News, Media & Upcoming Events

Italian Painting Fragment
February 2018 - August 2019

Op-eds published included "The Wrong Mine for the Wrong Place" inThe New York Times" with Paul Greenberg, Mark Kurlansky, and Carl Safina on the environmentally egregious Pebble Mine in Alaska in May 2019; and in the Portland Herald on how the "State Could Magnify its Allure by Removing More Dams from its Rivers" in August 2018. Among a number of invited talks I was honored to be asked to speak on river restoration at the annual Kirkland/Spizuoco Lecture at Shippensburg University in April 2018 and the Roque Island Lecture at University of maine in March 2019. In November I enjoyed being part of a panel discussion at the Hudson River Museum titled "The Hudson River as Life Force" held in conjunction with the exhibition by Maya Lin: A River is a Drawing. In July 2019 I contributed to the Hell Gate portion of a podcast series on 30 waterways inNew York Harbor titled AdriftNYC.

August 2017 - January 2018
I remained on sabbatical, working on the Running Silver Project, journal articles and conservation essays. In August I attended the annual meting of the American Fisheries Society, in Tampa, where I gave a talk titled "Why it Comes Down to Dams and Why More Dams Should come Down." I also was pleased to accept the 2017 Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award. In December, colleagues and I presented our work linking eel abundances, dams, and eDNA on the Bronx River  was presented at the Hudson River Foundation, viewable  on video.

May 2017 - July 2017

On Henry David Thoreau's 200th Birthday, July 12th I published an op-ed in The New York Times titled Thoreau's Distressing Canoe Trip. It presented Thoreau's many prescient predictions about the fate of industrialized rivers, through the eyes of its migratory fishes. I also was funded by Hudson River Foundation  to  conduct an eDNA  fish survey of the Hudson watershed, together with co-PI Liz Alter of York College; water collection has been completed.

April 2016 - March 2017
Among a number of talks given was a videotaped public presentation on the Running Silver Project at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. I also was honored to be a keynote speaker in June at Fish Passage 2016 - International Conference on River Connectivity, held at UMASS–Amherst, giving a lecture titled Restoring Atlantic Diadromous Fishes: Why it Comes Down to Dams (and Why More Dams Should Come Down). An important inititiative that I led was the tributaries connectivity effort for was the Hudson River Restoration Project being organized by The Nature Conservancy. In November, hired postdoctoral associate Dr. Shailesh Sharma to work with me on the Running Silver Project, with generous support from the JPB Foundation.In January, Eric sanderson of Wildlife Conservation Society and I published an op-ed in the New York Daily News titled What JFK Fliers Owe Jamaica Bay Wildlife, making a case for financial support of bay restoration efforts from an airport facility that so  altered its habitats.

September 2015 - March 2016
In October, I spoke (togther with artist James Prosek and Photographers David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes and ecologist Karin Limburg) at the Dale Travis Lecture: The Future of Fisheries: Choices, Decisions, and the Role of the Arts, at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse. Former Ph.D. student George Jackman published his first journal article on his otolith-based winter flounder research. In November, I debunked for the New York Times a fun hoax involving a putative 3-eyed fish from Brooklyn's legendarily polluted Gowanus Canal. In February I had the privilege of addressing the new cohort of teachers participating in the Harbor School's Billion Oyster Project. The March issue Fisheries Magazine published a paper I coauthored on the role of resilience theory in restoring anadromous fishes; the same issue also included a members interview with me. I also served as the spring 2016 scientist-in-residence at the Hudson River Museum.

January - August 2015

Among several talks on rivers was a seminar at the Hudson River Foundation titled Against the Current: Repairing Atlantic Rivers to Restore Diadromous Fishes, now available online. I also had the honor of keynoting the 2015 Northeast Fish & Wildlife Conference in Newport, RI, with a talk on challenges and opportunities in river restoration. Karin Limburg and I published a new concept for the ecology-energy nexus of rivers in Yale Environment 360 titled Undamming Rivers: A Chance for a New Clean Energy Source. Running Silver received fine reviews in The Canadian Field-Naturalist.  And both Still the Same Hawk and the (revised)Heartbeats in the Muck were reviewed in thoughtful detail in the excellent Nature of Cities blog. 

