Updated: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 19:24:07 GMT | By Andrew Mach

Injured dolphin stranded in polluted New York City canal

An injured dolphin surfaces in the Gowanus Canal in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on Jan. 25.

An injured dolphin surfaces in the Gowanus Canal in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on Jan. 25.

An injured dolphin became stranded in Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal on Friday and authorities were working on a rescue plan. 

Live helicopter video from NBCNewYork.com showed the sea mammal bobbing up and down in the canal's murky water — which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared a Superfund site in 2010 because it contained a "century's worth" of pollutants.

The dolphin appeared to be stuck in one section of the canal, coming up occasionally for air as a New York Police Department crew worked to figure out a rescue plan. It was unclear how the creature got into the predicament. The NYPD told NBC News the dolphin is stuck in the vicinity of Union Street, between Bond Street and Nevins Street, which is at least a mile into the canal and away from the Gowanus Bay.

If the dolphin is not able to escape by itself during the Friday evening high tide, police told The Associated Press, authorities will try to help it out on Saturday.

A senior biologist at the Riverhead Foundation told NBCNewYork.com rescuers are waiting to see if the dolphin would leave on its own: "The best course of action is to see if that when the tide comes back in the animal will move back out," Robert DiGiovanni told NBCNewYork.com. "It’s giving the animal time to work the problem out before you introduce stress by intervention."

The Northeast Regional Office of the NOAA Fisheries Service confirmed to NBCNewYork.com this mammal is a short-beaked common dolphin, which is known for a dark gray cape on its back.

Witnesses said the animal appeared to be bleeding from its dorsal fin, the New York Daily News reported.

"He keeps going up and down and going from side to side and people are saying we don’t know what’s taking so long to go in there and save him," Brooklyn resident Cathy Ryan told the Daily News. "He’s in bad shape. You can tell. A dolphin is gray, but he's black right now. He was starting to swim toward the middle of the canal. But it doesn't look good."

Eight-year-old Anabell Blaine told NBCNewYork.com she hopes they get the dolphin out: "Dolphins are so beautiful."

The Gowanus canal is in Brooklyn, flanked by the Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook neighborhoods, according to NBCNewYork.com. It empties into New York Harbor.

The Environmental Protection Agency says storm water runoff, sewer outflows and industrial pollutants have made iti one of the most extensively contaminated water bodies in the U.S.

Manufactured gas plants, mills, tanneries and chemical plants are among the many facilities that operated along the canal, according to the EPA.

The EPA said the contamination in the canal poses a threat to the nearby residents who use the canal for fishing and recreation.

Bystander Vinny Internicola told the Daily News on Friday he can smell the water from his vantage point: "I can’t imagine being in there."

A day earlier, a WNBC news helicopter spotted a minke whale swimming in Gowanus Bay.

NBCNewYork.com's Gus Rosendale contributed to this story.

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