Partially submerged and visible at low tide in Croton Bay are approximately 2,000 discarded railroad ties. The ties were dumped by New York Central Railroad into the estuary during the mid- 1940’s. Since that time, the ties have remained a visual blight to observers and a navigational hazard for boats.
Ideally, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson would have liked to have had the ties removed long ago, but the question of funding and whether there would there be any adverse environmental impact always remained. As it turns out, both of these issues are currently being addressed by federal, state and local government entities.
Village of Croton-on-Hudson Trustees recently passed a resolution (see video clip below) on January 16, 2007, to distribute a report that concludes that by removing the ties from the bay, there would be no significant environmental impact to the 70-acre area or to fish and wildlife in the estuary. Since passage of the resolution, the environmental review is going to be shared with the New York State DEC, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Waterfront Advisory Council, Historic Hudson Valley, Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, and the Village and Town of Ossining.
Residents might also recall several Black Hawk helicopter flyovers in March 2005 conducted by the United States Military Academy’s Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at West Point. The purpose of those flights was to conduct a feasibility study of how best to remove the ties, and to survey the bay and document their locations.
Since that time, the U.S. Department of Defense has tentatively agreed to remove 1,000 ties from the bay as part of a training program called the “Innovative Readiness Training Program.” In what will be considered an exercise for soldiers and reservists, DOD work crews are expected to use shallow-bottom boats tethered to the shore to remove, load and transport the discarded ties to shore. Once ashore, and at a later date, the ties will be hauled away for disposal at a cost of $18,000 to be paid for by Metro North.
Though not definite, work to begin removing the railroad ties from the bay is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2007, when there would be the least disruption to the ecosystem.
Download this video clip of “U.S. Military Plans Removal of Discarded Railroad Ties in Croton Bay” to your video iPod (how to guide).