November - December 2014
Running Silver received a detailed and highly positive review in journal Bioscience. My serendipitous role in the genesis and evolution of the new Science & Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay was covered in the Daily News. And work in the Bronx River was included in the CUNY tv show, Study with the Best.

September - October 2014
The New York Times published my op-ed on restoring the Susquehanna River, titled "Let the River Run Wild"  (with coauthors Karin Limburg & Amy Roe). Also spoke at some great conferences:  The American Catch: The Past, Present, & Future of New York's Local Seafood; Central Park, NY; September 17th (with Paul Greenberg et al.) and Symposium on Urban River Restoration, October 23rd, at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY.

January - July 2014
Andy Revkin of Dot Earth ran a great review of Running Silver linked to World Fish Migration Day.  I was pleased to give several Running Silver-inspired talks.  I was the keynote speaker at the excellent Maine Rivers Conference on the Kennebec, held in Waterville. Others included the Rhode Island Natural History Survey in Providence; in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on behalf of the Delaware Riverkeeper and Sierra Club; and in Cornwall, New York at the invitation of a regional watershed group focused on Moodna Creek.  Also, Jed Brown and I published an Op-Ed in the Providence Journal titled "Don't Expect Shad with the Shadbush." Ben Goldfarb reviewed Running Silver and taped an interview with me about it for New Books in Environmental Studies.  Finally, WFUV's Fordham Convsersation's ran an interview with me titled: The Sea Life and Comeback of New York Harbor

November 2013
Running Silver was published and received some highly favorable reviews (e.g., TNC Green Blog).  Also, the discovery of grass carp spawning in Lake Erie inspired David Strayer and me to publish an Op-Ed in the New York Times cautioning against allowing the fish to enter the inland waters of New York State through the Erie Canal.
October 2013

On October 4th, I helped Queens College convene a conference titled 'Quintessential Queens: Celebrating America's Fourth Largest City,' to culminate the college's 75th anniversary year.  Author Robert Sullivan keynoted the all-day gathering, which also included the Queens Poet Laureate, Paolo Javier,  the Queens Historian, Jack Eichenbaum, a number of Queens College faculty and outside experts.  Also,  I presented the keynote address at a fish-in-New York Harbor focused workshop at the CUNY Graduate Center titled 'Hooked on Our waters' and was the dinner speaker at the New York State Outdoor Education Association's annual meeting, in Albany.  The Artist Mary Miss has a great project titled City as Living Laboratory.  As part of it, conceptual Artist David Brooks and I had a videotaped, wide-rnaging one-hour public discussion along the seawall at the Battery art and nature concerning New York's waters.
August 2013

The American eel is in  trouble  for  many reasons.  One contributor is the intensifying 'glass' eel
fishery for young individuals entering rivers from the sea.  I weighed in one this for
National Geographic with colleague Merry Camhi of the Wildlife Conservation Society with
Let's Not Shatter the Glass Eel.'

There is considerable interest in the biodiversity of Manhattan's Central Park.  In late August I assisted the Macauly Honors College and the Central Park Conservancy as the fish taxon leader in a 'Bioblitz.'  We surveyed the 'Meer,' the 'Pool,' and the 'Lake,' recording eight fish species and crayfish.  The ponds seemed surprisingly healthy, though the Lake has a recurrent summer algae bloom.  Many students participated in this useful and educational baseline survey, covered in the New York Times and on WCBS.

July 2013

Writer Brandon Keim covered our work on eels in the Bronx River in the new online journal Nautilus, focusing on  doctoral student George Jackman.

William Solecki, Steve Duncan, and I organized and spoke at a workshop on Stream Daylighting in NYC: Benefits, Opportunities, Challenges, held at the Hudson River Foundation.  Its scope ranged from the borough sof New York City, to the successful Sawmill River project in Yonkers, to Switzerland and South Korea.

