Manhattan WetLands & WildLife Association
North Cove, Sherman Creek, & "Three Sister Coves"
  Stewardship - Science - Rehabilitation - Restoration - Education  
International-Flyway Tidal-Estuary Restoration
Four-Cove Complex on Harlem River, NYC, NY, USA
U.S. EPA Endorses Steward : James A. Cataldi "Birdman of Inwood"


Manhattan WetLands & WildLife Association 




Under stewardship of Cataldi, exec dir. of Manhattan Wetlands & Wildlife (M- WA squared)

Winter home 2014, migrations stop in winter for waterfowl, (geese and ducks)


Jan 2014. V1

North Cove is today, is an amazingly rare and non replaceable treasure.   Hiding in plain sight, this environmental jewel in the rough again this winter teaming with life. In the winter months serves as a southern most migration point and winter home to many waterfowl, preparing for the migration north in spring.  As we are developing techniques to promote migration instincts, using scientific based methodologies refines over the years at north cove.

image.jpegWinter home 2014, polar vortex making this winter more challenging than past years


The North Cove is a cloistered inlet on the West Bank of the Harlem River, and located on the eastern edge of Upper Manhattan, where a Native American Village one stood as late as the 1600s.    The Cove, block 2189, lot 50 is a 1.73 archer property primarily consisting of an un vegetated mud flat, however also includes a small parking lot along the west edge and the remains of 208th street along the Northern edge of the property line..     

image.jpegWinter home 2014, much as it might have looked 400 years ago


Today Inwood North Cove still a bit of a surprising hidden secret habitat just off the 'beaten path' on the western edge of Harlem River; and visited by approximately 1,000 visitors, conveniently accessible by car, bus and NYC subway.  People who knew the prior condition of the cove will be pleasantly surprised by the improved environmental conditions and almost overwhelming return of wild and feral life they will experience. 

This partially submerged site is under water at high tide and land at low tide, is federally protected water frontage, with uncommon tidal action.  This tidal action provides different fresh river and ocean salt water mixing, depending on whether the ocean water has backed up into the River.   

image.jpegWinter home 2014, 5 degree temps turn North Cove into a sheet of glass 


The speed of current of the Harlem River adjacent to the North Cove at low tide is a little over 3 knots, making the conditions ideal for natural habitat conditions as well community benefits, today not yet realized.  However this swift narrow river passage is dangerous when combined with the water traffic like the circle line, and therefore not safe for anybody but the best human powered boat ehnthusiastics.  Therefore not a responsible selection for a human powered boat house, or pier.   Making the Inwood North Cove an Ideal choice for a wildlife reserve, especially when combined with the fact the property is in a commercial industrial zone away from residential homes, and restricted access to the River shoreline.

image.jpegWinter home 2014, North Cove is a medical check point along east coast migration path

In the winter months especially, the waters around the North Cove teaming with life- flighted, terrestrial, and aquatic migratory wildlife. North Cove is a major south landing area of the winter migrating water fowl, as the egrets, and Herron have headed from their summer home (and move between North Cove and the four sister cove up and down stream) to around Florida.    This is the third winter a peregrine falcon has returned to the North Cove.

image.jpegWinter home 2014, male protecting his family on watch


North Cove is owned by the people, and under the stewardship of Manhattan Wetlands and Wildlife Association headed up by the EPA awarding, state licensed wildlife rehabilator steward - James the birdman Cataldi (Environmental Quality award 2012). 

image.jpeg 2014, predators & prey love side by side, goose treated for broken hip & released 


North Cove serves a vital role as a rare local non-developed estuarial mud flat, and local migration land/ water habitat on the North American east-coast migration fly-way. (part of the migration path from the southern tip of South America to the Arctic Circle).

 NYC Inwood North Cove, the three sister coves, and the Sherman Creek 'Greater Complex' is a natural resource for migration and for citizens and tourists to connect with terra, water, wetlands, nature and the community at large.

Winter home 2014, female (bottom) & mate (above) floating on a sheet of ice

Our monitoring and research shows, the Inwood North Cove Wildlife Sanctuary, supports over 80 species of native and international migratory birds, and other life forms through the year, inc. blue and fiddler crabs, turtles like snapping turtle, mollusks, many species of river fish, ocean eels, and aquatic invertebrates, sizable flocks of mallard and more rare species of ducks, Canada and other geese species, sand pipers, river crows; and several kinds of heron, king fishers, egrets, muskrats, raccoon, opossum, feral, and Red Tail Hawks, American Kestrel (smallest American falcon) and paragon falcons. (many migratory)

Many know/speak of the seals along the Hudson River, however few yet know that ocean seals have been seen relaxing at North Cove; as "tide" riding ocean seals, along with ocean els. These facts make it easy to enjoy and attract people for all ages.  (tourists and New Yorkers alike).  Hope to see you soon and frequently with your friends and families.

