Video: Dolphin pod escorts NYPD boat through harbor

“Harbor personnel were able to capture a quick video of some of New York City’s holiday tourists,” the department joked

By Alison Cutler
Miami Herald

NEW YORK — A pod of friendly dolphins had a run-in with the New York City Police Department’s harbor patrol on Dec. 19, garnering thousands of views online.

At least five dolphins in the pod pulled up to the boat on Flushing Bay in Queens and swam alongside the boat, NYPD Special Operations posted on Twitter.

“Harbor personnel were able to capture a quick video of some of New York City’s holiday tourists, a dolphin pod,” the department joked.

While the city has had dolphin sightings in the past, most of them happen when the water is warmer, according to WPIX. The average water temperature for the bay in December sits around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some commenters said they were glad to see dolphins anywhere near the harbor, considering its history with pollutants and runoff.

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“Must mean the water is cleaner!” one user wrote.

It’s no secret that the bay has had challenges, considering its proximity to the city.

“Urbanization of the Flushing Bay watershed brought increased population, increased pollutants from sewage and industry, construction of sewer systems, and physical changes affecting the surface topography and imperviousness of the watershed,” the City of New York states on its website about the bay. “Consequently, the area has experienced a significant increase in the amount of runoff discharged to the water body.”

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection announced a $34 million dredging project to improve the health of the waterway and reduce significant nuisance odors in 2017.

Despite the pollution, tourists and locals can spot a variety of sea creatures on a good day in the waters, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Bottlenose dolphins, Risso dolphins and pilot whales can be found around the south shore of Long Island, and harbor porpoises can be spotted in New York bays, estuaries and the Long Island Sound.

“Marine mammals face many threats today with wide-spread and significant impacts. Threats like water quality, marine debris, and noise can be difficult to mitigate because of the high number of sources,” the department reports. “These threats often overlap and result in a cumulative impact, or multiple threats occurring simultaneously with unknown effects on the population’s health.”

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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