Thursday, December 12, 2013

Airplanes and bird strike collision: options

Refer to the link

Monarch Butterfly recent decline

from the New York Times

New York Times; November 22, 2013; The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear; By 

ON the first of November, when Mexicans celebrate a holiday called the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned.
This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year’s low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse.
“It does not look good,” said Lincoln P. Brower, a monarch expert at Sweet Briar College.
It is only the latest bad news about the dramatic decline of insect populations.
Another insect in serious trouble is the wild bee, which has thousands of species. Nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids are implicated in their decline, but even if they were no longer used, experts say, bees, monarchs and many other species of insect would still be in serious trouble.
That’s because of another major factor that has not been widely recognized: the precipitous loss of native vegetation across the United States.
“There’s no question that the loss of habitat is huge,” said Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, who has long warned of the perils of disappearing insects. “We notice the monarch and bees because they are iconic insects,” he said. “But what do you think is happening to everything else?”
A big part of it is the way the United States farms. As the price of corn has soared in recent years, driven by federal subsidies for biofuels, farmers have expanded their fields. That has meant plowing every scrap of earth that can grow a corn plant, including millions of acres of land once reserved in a federal program for conservation purposes.
Another major cause is farming with Roundup, a herbicide that kills virtually all plants except crops that are genetically modified to survive it.
As a result, millions of acres of native plants, especially milkweed, an important source of nectar for many species, and vital for monarch butterfly larvae, have been wiped out. One study showed that Iowa has lost almost 60 percent of its milkweed, and another found 90 percent was gone. “The agricultural landscape has been sterilized,” said Dr. Brower.
The loss of bugs is no small matter. Insects help stitch together the web of life with essential services, breaking plants down into organic matter, for example, and dispersing seeds. They are a prime source of food for birds. Critically, some 80 percent of our food crops are pollinated by insects, primarily the 4,000 or so species of the flying dust mops called bees. “All of them are in trouble,” said Marla Spivak, a professor of apiculture at the University of Minnesota.
Farm fields are not the only problem. Around the world people have replaced diverse natural habitat with the biological deserts that are roads, parking lots and bluegrass lawns. Meanwhile, the plants people choose for their yards are appealing for showy colors or shapes, not for their ecological role. Studies show that native oak trees in the mid-Atlantic states host as many as 537 species of caterpillars, which are important food for birds and other insects. Willows come in second with 456 species. Ginkgo, on the other hand, which is not native, supports three species, and zelkova, an exotic plant used to replace elm trees that died from disease, supports none. So the shelves are nearly bare for bugs and birds.
Native trees are not only grocery stores, but insect pharmacies as well. Trees and other plants have beneficial chemicals essential to the health of bugs. Some monarchs, when afflicted with parasites, seek out more toxic types of milkweed because they kill the parasites. Bees use medicinal resins from aspen and willow trees that are antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral, to line their nests and to fight infection and diseases. “Bees scrape off the resins from the leaves, which is kind of awesome, stick them on their back legs and take them home,” said Dr. Spivak.
Besides pesticides and lack of habitat, the other big problem bees face is disease. But these problems are not separate. “Say you have a bee with viruses,” and they are run-down, Dr. Spivak said. “And they are in a food desert and have to fly a long distance, and when you find food it has complicated neurotoxins and the immune system just goes ‘uh-uh.’ Or they become disoriented and can’t find their way home. It’s too many stressors all at once.”
There are numerous organizations and individuals dedicated to rebuilding native plant communities one sterile lawn and farm field at a time. Dr. Tallamy, a longtime evangelizer for native plants, and the author of one of the movement’s manuals, “Bringing Nature Home,” says it’s a cause everyone with a garden or yard can serve. And he says support for it needs to develop quickly to slow down the worsening crisis in biodiversity.
When the Florida Department of Transportation last year mowed down roadside wildflowers where monarch butterflies fed on their epic migratory journey, “there was a huge outcry,” said Eleanor Dietrich, a wildflower activist in Florida. So much so, transportation officials created a new policy that left critical insect habitat un-mowed.
That means reversing the hegemony of chemically green lawns. “If you’ve got just lawn grass, you’ve got nothing,” said Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society, a leading organization in insect conservation. “But as soon as you create a front yard wildflower meadow you go from an occasional honeybee to a lawn that might be full of 20 or 30 species of bees and butterflies and monarchs.”
First and foremost, said Dr. Tallamy, a home for bugs is a matter of food security. “If the bees were to truly disappear, we would lose 80 percent of the plants,” he said. “That is not an option. That’s a huge problem for mankind.”
Jim Robbins is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of “The Man Who Planted Trees.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Eagles and Wind Industry

Subject: Eagles and Wind Industry
From: Thomas Salo 
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:38:46 -0500
X-Message-Number: 1

You may have heard the recent media reports about the feds issuing 30 
year "take" permits for wind farms. This is from a current NAS Action 

/"We must act quickly to urge Interior Secretary Jewell to reverse a 
recent decision to grant 30-year eagle permits to the wind industry. 
Newer technology and siting information is available that could pose 
less risk to birds, but the Interior's action has put Bald and Golden 
Eagles at risk/." I hope you will take the time to click on the link and 
send a letter to the Interior Secretary.

