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NYer Of The Week: Bronx River Alliance Cleans Up A Destroyed Waterway

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NY1 has been profiling New Yorkers across the five boroughs who have gone above and beyond to help their neighbors in the wake of Sandy, and this week our tour of the five boroughs takes us to the Bronx, where a conservation team has been working non-stop to restore a precious waterway. NY1's John Schiumo has the story.

Though not in the Rockaways or along the east coast of Staten Island, the Bronx River too was a victim of Hurricane Sandy and the Bronx River Alliance has been working to save it.

"There's a lot of people that don't know there is a Bronx River," Alliance member Maurice Samuels said.

"I didn't even know it existed," said Alliance member Penny Matta. "I drove right over it going to high school and didn't realize it was there."

But in the days before the hurricane hit, the members of the Bronx River Alliance were more than aware of the damage that could be done.

"We were still working on the nor'easter that had happened a couple of years ago," Alliance member Elaine Feliciano said. "The damage was already done. Hurricane Sandy was just something totally extra."

Trees were knocked down, docks were displaced and areas of the river flooded.

"I wasn't surprised that we would find a tree or two, but I was surprised to the extent," Matta said. "We had a lot of big trees down on land and by the river."

"There is a lot of litter inside the river," Feliciano said. "Once a blockage happens all this debris just starts to build up."

In the weeks since the storm passed, the Bronx River Alliance team has been tackling one blockage at a time, making the park safe and the water flow.

Their work helps more than just the river.

"The Bronx River is more like a family," Samuels said. "This has a lot to do with giving back to the community. I took it on as a job at first but now its more like a responsibility. I feel like I have to own up to it and I have to keep it that way."

"We do this for the public, we do this for ourselves, we do this for our children," Feliciano said. "We do it for the future."

So, for looking after their river and their community, the members of the Bronx River Alliance are our New Yorkers of the Week.

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