"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy

Monday, April 23, 2018

Harbor Seal Spotted Sunbathing In Gowanus This Past Week-End

Harbor Seal sunning in the 4th Street Basin of the Gowanus Canal this past Sunday.
(photo credit: Jason Deleon)
photos courtesy of Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club

It seems that all creatures big and small enjoyed yesterday's picture perfect spring day.
The Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 was alerted to the presence of a Harbor Seal in the Gowanus Canal near Whole Foods on Sunday morning when a local resident sent a photo to the agency. The animal was sunbathing on top of equipment that had been moved into the 4th Street Turning Basin as part of a Dredging & Capping Pilot Project related to the Superfund clean-up of the canal.
Members of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club confirmed the sighting with an additional photo.
A seal in the heavily polluted canal is a rarity for sure. As we all know, the canal was declared a Federal Superfund site, an 'honor' reserved for the most contaminated places in the country.

In an email to the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, E.P.A. Community Involvement Coordinator Natalie Loney wrotes:
"Just wanted everyone to know that EPA reached out to the Riverhead Foundation on Sunday morning after the seal was spotted sunning on the floating dock in the 4th Street Turning Basin. (Pic attached) We were informed that if the animal was not in obvious distress it should be left alone. Apparently, harbor seals are very adept at navigating into and out of these types of channels/canals.
Moving forward, any additional sightings should be reported to the Riverhead Foundation. However, action is unlikely if the animal is not in obvious distress."

The Foundation's 24 hour hotline number is 631-369-9829.


John Longbow said...

I studied marine biology when I was younger and am alarmed to read this story. Harbor seals like this one are commonly called Sea Dogs because they are pack animals. Unlike grey seals (which this definitely isn't, you can tell from the v-shaped nostrils), harbor seals are almost never away from their "pods," and if they are they travel in small groups. I'm very surprised at the EPA's response here. It was only a week ago that Katia posted photos of those sewer "floatables" in the same spot! I hate to bring down what's sure to be a fun comments section with bad news, but this seal is most likely not sunning itself, it is lost and disoriented from the complete lack of Shanghainese restaurants in our neighborhood.

billio said...

lololol John Longbrow

Anonymous said...

Clearly not a seal of approval

MrsSam said...

Greetings Katia,

That poor seal! Even if the poor thing isn’t lost or disoriented, I can’t imagine it will be okay swimming in the Gowanus.