NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Scientists have launched a study into plant and animal life in the Bronx River, in the interest of improving the river ecosystem and eventually making the river into an attraction.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has brought in amateur and professional scientists to study the river ecosystem. There were many surprises, according to New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Bronx River administrator Linda Cox.

“We had a botanist from the New York Botanical Garden who was looking for native plants that live underwater and had some very good results – found two species that he was hoping to find, and a third that he didn’t really expect to find and was glad to find,” Cox said.

A study of the fish in the river also yielded some interesting discoveries, Cox said.

“We had people doing electrofishing to see what kind of fish they could turn up with, and they got, for example, found quite a good specimen of an eel up in the upper river – which is great to find – and other fish as well,” she said.

Those involved in the project expressed hope that the river will become known for its natural wonders.

“It could mean improving the wild habitat along the river; stabilizing the riverbanks, but also our long-term goals would also be that people, when they come to the river, they have a really wonderful encounter of nature and can enjoy nature even right in the midst of the very urban neighborhoods of the Bronx,” Cox said.

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