As you may know, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society recently stalled (or 
halted) a wind project in Walton, NY. For risk to eagles, we consider 
the site one of the worst places in New York to build such a project. 
During discussions with regulators, I was told USFWS was considering 
issuing a take permit for Bald Eagles for this project based on a 
fatally flawed eagle risk assessment.  I urge people to use the NAS 
action alert and/or send personalized comments. You can use the 
information on the South Mountain Wind Project below to personalize your 

If you would like detailed information about the egregious problems with 
the South Mountain Project in Walton risk assessment, feel free to 
contact me off the list.

Tom Salo

Tom Salo
5145 State Highway 51
West Burlington, NY 13482

    WIND ENERGY PROJECTS were ignored, e.g. local bird clubs and hawk
    watches were not contacted as required.
  * Local hawk watch data - readily available on both local and national
    hawk count web sites - were ignored.
  * Golden Eagle was not included in the Environmental Assessment Form
    even though the project is in a fall and spring concentration area,
    and wintering birds are regular.
  * Bald Eagles nest very close to the project and concentrate around
    the adjacent Cannonsville Reservoir in winter.
  * After being directed by regulators to contact DOAS, the Franklin
    Mountain Hawk Watch, and Golden Eagle researchers tracking
    telemetered eagles, the developers failed to do so.
  * 40% of the GPS tracked Golden Eagles in eastern North America spent
    time within 10 miles of the project area.
  * The developer hired incompetent surveyors to record raptors. No
    Broad-winged Hawks were recorded in September when they are the most
    numerous and visible raptor in the sky. Broad-winged Hawks were
    recorded in early March a month before they arrived in New York.
    These are not the only troubling data.
  * The developer failed to adequately survey peaks of the spring and
    fall Golden Eagle migration.  Only 4 days were covered in November
    2012, and only one of those days had NW winds. Only 2 days were
    covered during the first 2 weeks of March - a spring migration peak.
  * No winter surveys were done. Winter risk assessment was based upon
    their faulty migration data.


Subject: Wind Farm 30yr Permitting
From: Larry Federman 
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 11:26:43 -0500
X-Message-Number: 3

OK, the Snowies at JFK have a reprieve, thanks for all the support.  Here is a 
wider-ranging issue that needs immediate attention. There is a "Take Action" 
link in the article:

Here’s the direct link to the Action Alert:;jsessionid=93A828DA34981EB5C99FD958732790DA.app304a?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1549&autologin=true

Let’s get this spread as far and wide as possible!


Larry Federman
President, Northern Catskills Audubon Society, Inc.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Parks Dept introduces a weevil to combat Mile- A -Minute

In an effort to eradicate agressive Mile-a-Minute vines, the NYC Department of Parks introduces a weevil to eat it. See the link

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bronx Putnam Trail

From: Andrew Baksh
 Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 10:44 AM

Subject:Summer is the perfect time to add heat on 3 agencies to Save 
the Putnam Trail !!

Please pass this on to as many environmental conscious people/groups 
that you can.

I would put this on the NY list serve but I don't want to start a flame 
war by those who are uninformed and too lazy to get informed.

Sent from somewhere in the field using my mobile device!

Andrew Baksh

Begin forwarded message:

 From: Save PutnamTrail <> Date: August 13, 
2013, 10:35:39 AM EDT To: Subject: Summer 
is the perfect time to add heat on 3 agencies to Save the Putnam Trail 

It's never the summer doldrums on the Putnam Nature Trail

It's teeming with wildlife, birdsong, butterflies, trees, and grasses 
...and the issue of whether to pave it with 2 acres of asphalt.

Last year bore fruit. We were told for months that paving "was a done 
deal." Yet now the city is reconsidering.

Let's keep up the pressure - on the DEC, PDC, and with Parks 
Commissioner Veronica White. That's where the matter rests. Write them 
and let them know that we don't support using our tax dollars for 
paving over nature!! Listed below are some themes below that can be 
utilized in letters. Letters can be emailed, printed, or handwritten. 
There's also a sample letter template.

