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Clearing a River to Prevent Flooding in Bronxville

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Bronxville resident Jim Sutton was one of the first people on the job Sunday morning to take on the Bronx River.

Sutton is the executive director of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation Conservancy and has a great passion for the river.

"Every other Sunday I come out here and trim the vines off of the trees," Sutton said. "This river is beautiful and we must take care of it."

This Sunday, Sutton joined other volunteers at River Rescue, the initiative launched last week by Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino. Astorino selected five locations along the river, beginning in White Plains, passing through Scarsdale and ending in Bronxville, and asked volunteers to clear tree limbs, garbage and other debris from the river.

The effort was designed to create a smoother path for the river so it can flow more easily and reduce some of the flooding.

"River Rescue will not cure our chronic flooding problems, but it is a positive step forward based on the idea that small steps, especially when there is a collective energy behind them, can make a difference," Astorino said.

Sutton, who helped clean-up the Bronxville Lake located on the Bronxville Tuckahoe border, thinks the step is a good one.

"This is a great way to help, plus it just needs to be done," Sutton said. "There really is not any way to stop garbage from getting into the river. Most people don't litter around the river, but the garbage comes through the storm drains. There is not a good way to prevent that from happening."

Further down the river at Headquarters Field, Harrison resident Bob DelTorto worked with about a dozen fellow volunteers. DelTorto is a retired Westchester County Parks Department employee who now volunteers to take care of the river.

DelTorto pointed out how much erosion of the river banks has occurred due to flooding. He also pointed out small chunks of soil embedded in the river created, in part, by run-off sand from flooded streets, which now impede the flow of the river.

The Bronx River has flooded many areas of Bronxville and Tuckahoe, among them Yonkers Avenue in Tuckahoe and Paxton Avenue in Bronxville. Still, DelTorto said he will continue to spend his retirement on the river he cleaned up when he was working.

"I love this river and I will continue to volunteer to take care of it," he said.

For information on the Bronx River Parkway Reservation Conservancy go to www.vinecutter.com .

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