Thursday, December 30, 2010

Again: Four Sparrow Marsh under developement habitat threat

4 Sparrow Marsh is at the north border of Floyd Bennett Field, separated by Mill Basin , very near Kings Plaza Mall, and adjacent to the TOYS R US store.

For info on 4 Sparrow Marsh, see this link , look for the "hotspot"

and    (includes a PDF map)

 I previously wrote a letter about 8 years ago against development the first time. Apparently , the threat is back again. Well, it looks like the city wants to make more $ on open green tracts..Brooklyn possesses a big bulls eye... : (

from the NYC Economic Development Council website

The issue :

Positive Declaration and Public Scoping

Kings County (Brooklyn) - The New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Four Sparrows Retail Center at Mill Basin may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared. A public scoping session will be held on January 1, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at the Kings Plaza Community Room, 5100 Kings Plaza at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U. The action involves the proposed development of an approximately 15 acre retail center that would contain a 110,000 square foot of retail automotive sales and service center, a 45,000 square foot existing Toys 'R' Us toy store and up to approximately 138,000 square foot of commercial retail development which would be known as the Four Sparrow Retail Center at Mill Basin. The project which would include approximately 820 accessory parking spaces would be located on currently under utilized City-owned land fronting on Flatbush Avenue between the Belt Parkway interchange and about 0.5 miles south of Avenue U. The project would also include the mapping of the 46 acre Four Sparrows Marsh as City parkland and the creation of an approximately 400 foot public trail. This would protect natural features and connect the natural area with a high quality retail center. The project requires approvals from the New York City Planning Commission including: rezoning of the development site from C3 to C8-1; demapping and disposition of an unbuilt segment of Flatbush Avenue and Marginal Street, Wharf or Place that crosses the site; disposition of the proposed site to three private entities and Mayoral approval of the business terms pursuant to Section 385(b)(4) of the City Charter; Special Permit pursuant to ZR Section 62-836 to modify height and setback regulations on a waterfront block; certification of the site plan on a waterfront block pursuant to ZR Section 62-811; certification of a zoning lot subdivision pursuant to ZR Section 62-812; and mapping of the Four Sparrows Marsh as City parkland.

Related actions include approvals from New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to traffic signals, site storm water and sewer drainage, tidal wetlands and construction in navigable waters, respectively.

The project is located at 2875 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.

Contact: Douglas Rice, New York City Economic Development Corporation, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038, Phone: (212) 312-3750, E-mail:


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Floyd Bennett Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations doc release

The Blue Ribbon panel on Floyd Bennett's future has been publicized today  12/22. See the link



And the posting to the list serves of the RPA email received ( Comments welcomed)
Dear birders and environmentalists:

The Floyd Bennett Field issue has resurfaced with draft recommendations put forward by the Blue Ribbon Panel.

I received this latest email today if you wished to submit comments. The primary issue for us birders is to protect the grassland habitats, particularly the core interior and the runways within those grasslands. Any "developement " should be kept to the buildings themselves and the outer perimeter. ( and I prefer all interior runways blocked off as a tradeoff; Last weekend, I found a convoy of 30 NYC Sanitation Trucks roaring up and down on the restricted closed off runway along the North Forty tract which likely they had no permission on Federal property.)

Based on research I have done, out of 216 species recorded on Cornell's ebird since 2003 , 68 Floyd Bennett species recorded are deemed "Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation out of the 118 SGCN species list for NYS.So all the urgency to protect this fragile Floyd Bennett grassland habitat.

this is an excerpt from my letter to the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in October

"Further evidence of Floyd Bennett’s rich diversity and as a critical refuge for birds is found on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) “Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) “ table (

Of 118 NYSDEC SGCN bird species, 68 were recorded at Floyd Bennett (correlated with the Cornell Ebird data since 2003). Interestingly, among SGCN is Buff-breasted Sandpiper I mentioned in my last paragraph. This means 58% of NYSDEC SGCN species are found here, on the old runways, grasslands, bordering pine forest and maritime forest in the “North Forty section”, which makes Floyd Bennett a very exceptional bird sanctuary it is."


Peter Dorosh


Brooklyn Bird Club

-----Original Message-----

From: Maya Borgenicht

To: Maya Borgenicht

Sent: Wed, Dec 22, 2010 12:21 pm

Subject: Floyd Bennett Field Blue Ribbon Panel Draft Recommendations Available


Thank you for your interest in Floyd Bennett Field. The Blue Ribbon Panel is

currently preparing recommendations for their final report. Public input

continues to be vital to our process and we would welcome your comments on these

preliminary draft recommendations.

Please go to the Panel's website, to download the draft

recommendations. If you would like to comment, please respond before January

21st, 2011. We will also be sending a reminder in early January for those who

miss this notification over the holidays.


