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Saw Mill River Cleanup Heads to Greenburgh

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- The collection of invasive vines that can be seen along the Saw Mill River are more than just an eye sore. Emily Edler, deputy program director for Groundwork Hudson Valley said they can be fatal to the trees they cover too.

“The invasive vines that you can see covering the trees along the parkway and the South County Trailway are a huge threat to the local eco system,” said Edler. “They take away natural resources that the trees need to live.”

For the third straight year Groundwork Hudson Valley will be running the Great Saw Mill River Cleanup and Vine Cutting. The cleanup will be held on Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 12 locations across the Rivertowns, including in areas such as Yonkers, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Ardsley, Pleasantville, Irvington and Greenburgh.

“In previous years it’s been all about trash and just sort of a day of action to mobilize as many people throughout the area as possible to just remove as much trash as possible and come together over river issues,” Edler said.

This year removing some of the invasive vines that line the area will be a main focus of the initiative.

“These invasive vines lay the trees down, deprive them of light and air and end up killing them so for that reason it’s vital that we get these invasive vines under control,” said MaryJane Shimsky (D - Hastings-on-Hudson).

Vines covering the trees can do more than just harm the trees, as Shimsky points to them as one of the reasons for high levels of flooding in some areas.

“We formed the Storm Water Advisory Board and as part of our work with that we called in experts to our monthly meetings to talk to us about various issues and we had a number of environmental specialists come in and talk to us about the problems with invasive vines and how they can actually be contributing to some of our storm water management problems,” Shimsky said.

Aside from the actual cleanup, Edler said she hopes an event of this size can have a lasting impact on local residents.

“(One of our goals is) also to raise awareness with a lot of people about the issues of invasive vines and give people the knowledge to do what they can to help, maybe get them more interested in the issue as a whole,” Edler said.

The major cleanup sites are along the South County Trailway at five locations, including Farragut Avenue in Hastings, Lawrence Street in Dobbs Ferry, Woodlands Lake/Great Hunger Memorial at V.E. Macy Park in Irvington, Rt. 119 behind Rini’s Restaurant in Elmsford and Odell Avenue in Yonkers. Other sites include Bridge Street Plaza near the Riviera Bakehouse in Ardsley, Pleasant Avenue at Grant Street in Pleasantville and War Memorial Field/Glen Park in Yonkers. For more information and site information visit the Groundwork Hudson Valley website .

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