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Captain Maher's Job: Is the Hudson River Safe?



Captain Maher's Job: Is the Hudson River Safe?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.42

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    storm-water, wastewater, sewage, milky, substance, based, diarrhea, rashes, immediately, unsafe, describe, increase, shoreline, such, amount, better
     content words:    Captain Maher, Hudson River, Henry Hudson, General Motors


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Captain Maher's Job: Is the Hudson River Safe?
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Captain Maher has a special job. He goes up and down the Hudson River almost five days a week. He doesn't run a ferry. He doesn't take people on vacation. Instead, he's part of a science team that studies the water.
 
2     It has been more than 400 years since Henry Hudson took his trip on what was to become the Hudson River. Has the river changed at all? Yes, it has, but not necessarily for the better. For many years, things people did put lots of waste into the Hudson River. Around forty years ago, some clean water laws began. Those laws have made some of the water cleaner, but it still has a very long road ahead of it.
 
3     Captain Maher thinks the river is hurt by a few things. Some of these are what was put in the river in the past and old storm water treatment systems. The building of new homes along the water and climate change also hurt. How clean the water is makes such a difference to people that Captain Maher is asked every day if the Hudson is clean enough to swim in. It's an important question. The answer changes based on the day and where he is on the river. Some areas are never safe to swim in. Other areas can be very good one day but very bad the next. People who really know the river know to stay out after it has rained, just in case raw sewage has been washed in. Where does the sewage come from? Much of it is dumped because of the old wastewater treatment plants. In fact, that adds up to billions of gallons.

Paragraphs 4 to 10:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Extended Activities:

1.  Research five interesting things about Henry Hudson.

2.  Create a poster telling people to keep the Hudson River clean.

3.  Find out what the old General Motors plants did to the Hudson River.

4.  Create a model riverboat.

5.  Find out which fish used to be in the Hudson River but now there aren't many left.

6.  Find out whether a pond, lake, or river in your area is clean or not.



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