Marian S. Heiskell Deborah Shanley

Panel Co-Chair Panel Co-Chair

Maya Borgenicht

Research Associate - Regional Plan Association

Director of Public Programs - Governors Island Alliance

4 Irving Place, 7th Floor

New York, NY 10003

Phone: 917.652.6359

Fax: 212.253.5666

twitter @govisalliance=

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Preserve Plum Island

See the attached link regarding the wild island off the north fork tip ( Orient Point) and sign the petition.

Bald Eagles on the rise..good news

Associated Press report issued 12/15

Record number of eagles counted at Pa. sanctuary

KEMPTON, Pa. (AP) — Bird-watchers at a ridgetop preserve in eastern Pennsylvania counted a record number of migrating bald eagles this fall, another sign of the species' remarkable comeback following a century of decline.

The huge flight of 404 eagles smashed the old record of 245 set two years ago at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, which has kept an annual tally of migrating hawks, eagles and falcons since its founding 76 years ago as the world's first refuge for birds of prey.

As the autumn raptor count at Hawk Mountain drew to a close Wednesday, sanctuary biologists and birding enthusiasts alike cheered what Keith Bildstein, the sanctuary's director of conservation science, recently called "possibly the greatest wildlife success story of our time."

The U.S. population of bald eagles suffered a steep decline between the 1870s and 1970s, first due to habitat destruction and hunting, and later because of the widespread use of DDT. The pesticide accumulated in fish, a major food source for eagles, and resulted in eagles laying eggs with weakened shells that broke during incubation.

By 1963, there were only 417 breeding pairs left in the lower 48 states.

They also were an extreme rarity at Hawk Mountain, which is situated along a major Appalachian flyway for migratory birds known as the Kittatinny Ridge. The low point came in 1975, when counters spotted only 13 bald eagles the entire fall.

"One of our members always used to bring champagne in hopes we would see one," said veteran bird-watcher Catherine Elwell, who has been visiting Hawk Mountain since the early 1970s. She said "great cheers would rise up" on North Lookout — an outcropping where the official count takes place — whenever an eagle was overhead.

The bald eagle began a gradual recovery after it was listed on the federal Endangered Species list in 1967, and DDT was banned in the U.S. five years later. There are now more than 10,000 pairs, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The eagle was removed from the list in 2007.

"This has been just the most remarkable recovery, and I don't think many of us thought it would happen," said Elwell, 68, of Alburtis.

Bald eagle numbers have risen steadily at Hawk Mountain, with a 10-year average of 235.

This year's count included one superlative day in late August, when research biologist David Barber tallied 36 eagles — 31 of them after 3 p.m., and 14 of those in a single hour. It was the second-highest single-day flight in Hawk Mountain's history.

"We just kept looking at each other, like, where are all these eagles coming from?" he recalled Wednesday.

Where indeed. While 2010 might turn out to be a statistical anomaly, senior monitoring biologist Laurie Goodrich, who coordinates the annual count at Hawk Mountain, speculates that a number of factors came together to make this year like no other.

The weather cooperated, with plenty of days of northwesterly winds that helped push migrants closer to the ridgetop. An increase in the number of breeding pairs in the Northeastern United States may also have contributed: Local eagles are territorial, pushing migrants from Canada farther south.

The record flight might simply reflect that there are more eagles than ever before.

Whatever the reason, Goodrich said, "It's something we can celebrate, as bird-watchers and as scientists."

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Governor Paterson sign Executive Order on Hydrofracking

Catskill Mountainkeeper BREAKING NEWS

December 11, 2010


In an amazing victory for the citizens of New York State, Governor David A. Paterson has issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest. New York State becomes the first state to have a formal prohibition on high volume horizontal hydrofacking because of concerns about environmental impacts. Regretablly instead of signing the "Moratorium Bill" legislation sent to him that included a prohibition on vertical hyrdofracking that was passed by on overwhelming bi partisan majority in both houses of the State government he decided instead to succumb to industry pressure and issue the Executive Order that eliminates vertical wells from the prohibition. While the Executive Order is historic and proves that our concerns over hydrofracking are legitimate it is also a disappointment because vertical wells are also dangerous.

The gas and oil industry lobby deliberately misinterpreted a section of the Moratorium Bill claiming it would bring all gas drilling in New York State to a halt. The bill only specified a moratorium on drilling for wells using hydrofracking, whether they are vertically or horizontally drilled.

A moratorium banning the fracking of vertical wells is very important for several reasons:

1. Gas companies have been clear that they plan to drill vertical wells in the Utica and Marcellus shale with the intention of converting them to horizontal wells.

2. While the State Senate was considering a two-year moratorium on horizontal wells the gas industry threatened to drill and frack 16 vertical wells every square mile in retribution if a moratorium on fracked horizontal wells was passed.