The three agencies to focus on:

1. Harold J Dickey NYSDEC Region 2 Headquarters 47-40 21st St Long 
Island City, NY 11101 Application ID: 2-6001-00014/00008 
paving/widening the Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park

2. Jacqueline Snyder, Executive Director Public Design Commission of 
the City of New York City Hall, Third Floor New York, NY 10007

3. Veronica M. White Commissioner, New York City Department of Parks & 
Recreation 830 Fifth Ave New York, NY, 10065

Utilize the technical items below and pick a few as your theme.

1. A narrow belt of wetland forest still survives along the Putnam 
Trail around the open water, where pin oak and red maple trees grow 
above Solomon’s seal, Virginia creeper, marsh fern, and sensitive fern. 
Predators like barred owls and red–tailed hawks sometimes hunt in Van 
Cortlandt’s wetlands. (taken from website, this makes it 
credible and official).

2. No EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) was ever done for this 
project. Paving 1.5 acres of asphalt on the Putnam Nature Trail would 
significantly affect the quality of the human environment and the 
wildlife that lives there and is supposed to be protected by the city 
and state. The Putnam Nature Trail runs through environmentally 
sensitive areas, including Forever Wild Preserves. An EIS must be 

3. The trail crosses and runs along two of four Forever Wildlife 
Preserves in the park: the lake/brook and Northwest Forest.

4. Snapping turtles inhabit the lake and every year cross the Putnam 
Trail on a search to find nesting places. Their migratory pattern will 
be severely altered during construction and permanently altered with 
the new widened and heavily trafficked trail. Heat from asphalt affects 
egg-hatching and sex determination which will impact the turtle 
population. The snapping turtle is the State Reptile.

5. The water quality of the lake/brook where these and other creatures 
live will be permanently altered because of runoff. The parks dept. 
says the soil has contaminants in it because the rail lines for 100 
years used coal ash and other substances to fortify the rails. Digging 
this up in all kinds of weather is bound to affect the quality of the 
lake/brook waters and wetlands. Asphalt can help also accelerate 
degradation of water quality in the lake, brook. Both are Forever Wild 
preserves which the city is supposed to protect, and the wetlands 
(marshes) are supposed to be protected by the state.

6. Widening is an environmental no-no creating “fragmentation of green 
space” where seeds/pollen of unwanted species get pulled into an area 
because of lack of tree cover. Over time these drive out desirable 
native species.

7. The wetlands along the trail are already stagnant, with marked 
amounts of algae and fungi in them. Many believe this was caused by 
construction blocking free-flowing water during parade ground 
construction. City rangers have placed logs in certain places near the 
trail which has staunched the free-flow of brook water which feeds the 
marsh and lake. The city/state should focus on how to make precious 
green areas healthier.

8. There are countless birds that nest along the trail. June is 
breeding season and if construction begins, it will disrupt breeding 
and nesting patterns. Once new breeding, nesting patterns are 
established elsewhere, the birds generally don't come back. Birds on 
the Putnam Trail include Baltimore orioles, ruby-throated hummingbird. 
Migratory birds that frequent the trail: Rusty Blackbird, Pine Warbler, 
American Goldfinch, blue-gray gnatcatcher, warbling vireo, palm warbler.

9. Native plants thrive along the trail: Bellwort, Bloodroot, False 
Solomon's Seal. Wildflowers grow in the rail beds. Around the open 
water is pin oak and red maple trees and Solomon's seal. Virginia 
creeper, marsh fern, and sensitive fern. Construction will harm all of 

10. Predators like barred owls and red-tailed hawks hunt in Van 
Cortlandt's wetlands.

11. This project will impact historical sites and archeological 
structures. There are historical artifacts that should be deemed 
cultural assets for the city and region. Among them: a switching tower, 
mile markers, warning poles and lines, and ties embedded in the ground.

12. The Parks Dept. has repeatedly stated that the Putnam Nature Trail 
is too environmentally sensitive to host any type of running events on 
it. If this is the case how can we pave 1.5 acres of asphalt and remove 
countless trees? This seems a many times more harmful than allowing 
large groups of runners on the current trail.

13. Statistics reveal that 1 in 5 newly-planted trees survive. The city 
is claiming it is replacing cut down trees with 400 whips or small 
trees. It will take years for these trees to grow. How many will even 

14. City Park's claim that they are only cutting down 7 "mature" trees 
has been changed to they are cutting down 7 "live" trees. Why this 
change? Why are they playing with language?

