery program, a Sturgeon Recovery Program at DEC, to bring back these stocks. It will probably take decades.

Our thanks to the Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.