The Bronx River is a tributary of the East River and flows generally from north to south through Westchester County and central Bronx County. The headwaters of the Bronx River are at Davis Brook and the Kensico Dam and extend to the mouth between Hunts Point and Clason Point along the East River. The northern portion of the river upstream of East Tremont Avenue is freshwater. South of this point, the river is tidally influenced and generally brackish.
In the 17th Century the Bronx River was referred to as Aquehung or “River of High Bluffs” by the Mohican Indians who first lived off of the river. At the beginning of the 18th Century, roughly 12 water mills were producing paper, pottery, flour, tapestries, and snuff along the Bronx River. Much of the valley remained densely vegetated and forested well into the 19th Century. However, in the 1840s during railroad construction, the valley was turned into an industrial corridor. In 1905, Westchester County constructed the Bronx River Valley Sewer which discharged into the Bronx River. New York City’s demand for water continued to rise and the construction of the Kensico Dam diverted the upper reaches of the Bronx River into the reservoir, cutting the river’s water flow by approximately 25 percent in 1915. The river’s history since the 1880s has been an effort to reclaim and protect it from urbanization. In 1888, Bronx Park was created by consolidation of surrounding properties to buffer against development on both sides of the river. The Bronx River Parkway was completed in 1925, and includes a collection of lakes, parks, and limited access roadways stretching from the Kensico Dam to Bronx Park. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, city and state highway projects distanced the Bronx River communities from each other as well as the river. In 1974, as a response to the poor conditions of the Bronx River, local residents formed the Bronx River Restoration Project, Inc. The group was successful in removing debris from the shoreline of the Bronx River. In 1996, the Restoration Project was strengthened with the Bronx Riverkeeper Program, created in a partnership with the City of New York Parks and Consolidated Edison Corporation. In 1997 the Bronx River Working Group expanded the effort to include over 60 community groups, government agencies, schools, and businesses. Additionally, the Bronx River Alliance was created in 2001 as the next step in the effort to restore and protect the Bronx River. The City’s LTCP program continues the on-going effort to improve the Bronx River.
Long Term Control Plan
DEP completed a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to better understand CSO impacts on water quality within the Bronx River. Throughout the LTCP’s development the City collected water quality data, performed extensive modeling, held multiple public meeting and analyzed potential projects based on costs and anticipated water quality.
To learn more about the Bronx River LTCP and other improvement projects, download the factsheet.
The Bronx River LTCP was submitted to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in June 2015. DEC approved the plan on March 7, 2017.
January 22, 2015 – Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education 928 Simpson Street, 6th Floor, Bronx
February 12, 2015 – Casita Maria, Bronx
Bronx River Kickoff Meeting Boards
May 7, 2015 – Casita Maria, Bronx
Waterbody/Watershed Facility Plan
The Bronx River Waterbody/Watershed Facility Plan was submitted to DEC in July 2010.