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The Four Coves Biodiversity Project

Announcing a new collaborative study of Northern Manhattan's natural habitats. Conservancy North, in cooperation with Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC)--a nonprofit group that works in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation--is leading a multi-year community effort to identify, catalogue, and monitor the diverse species found in the marshes and forests of Northern Manhattan. 

The focus is on four coves located in Inwood: Muscota Marsh, Inwood Hill Cove, North Cove and Sherman Creek.  These sites vary in the scope of restorationand in the surrounding built environment, providing useful comparisons for study. The findings from this effort will contribute to NAC’s city-wide effort to benchmark healthy systems, a critical step in being able to monitor the effectiveness of restoration efforts and make smart design decisions that recognize the shared value of urban green spaces as places for recreation for people and refuges for diverse plant and animal species.  Partners will include New York Restoration Project, Manhattan Wetlands and Wildlife Association, and other  like-minded groups.

Photo by Adam Stoltman

The project will engage the Northern Manhattan community in four phases of study:

•    Phase I:  Visits to ecological habitats to identify general study parameters as well as a preliminary cataloguing of notable habitats within the study area.

•    Phase II: Participants will research best practices aligned with current scientific protocols for performing biodiversity surveys.  Outreach to community partners will continue during this phase.  Once study protocols have been organized, study sites will be identified, surveyed, and mapped.

  Photo by Adam Stoltman

•    Phase III: Periodic visits to study sites will be conducted.  Abiotic environmental factors will be noted and biodiversity assessments will be performed.

•    Phase IV:  Evaluation of data, report writing with an eye to further research, and suggestions for management and preservation of sites will be offered to stakeholders.

The first phase begins in the Spring of 2014 with the following programs:

Inwood Hill Park - Sunday April 6th 2:00PM to 4:00PM – This 2-hour walk in Inwood Hill Park explores the “forever wild” old growth forest, marsh, field and hilltop habitats. During this time participants will identify study sites for future research.  The tour begins promptly in Inwood Hill Park at the corner of 218th Street and Indian Road.  Please come a little early and wear comfortable walking shoes.   

  Photo by Adam Stoltman

North Cove - Saturday May 10th 12:00PM to 4:00PM – Join Manhattan Wetlands & Wildlife Association (MWAWA) and Conservancy North to celebrate the second annual Riverkeeper Sweep Community Clean-up.  What started as a desolate dumping ground is now one of the richest habitats in Manhattan and a bird watcher’s paradise. 

Photo by James D’Addio

The community clean-up begins with an hour-long talk on biodiversity at 12PM with James Cole of Conservancy North and Jim “Birdman” Cataldi, EPA award winner, wildlife rehabilitator, and head of MWAWA.  Please arrive a little early and come ready to muck around! (Sturdy shoes or boots and long sleeves recommended.)

Muscota Marsh - Sunday June 15th 2:00PM to 4:00PM – Participants will meet at Muscota Marsh, designed by James Corner (designer of the High Line), to test the triple filter concept, compare the health of the marsh with other Northern Manhattan salt marshes, and develop a biodiversity baseline as a foundation for ongoing research at the marsh. 

To learn more or get involved please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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