Construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York is causing concern among environmentalists who aim to protect the Atlantic Sturgeon population in the surrounding Hudson River. The prehistoric fish, known for its caviar supplementation, are being killed at a rapid rate as a result of the construction boats that work on the bridge. As this issue unfolds, it is a reminder to always maintain New York Construction Insurance to protect your firm against an array of potential hurdles.
Riverkeeper, a Hudson River environmental group, reported 76 known fatalities of the sturgeon population between 2012 and 2014, during the construction of the bridge. The three years prior, only six were reported. Each death is investigated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (D.E.C.) as they are a protected species.
Although the D.E.C. denies the allegations against the construction vehicles causing sturgeon deaths, Riverkeeper emphasizes the nature of the death of these fish is a result of blunt trauma including severed heads and deep slashes, presumably from boat propellers.
The Thruway Authority has acknowledged the environmental concerns and assured that they have assembled a team to ensure the protection of the sturgeon population. For example, they limited the work during spawning and migration months and have required contractors to use special equipment to reduce underwater noise. Vibrating hammers and muffling equipment, known more commonly as “bubble curtains,” were put in place to avoid killing the noise sensitive fish. What’s more, Riverkeeper is pressing for propeller cages on the boats and enforcing a 5 mile-per-hour speed limit for boats working on the bridge.
John Lipscomb, Riverkeeper’s boat captain, stated “Seeing that such a large percentage of dead sturgeon have been struck by a vessel, slowing down all vessels in the construction zone would appear to a practical, immediate precaution.”
Although the construction site’s practices are being evaluated to take the necessary precautions, environmental groups stress importance of protecting the species, especially as they are slow to reproduce and only spawn every one to five years. Litigation Clinic spokesperson Daniel E. Estrin sums up the issue by stating “This is do-or-die time for the Atlantic sturgeon. The numbers are pretty damning.”
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