22. Haverstraw Bay's Fertile Shallows
South of the Highlands, the Hudson River spreads out at Haverstraw Bay and the Tappan Zee. Three and a half miles across, Haverstraw Bay is the widest spot on the estuary. Its expanses of shallow water capture lots of sunlight, energizing the growth of tiny drifting organisms called plankton. Those capable of photosynthesis - algae, for example - are called phytoplankton. The lengthening days and warming waters of spring allow phytoplankton populations to grow rapidly, providing food for tiny drifting animals called zooplankton. The abundance of zooplankton in the shallows makes these areas ideal nurseries for hungry newborn fish.