Winter home 2014, male mallards w green heads attracting prey, females, brown to hide 

The North Cove videos on this page is/are stored and displayed as live data in an un edited form in YouTube videos.  These feeds so the cove at various times a few years back now.   Today the cove with over 1300 cubic years removed look much improved.  On 05/02/2012 there are less than a dozen Canada Goose residents; today in early in early December there are about 500 ducks and 700 or so geese who frequent the cove on a typical day.

Winter home 2014, late afternoon at Harlem River North Cove

 the videos below show many winter, and appear to  migrate, increasingly using the Inwood's North Cove as a "Landing Pad" on this International fly way, and either a winter or summer home, depending on the species.   

Today,  north cove and it's spring source managed as a Wildlife Reserve, with a active wildlife conservancy program, including monitoring health, and providing or growing food stuffs to ensure ideal health as well, maintain clean up, and plant care, which is seasonal.   MWAWA also monitors in water quality testing and in the past participated in a larger EPA standards compliant water testing program. 

Winter home 2014, water fowl moving between five Harlem River Coves meet up at NC

In addition to public events and internship programming, and daily and nightly protection, monitoring and husbandry, and a comprehensive wildlife and feral conservancy program, MWAWA is actively involved with clean up, restoration and enhancement. This includes detailed record keeping including of migrating species as part of a migratory wildlife study Wildlife-WetLands Reserve along the east coast: Internationally Protected Tidal-Estuary Fly-Way Complex.

Winter home 2014, female mallard duck, (below), male mate above & to right 


MWAWA to date has  paid all the expenses required for the ecological restoration of the area; it was a massive garbage dump, a source of contaminant leaching into the soil, marsh bed, and river water.  Such conditions contributed to low oxygen levels and extensive degradation of North Cove.  The clean-up also positively addressed the extensive sedimentation and soil nutrient loss in the federally protected marsh zones of the East River.  MUWA is committed to continue its work unless directed to stop. 

image.jpegWinter home 2014, ice on bodies at temps around 4 degrees, tuck feet into feathers 

Past and current efforts at North Cove include:

  • remove extensive amounts of glass and glass shards
  • remove metal bars, cables, and other obstacles risking wildlife breaking limbs
  • provide paths and exit points to evade predators like area pit bulls and feral cats
  • remove rotting garbage
  • monitor and protect against future illegal dumping as had been the case for several decades
  • remove needles from drug addicts as this lot was a heroine shanty town a decade ago
  • remove motor oil from water near the shore
  • remove invasive vegetation which crowded out the eatable vegetation for the water fowl
  • arrange for spaying and medical treatment of several feral cats
  • extensive research into the biology, history and laws pertaining to the estuary
  • initiate a feral cat trap-spay-release and feeding program
  • work closely with area business owners and citizens to identify, stop and clean up transmission or heavy oil dumping; clean up contamination, including removal of soil and water skimming before illegal practices permanently poison ecosystem and inhabitants (supplementing food and water sources during high risk period) 

image.jpegWinter home 2014, typically waterfowl migrate below ice line, temps colder than normal

After one year of research, planning, and physical effort (including removal of over 350 dumpsters of garbage and clearing invasive vegetation), North Cove is starting to recover from:  

  • decades of soil erosion
  • arson
  • illegal point source pollution, including transmission oil dumping
  • uncontrolled person (squatters) access
  • uncontrolled vehicle access
  • illegal environmental damaging garbage dumping
  • invasion of non-native plant
  • undirected foot traffic


Winter home 2014, birds who typically fight, stay close in harsh wintering conditions 
    Inwood's North Cove Fund-Drive
    Jump to INCove Donation Store : direct how your donation is spent
    inwood's north cove is a weak environment, and so it still requires human support to support wildlife

    Express PayPal Donation Button

    Goal : 'boot-strap' (rescue) a virtual, self-sustainable, 
    perfectly contiguous & diversified 'NYC Sanctuary Complex' 


    North Cove Project - Progress Report


    North Cove Project - NYC - Progress Report - April 24, 2012

    Inwood's North Cove - Images - A -> D

    Inwood's North Cove - Raw Data (video clips) - A -> D

    Wisdom for guidance from our Elders

    There is a great deal of controversy surrounding Chief Seattle's speech of 1854. There are many sources of information, various versions of the speech, and debates over its very existence.