June 2013

I accompanied a delegation from Queens College to Mongolia for an eight-day visit.  The itinerary was ably assembled by Queens College distinguished professor Morris Rossabi, a Mongolia expert.  We met in Ulan Bator with representatives from universities, government ministries, and the U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia in an effort to establish student and faculty exchanges and collaborations between Queens College and  Mongolian institutions.  We also madeuseful trips to the Gobi Desert and to a 'forest education camp' north of the capital city.

May 2013
I served as the commencement speaker for the at the Environmental Studies Program at The New School.  This is an intimate and innovative program that emphasizes social issues and  environmental responsibility.

April 2013

I continued to publish conservation essays in Yale University's excellent online journal, Environment 360, with a piece titled 'Blocked Migration: Fish Ladders On U.S. Dams Are Not Effective.'

I was a coauthor on two presentations at the Hudson River Environmental Society's 'State of Hudson River Science' conference held in New Paltz on April 24th, with Wirgin, I., L. Maceda, C. Grunwald, J. Waldman, T. King.  2013.  'Hudson River Atlantic Sturgeon: Vulnerability to Bycatch in Coastal Waters (and Non-Natal Estuaries)' and Limburg, K.E., K. A. Hattala, A.L. Higgs, A.W. Kahnle, R.E. Schmidt, J.R. Waldman.  'Status of Hudson River Fishes: Local and Regional Perspectives.' 

On April 12, I was a keynote speaker at the annual gathering of the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society, held in Williamsburg, Virginia, with a talk titled 'The Broad Arc of History on a Linear River.' 

On April 5th I spoke at the New School in behalf of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature, and Dance (iLAND) on 'Micro to Macro Movement in New York City Waterways from East Tremont to Newtown Creek.'  I am a former board member of iLAND and urge readers to learn about their innovative programs.

March 2013

The Bronx River Alliance and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation included 'Migration Reform: Opening Up the Bronx River to Migratory Fish' in their ongoing Uncommon Ground Lecture Series.  Held at the Arsenal in Central Park on March 20th, I spoke on the biology and prospects for diadromous fish, and George Jackman covered the Bronx River project.  The evning also included poetry and dance interpretations of the fate of these fishes.

Bay Journal, a terrific Chesapeake Bay monthly, picked up on the fish passage paper in Conservation Letters and interviewed me for their piece titled 'Scientists link restoration of Susquehanna’s fish to removal of dams.'

January 2013

I released two books published as a pair by Fordham Press.  One was a revised edition of my 1999 book, 'Heartbeats in the Muck.'  The other was an anthology I edited titled 'Still the Same  Hawk: Reflections on Nature in New York.'  This volume included never-before-published contributions from notable authors such as Fred Buell, Tony Hiss, Bill Kornblum, Phillip Lopate, Anne Matthews, and Robert Sullivan.

I was a keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Diadromous Species Restoration Research Network meeting in Orono, Maine, with a talk titled 'Is Resilience Theory Useful to Anadromous Fish Restoration?'

Fish passage past dams may not always work as well as planned, and it sometimes fails miserably.  I was a coauthor on a controversial paper titled 'Fish and hydropower on the U.S. Atlantic coast: failed fisheries policies from half-way technologies,' published in Conservation Letters.

December 2012

Doctoral student Colin Grubel and I were the lead authors, together with colleagues from the Hudson River Foundation, on a report titled 'Rapid Assessment of Habitat and Wildlife Losses from Hurricane Sandy in the Hudson Raritan Estuary.'

October 2012

I was pleased to be honored by the Wildlife Conservation Society at their annual Dinner by the Sea at the New York Aquarium with the 2012 WCS Conservation Award 'In recognition of his scientific and literary efforts in support of the conservation of New Yor's marine biodiversity.'

An audio story about the status of shortnose sturgeon in which I was interviewed aired on NPR.

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