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"National Geographic" featured Pace University's Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Professor of environmental policy and Hudson Riverkeeper John Cronin in "14-foot fish spotted in river, giving hope to vanished giant’s return"

03/07/2019

"National Geographic" featured Pace University's Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Professor of environmental policy and Hudson Riverkeeper John Cronin in "14-foot fish spotted in river, giving hope to vanished giant’s return"

Sustainable management?

To widen the view of this sonar signal, I turned first to John Cronin, an old friend who’s encountered the Hudson and its biological bounty in more ways than anyone I know. His four-decade-plus career along the Hudson has included commercial fishing for shad (a species now gone from the river), patrolling for pollution as the Hudson Riverkeeper and teaching environmental policy at nearby Pace University.

He sees last summer’s sonar image less as a sign of hope than a reminder of just how profound the near-complete depletion of the Atlantic sturgeon has been—along with the loss of other once-keystone commercial species like the American shad.

The loss is not just of fish but of the relationship communities have with their environment when fisheries are sustainable, Cronin said. He lamented how mismanagement of harvests, even when the science was clear, led to the final crash in the 1990s and then a ban on catches that will persist for many years, if not decades, to come.

In an essay on his Earth Desk blog in 2013, centered on Native American lore around a “sturgeon moon,” Cronin captured the epic scale of the jolt this ancient species has felt in Earth’s Anthropocene age of human impacts.

“Overharvesting of its meat and caviar, pollution, habitat alteration, power plant intakes—the list of insults that humans have invented trump every challenge thrown in the sturgeon’s path during 2,000,000 centuries of life on Earth,” he wrote. “Worth remembering the next time someone passes you the caviar….”

Given the slow maturation and long lives of sturgeon, the losses have been akin to clearcutting an ancient forest, agreed John Waldman, a biology professor at the City University of New York and author of Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and their Great Fish Migrations.

What did he think of the sonar view of a fish as big as the biggest Atlantic sturgeon of any age?

“This makes me think we often don’t really know that much about the status of sturgeon in any river,” Waldman said.

He said the biggest sturgeon are big for a reason: “They’re almost totally cryptic and elusive and this is deep and murky water.”

Sturgeon have been known to leap from the water on occasion, he said, “but it’s not like spotting the humpback whale that was in the lower Hudson a few years ago. They surface every few minutes.”

“It’s a marvelous thing to see, even if just that one for now,” Waldman said.

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"Tarrytown Patch" featured Pace University's Dyson senior fellow for Environmental Affairs John Cronin in "Feds' NYC Storm Barrier Plan: Meetings Wednesday In Westchester"

10/03/2018

"Tarrytown Patch" featured Pace University's Dyson Senior Fellow for Environmental Affairs John Cronin in "Feds' NYC Storm Barrier Plan: Meetings Wednesday In Westchester"

...Alternative plans include multiple shorter barriers from Staten Island to Brooklyn and at various other locations blocking tributaries. The cost for the project has been estimated as high as $50-60 billion and could take decades to complete. Concerns have been raised that it could cause worse flooding in certain areas and harm nearby beaches. Environmentalists have raised concerns for many species that call the Atlantic Ocean home, including some that are on the endangered list.

"The federal government has done little to protect and restore the Hudson, compared to other major estuaries," said John Cronin, former Riverkeeper and senior fellow for Environmental Affairs at Pace University. "Instead, it has a long history of reckless proposals that would further damage the river. The latest Army Corps proposal is the worst I have seen in my 45 year career."

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"The Daily Gazette" featured Professor John Cronin in "Original Riverkeeper Paying Visit to Schoharie"

08/20/2018

"The Daily Gazette" featured Professor John Cronin in "Original Riverkeeper Paying Visit to Schoharie"

When John Cronin, the original Riverkeeper, jumped into his custom-built, 26-foot boat back in 1983 and began looking for polluters on the Hudson River, he wasn't convinced his actions were practical, and he wondered just how much impact he might actually have.

"There wasn't a little voice in the back of my mind, asking me what I was doing," remembers Cronin. "It was a big voice, shouting at me, 'what the heck are you doing?' I was hoping to make a difference, but I didn't know what I was doing. I was in a position that had been created by a bunch of fisherman. I had no real authority to do anything."

