Dolphin Stranded In Brooklyn: Will It Survive In Gowanus Canal? [VIDEO]

By Staff Reporter on January 25, 2013 4:05 PM EST

Dolphin
A dolphin is trapped in the shallow, polluted waters of the Gowanus Canal. (Photo: YouTube)

New Yorkers have discovered a lot of strange things in the murky waters of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, but nothing quite like this -- a dolphin stumbled its way into the heavily polluted canal today.

The Gowanus Canal was listed as a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2009, prompting a plan to clean up the deeply polluted waters. Deeply affected by Brooklyn's industrial boom in the late 1800's, the Gowanus Canal is the nation's busiest commercial canal and its most polluted. In fact, heavy sewage flow into the canal caused the need for regular dredging in order for its waters to remain navigable.

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A spike in skyscraper development in Brooklyn has caused resulting sewage to flow into antiquated combined sewers that will certainly increase the risk of overflow when it rains. Cleanup will cost as much as half a billion dollars and take at least a decade to complete.

The dolphin was first discovered swimming in the hazardous river near the Union Street bridge today and appeared to be struggling in the 1.8-mile waterway.

WNBC deployed a helicopter for aerial footage to track the dolphin's condition. The animal bobbed along the surface of the water.

"It was swimming back and forth under the Union Street bridge when I was just out there, and then it briefly got beached because it's low tide because of the flushing pipe," said New Yorker Sasha Chavchavadze, who owns an arts center around the corner of the Union Street bridge. "I thought it was a goner because it turned upside down. But the dolphin extracted itself and started swimming again."

Locals are hoping that the high tide will eventually aid the dolphin to safety.

Be sure to take a look at the raw footage of the desperate dolphin below.

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