    Please see the links at the end of the speech. 

    A multimedia presentation, interpreted and narrated by Wes Felty

    Chief Seattle’s reply to a Government offer to purchase the remaining Salish lands:

    A multimedia presentation, interpreted and narrated by Wes Felty:

    Audio only (737k MP3)

    Version 1 (below) appeared in the Seattle Sunday Star on Oct. 29, 1887, in a column by Dr. Henry A. Smith.

    "CHIEF SEATTLE'S 1854 ORATION" - ver . 1


    Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change. Today is fair. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds. My words are like the stars that never change. Whatever Seattle says, the great chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons. The white chief says that Big Chief at Washington sends us greetings of friendship and goodwill. This is kind of him for we know he has little need of our friendship in return. His people are many. They are like the grass that covers vast prairies. My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain. The great, and I presume -- good, White Chief sends us word that he wishes to buy our land but is willing to allow us enough to live comfortably. This indeed appears just, even generous, for the Red Man no longer has rights that he need respect, and the offer may be wise, also, as we are no longer in need of an extensive country.

    There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory. I will not dwell on, nor mourn over, our untimely decay, nor reproach my paleface brothers with hastening it, as we too may have been somewhat to blame.

    Youth is impulsive. When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint, it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel and relentless, and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them. Thus it has ever been. Thus it was when the white man began to push our forefathers ever westward. But let us hope that the hostilities between us may never return. We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Revenge by young men is considered gain, even at the cost of their own lives, but old men who stay at home in times of war, and mothers who have sons to lose, know better.

    Our good father in Washington--for I presume he is now our father as well as yours, since King George has moved his boundaries further north--our great and good father, I say, sends us word that if we do as he desires he will protect us. His brave warriors will be to us a bristling wall of strength, and his wonderful ships of war will fill our harbors, so that our ancient enemies far to the northward -- the Haidas and Tsimshians -- will cease to frighten our women, children, and old men. Then in reality he will be our father and we his children. But can that ever be? Your God is not our God! Your God loves your people and hates mine! He folds his strong protecting arms lovingly about the paleface and leads him by the hand as a father leads an infant son. But, He has forsaken His Red children, if they really are His. Our God, the Great Spirit, seems also to have forsaken us. Your God makes your people wax stronger every day. Soon they will fill all the land. Our people are ebbing away like a rapidly receding tide that will never return. The white man's God cannot love our people or He would protect them. They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help. How then can we be brothers? How can your God become our God and renew our prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness? If we have a common Heavenly Father He must be partial, for He came to His paleface children. We never saw Him. He gave you laws but had no word for His red children whose teeming multitudes once filled this vast continent as stars fill the firmament. No; we are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies. There is little in common between us.

    To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground. You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret. Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget. The Red Man could never comprehend or remember it. Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors -- the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.

    Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.

    Day and night cannot dwell together. The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the White Man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun. However, your proposition seems fair and I think that my people will accept it and will retire to the reservation you offer them. Then we will dwell apart in peace, for the words of the Great White Chief seem to be the words of nature speaking to my people out of dense darkness.

    It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days. They will not be many. The Indian's night promises to be dark. Not a single star of hope hovers above his horizon. Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance. Grim fate seems to be on the Red Man's trail, and wherever he will hear the approaching footsteps of his fell destroyer and prepare stolidly to meet his doom, as does the wounded doe that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter.

    A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours. But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We will see.

    We will ponder your proposition and when we decide we will let you know. But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch. Our departed braves, fond mothers, glad, happy hearted maidens, and even the little children who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season, will love these somber solitudes and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits. And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.

    Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds.

    More sources of information:

    Source :
    Inwood's North Cove
    9th Avenue
    New York, 10034

    To get there, take the 1 train to 207th Street. 
    Walk east on 207th Street (toward the Bronx) 
    and then turn left onto Ninth Avenue. 
    Walk north on Ninth Avenue to the end.

    For photo directions, see Map-Page of Blog site

    Show on Google Maps

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    Restoration Progress - Stewardship - Science - Rehabilitation - Restoration - Education -- NYC