Thirty-five years later, Cronin is a Senior Fellow at the Dyson College Institute for Sustainability and the Environment at Pace University on the Hudson River just north of White Plains. His connection to the river and his advocacy for our environment goes back to 1973 when he met Pete Seeger in Beacon on the western shore of the Hudson. Cronin's long battle to protect the environment and New York's waterways, and his close connection to Seeger, the legendary folksinger and activist, will all be part of the discussion when he delivers the keynote address at "Writing the Watershed," a literary arts festival being held Friday through Sunday at the Schoharie River Center at 2025 Burtonville Road in the Montgomery County town of Charleston.

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"Westchester Rising" featured Dyson Professors Michelle Land and John Cronin in "Pace Raises Awareness About Clean Water Scarcity"

07/18/2018

"Westchester Rising" featured Dyson Professors Michelle Land and John Cronin in "Pace Raises Awareness About Clean Water Scarcity"

Pace University in Pleasantville hosted the Westchester Walk for World Water on Saturday in partnership with the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation Student Ambassadors. Participants included more than 100 Pace students, staff, faculty, community members, and students from local high schools including Bedford, Eastchester, Irvington, Kent Place, Scarsdale, Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown, and the Hackley School including CELF student ambassadors.

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"Pleasantville Patch" featured Dyson Professors Michelle Land and John Cronin with Pace University students, faculty and staff in "High School, College Students Walk For World Water"

04/26/2018

"Pleasantville Patch" featured Dyson Professors Michelle Land and John Cronin with Pace University students, faculty and staff in "High School, College Students Walk For World Water"

Pace University in Pleasantville hosted the Westchester Walk for World Water on Saturday in partnership with the Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF) Student Ambassadors. Participants included more than 100 Pace students, staff, faculty, community members and students from local high schools including Bedford, Eastchester, Irvington, Kent Place, Scarsdale, Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown and The Hackley School, including CELF student ambassadors.

Participants walked one mile with large buckets of water on their heads to demonstrate the trek that many women around the world make each day to collect water.

Westchester Walk for World Water, organized by the Dyson College Institute for Sustainability and the Environment at Pace University and CELF, was held to draw attention to the scarcity of safe drinking water around the world and raise funds to provide LifeStraw® Community filters to schools in need. While most of us are just steps to the nearest source of clean drinking water, in many parts of the world people (mostly women and children) walk miles to find water.

"CELF is thrilled to once again partner with Pace University on a student event that addresses one of the most pressing issues of our time: the global freshwater crisis," said Katie Ginsberg, Founder and Executive Director of CELF. "Just as we see young people across the country stand up and address societal issues, the CELF Student Ambassadors work to build awareness of the global fresh water crisis. We are so proud of them for speaking up and for contributing their talent and energy to the Walk. As high school students, they are already making an impact by educating their own communities about this crisis and enabling students in Kenya to have access to fresh water."

"Photos or stories of women and children throughout the developing world traveling miles for water, often of terrible quality, is not enough," said Michelle D. Land, Director of Programming, Dyson College Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, Pace University. "Our water walk helps Pace students briefly experience what it is like to have to do this every day."

John Cronin, Senior Fellow for Environmental Affairs, Dyson College Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, Pace University, delivered the keynote address, "Water, Water, Everywhere . . . and Nowhere."

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"Daily Voice" featured Pace Students and Professor John Cronin in "Pace Students Travel To DC, Advocate For Hudson River"

04/22/2018

"Daily Voice" featured Pace Students and Professor John Cronin in "Pace Students Travel To DC, Advocate For Hudson River"

Students in Pace University's Environmental Policy Clinic along with their adviser, John Cronin, spent Friday, April 20 in Washington, D.C., advocating for issues related to the Hudson River.

Cronin is the senior fellow for Environmental Affairs at Pace.

Cronin said a controversial proposal for oil barge anchorages on the Hudson River was the subject of their visit with the region’s congressional delegation.

“Our students conveyed the need for Coast Guard procedures that assure both river protection and river safety,” said Cronin, who is the Clinic instructor.

“We hope that representatives of the tug and barge industry, who have also been active in Washington, agree with the Clinic that these issues need not be at odds," Cronin told Daily Voice.

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