The glorious Hudson! No river in the United States has been more loved, nurtured, ridiculed and defended, and more often written off for dead. The Hudson is replete with legends and lacks only one about a raft with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn; but its ownmaybe more fantastic. To native Americans it was the wondrous Muhheakunnuk, "great waters constantly in motion" or "the river that flows both ways." To the Dutch settlers of the valley it was a fertile wonderland, with many legends emerging from their lives and travels in the Hudson Valley and surrounding forests, fields, and mountains. Beneath the noisy bowlers that, according to legend, caused the thunderclaps atop Storm King Mountain, lay the sirenic fairies luring ships to the rocky shores of the Hudson Highlands, sending them to the deep watery grave of World's End. It is a river that held the key to the geographic unification of the nascent American revolutionary colonies and also the place where great environmental controversies led to a modern-day sturm und drang, giving birth to an era of environmental activism. If this is too burdensome a legacy to bear, the Hudson also gives us its lightness of being: A fall day in a kayak or a ferry ride, or a refreshing swim, or even a big fish to catch. The Hudson valley has produced the greatest school of landscape painting in America and a host of novels with a strong sense of place, from those of Washington Irving to T. C. Boyle.
Many of us have desperately wanted a book that could address a crucial and more concrete need. The many scientific faces of Hudson River research have never been gathered effectively in a single place. Some excellent volumes have captured the natural history of the Hudson and we especially have Robert Boyle to thank for his dedication to the Hudson in his 1969 volume "The Hudson River, A Natural and Unnatural History." Equally important is the more scientifically inclined treatment of Hudson River research compiled by Karin Limburg and others in 1986. This book set a high standard, but lacks many recent important findings.
With this background we sought to provide a comprehensive volume that covers a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from the physics of water movement, to the biology, to the current environmental problems created by human impacts on the Hudson. In 1998 I approached the Hudson River Foundation with such an idea, which was met with considerable enthusiasm and led to the pleasure of contacting a group of broad-thinking and highly competent colleagues who engaged the project with similar zeal. I later asked John Waldman to join me in editing this large and diverse array of contributions. Of the senior authors of the thirty chapters in this book, I can honestly say that virtually no one who was invited turned me down. All recognized the need for this book, but perhaps some had different schedules than others for completion. Hence, the invitations in 1999 were finally answered with the last typescripts in 2003. All but one were created de novo to fit the volume. The only exception is a very important paper (Baker et al., Chapter 24) describing the science behind the Poly-chlorinated Biehenyl (PCB) issue in the Hudson, which is reprinted here with slight modifications.
This book couldnot have been produced without the generous support of the Hudson River Foundation, which provided some support for me to design the scope of the volume and to contact prospective authors. I am especially grateful to the authors who so generously contributed their time and energy to producing the chapters that comprise the book. Clay Hiles and Dennis Suszkowski provided advice and support and provided crucial contacts and suggestions of chapter authors. We thank Susan
Detwiler and Peggy Rote for their preparation of the volume. Finally, we are very grateful to Kirk Jensen, formerly of Cambridge University Press, for his suggestions, support and encouragement and to Peter Gordon of Cambridge Press who completed the project.
I would especially like to thank John Waldman for joining me as an editor of this volume and we both are grateful to the patience and support of our families during the long time during which this bookreached completion. I learnedmore andmore every day I walked the shore with Cady.
Jeffrey Levinton Stony Brook, New York June 20, 2005
Richard F. Bopp*, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY12180, email: [email protected]
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