3. Some of the worst water contamination problems, such as in Dimock, PA came from vertical wells drilled and fractured in the Marcellus Shale.

We now look to Governor Elect Andrew Cuomo to protect the Citizens of New York from the dangers of hydro fracking by any method including vertical drilling and horizontal drilling and including all shale formations.


To embed this news release, copy the code below and paste it into your website or blog. Preview

Governor Paterson Issues Executive Order on Hydraulic Fracturing

by New York State Office of the Governor

ALBANY, NY (12/11/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson has issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest. This should allay any fears that high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling under study by DEC will commence without assurances of safety.

"We in government must always focus on protecting the well-being of those whom we represent and serve, but we also have an obligation to look to the future and protect the long-term interests for our State and its residents," Governor Paterson said. "Therefore, I am proud to issue this Executive Order, which will guarantee that before any high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing is permitted, the Department of Environmental Conversation will complete its studies and certify that such operations are safe."

Permits for high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing can not be issued until the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completes a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), which is currently being developed. As a result, there is already in place a de-facto moratorium on such permits.

The Governor issued the Executive Order contemporaneously with his veto of S.8129-B/A.11443-B, which would have suspended the issuance of new oil and gas drilling permits through May 15, 2011, including all conventional, low-volume, vertical oil and gas wells.

"This legislation, which was well intentioned, would have a serious impact on our State if signed into law. Enacting this legislation would put people out of work - work that is permitted by the Department of Environmental Conservation and causes no demonstrated environmental harm, in order to effectuate a moratorium that is principally symbolic," Governor Paterson said. "Symbols can have great importance, but particularly in our current terrible economic straits, I cannot agree to put individuals out of work for a symbolic act."

"I am sympathetic to the sponsors' desire to protect the environment and public health, and I respect the concerns that produced this legislation," the Governor continued. "But this legislation does not accomplish this purpose, since the activities at the heart of the moratorium are not currently taking place, and would not take place until well after the legislation's proposed moratorium."

The bill goes well beyond high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing and effectively would result in a moratorium on all new oil and gas well drilling in this State. The cessation of such new activity, even for a limited period, would have substantial negative financial consequences for the State, local governments, landowners and small businesses involved in conventional oil and gas production.

The Division of the Budget estimates that the bill would cause a substantial reduction in State revenues from the loss of permit fees and tax revenue. With a $315 million budget gap in the current fiscal year, and a projected gap of over $9 billion in the 2011-12 State fiscal year, New York simply cannot afford to send hundreds and perhaps thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in capital investment to Pennsylvania and other states to our south.


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Catskill Mountainkeeper is an independent, not for profit, 501c3 community based environmental advocacy organization, dedicated to creating a flourishing sustainable economy in the Catskills and preserving and protecting the area's long term health. We address issues of water integrity for the Delaware and Susquehanna River Systems, the defense of the vast woodlands that encompass the Catskill Forest Preserve and the New York City Watershed as well as farmland protection. We promote "smart" development that balances the economic needs and concerns of the Catskill regions' citizens and the protection of our abundant but exceedingly vulnerable natural resources.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Biodiversity planning in NYC and PLANYC Plan

From: Marielle Anzelone

To: Marielle Anzelone

Sent: Wed, Dec 8, 2010 10:13 pm

Subject: Biodiversity & PlaNYC thru 12/31 only!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Biodiversity is now on the radar of both City Council and the Mayor’s Office. Our collective input can shape how biodiversity is addressed by New York City government in future.

Last month, I was privileged to give testimony before NYC Council regarding 4 bills on invasive species and sustainable landscapes:

I also had the pleasure of meeting with the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability (responsible for PlaNYC). Biodiversity is a priority, but its inclusion is not a guarantee. They are open to suggestions only through December. *Revisions for PlaNYC 2.0 start in January!*

Please consider letting them know that NYC's nature is a crucial consideration by:

Attending one of the last 2 community meetings:

Eastern Queens:

Thursday, December 9th, 2010** tomorrow!

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Bayside High School

32-24 Corporal Kennedy Street

South Brooklyn:

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

St. Michael’s RC Church, 352 42nd Street

Enter through auditorium on 43rd Street

2. Sign the petition and share your stories and photos about NYC nature here:

3. Text your idea to 917-791-3064 (the PLANYC mobile input unit) and fill in the blank “One idea to create a greener, greater New York City is to ____”

4. Share your comments and suggestions on my Huffington Post op-ed, “More Than Million Trees, Where is the Nature in PlaNYC?” Let me know what more we could be doing. What are biodiversity policy initiatives that you believe are working?

This is such an exciting opportunity! I hope we can make our voices heard.

Happy Holidays,



Mariellé Anzelone

Botanist & Native Plant Landscape Designer

T 646.244.9397



Executive Director & Founder

NYC Wildflower Week

4th annual - May 1-9, 2011