Both sides of the Bronx River alongside the parking lot for the Westchester County Center have been stabilized and restored to lessen the erosive effects of flooding and to improve water quality in the river. The project’s first phase focused on the river’s west bank closest to the Bronx River Parkway. This phase was completed in December 2011. The second phase focused on the east bank nearest the parking lot. It was completed in the summer 2012. The banks on both sides of the river were eroding, steep and relatively unstable, threatening adjoining infrastructure like the many underground pipes and other conduits at the site, the northbound lanes of the parkway, and bridge abutments. The primary goal of both phases was to stabilize the banks using both hard (rock) and soft (vegetative) stabilization and restoration techniques. Construction on the first phase was implemented under agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which funded most of the west bank project. Construction of the second phase, the east bank, was implemented using both county funds and a grant from the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
Because both sides of the river, most prominently the east bank, also include degraded freshwater wetlands dominated by non-native, invasive plants, including porcelain berry and Japanese knotweed, additional effort focused on restoring these wetlands by removing the problematic plants and replacing them with native plants. Wetlands along the river’s edge further strengthen the adjoining banks by buffering the river flows against the banks. Wetlands also filter out the pollutants carried by storm water runoff and also found in the river itself. The invasive plants impede the functions typically provided by healthy wetlands.
Both phases of the project result in improved bank stability and better protection of adjoining infrastructure, cleaner water, improved fish and wildlife habitats, and a much improved appearance for pedestrians and motorists traveling through the Bronx River Parkway Reservation. Because the wetlands are situated in a highly urbanized area, they also are important in providing some flood control by acting as natural sponges, soaking up and storing some floods waters and, most importantly, protecting the banks from the erosive flows of the river during storms. These benefits will have a direct impact on the protection of county-owned infrastructure including the vehicular bridge to the parking lot, Bronx River Parkway, and Bronx River Parkway Reservation.
To View The Site: The site is next to the Bronx River Parkway and parking lot of the Westchester County Center at the intersection of Central Avenue and Bronx River Parkway (Exit 22) in White Plains.