Saw Mill Creek Sees the Light

In 2010, the Saw Mill Creek in Yonkers, New York saw daylight for the first time in 90 years...but what does that even mean? Believe it or not, rivers and creeks all over the world have been buried under concrete, often during old public works projects. Nowadays, people are scratching their heads, wondering if we can bring these buried waterways back to the surface. The good news is it’s not only possible, it’s happening in a lot of places around the world--including the Saw Mill Creek in Yonkers, New York.

Photo courtesy of sawmillrivercoalition.org

Photo courtesy of sawmillrivercoalition.org

Now that the creek has been “daylighted,” (the term used when referencing rivers being brought back to the surface) it is no surprise that the Saw Mill Creek has seen a fast return of vegetation as well as native fish. Among these returning fish is the American eel, which now uses the creek as part of its spawning migration. More information about this Saw Mill Creek project can be read in this article, or by visiting daylightyonkers.com.

This project is in such close alignment with Naru. Not only is the daylighting initiative on the forefront of urban river rehabilitation, but Saw Mill Creek has made education a priority. For example, high school students with seine nets have been conducting research and informing the public of the presence of fish species, including black-nose dace and tessellated darters.

Photo courtesy of daylightyonkers.com

Photo courtesy of daylightyonkers.com

It is worth noting that Saw Mill Creek is but one shining example among dozens of other “daylighting” projects happening in the United States (and one of likely hundreds around the world). If you’re itching to learn more, you can read about some United States daylighting projects in this paper by the National Park Service, which highlights five such projects, and references over a dozen more.

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