15. Besides this, any one looking at photos of the Trail knows there 
are hundreds of trees that will be affected by the clearcutting planned 
by City Parks. A City Parks supervisor was heard to say that at least 
44 trees were being removed. Why did this supervisor tell the public 
"only" 7 trees, and then turn around and tell insiders more than 40 
were being cut down?

16. The wholesale removal of grasses, plants, flowers, trees along the 
trail prevents rain water from getting absorbed. Combined with asphalt, 
this will result in dramatic shifts in water levels of the marshes, 
disturbing the wildlife and plant life that lives there. The loss of 
vegetation will lead to erosion because there is nothing to absorb rain 
water. The wetlands are already under pressure due to construction 
projects in the park. The state/city are supposed to protect the 
wetlands, not allow them to become drained. Wetlands filter air to 
improve air quality and fend against air pollution. Wetlands offer 
wonderful educational opportunities for adults/children. As John Liu 
said: once you lose a natural area you never get it back.

17. Parks are supposed to be accessible but in a state-protected 
preserve and wetlands accommodating park users should go hand in hand 
with sustainability, not at the cost of it.

18. It is not an abandoned railroad line – the trail is birded, hiked, 
run on, cycled on, used by school teachers as an important educational 
tool for kids. The rail bed allows for proper drainage because of the 
way it is constructed (trains had to run in all seasons, including wet 
ones) and it allows access to unique natural areas of the city we 
should be protecting.

Here is a letter template:

Dear Official,

I am writing to express my opposition to the NYC Parks Department plan 
to pave a 10 ft wide asphalt path along the 1.5 mile Putnam Trail in 
Van Cortlandt Park. I am offering my support for keeping the trail at 
its current 8ft width and to be improved with a stone dust surface 
instead of asphalt. A stone dust surface would continue to effectively 
serve all user groups of the Putnam Trail including cyclists, walkers, 
runners, baby strollers, wheelchairs and more.

The same type of federal funding has been used to construct similar 
stone dust trails elsewhere in NY State such as the Erie Canal Trail 
and a portion of the Bronx River Trail. Keeping the trail at its 
current width of 8 ft will dramatically reduce future maintenance costs 
and lower construction costs. I understand the average asphalt path 
costs twice as much as the average stone-dust path to construct.

Please note that the Putnam Trail runs through wildlife preserves and 
wetlands that the state and city are charged with protecting for 
current and future generations.


Respectfully yours,


Save taxpayer money, Save the environment, Save the Putnam Trail!

Save the Putnam Trail Campaign

"The Putnam Trail is a jewel. It's a mindless, destructive and wasteful 
act to pave the Putnam Trail. To spend 100s of thousands of dollars or 
more to pave over this treasured parkland seems to be the antithesis of 
what a Parks Dept. should be doing." --Eric Seiff, Chairman of the 
Board-Friends of Van Cortlandt Park,

Point friends to the petition at Save the Putnam Nature Trail,

ABC Bird conservancy press release on Federal programs cuts

-----Original Message-----
To: abcorgs
Sent: Mon, Aug 12, 2013 1:09 pm
Subject: Alert: Sign on letter to Preserve Wildlife Conservation Programs


Hello Valued Conservation Partner:

Last month the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee
 eliminated funding for the following popular and highly successful grant programs
for next fiscal year:

·       State & Tribal Wildlife Grants Program
·       North American Wetland Conservation Fund
·       Neotropical Migratory Bird Fund
·       Forest Legacy Program
·       Land and Water Conservation Fund
These programs have conserved some of our nation’s rarest and most cherished
fish and wildlife, restored vital wetlands and protected priority forests, grasslands,
coasts  and other important habitats.  Complete elimination of funding for these
 popular programs is unprecedented!

We need your help to convince appropriators in the US House and US Senate
how important these programs are to fish and wildlife and request that funding be 
restored for the next fiscal year which is set to begin on October 1st.

Below and attached is a national sign-on letter supporting these vital programs.
 Please consider adding your organization’s name to this letter so we can
 demonstrate that these programs have broad support amongst birders, hikers,
 hunters, anglers, paddlers, conservation educators and others who use and
enjoy the outdoors.  

To sign on to this letter, send an email with your organization’s name and state
 to by Friday August 30th.   Zeroing out these programs
would have serious consequences for fish and wildlife conservation.  Help be a
voice for fish and wildlife and the natural areas that they need to exist.

[Date inserted Here]
The Honorable Jack Reed, Chairman

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member
Senate Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
Senate Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
728 Hart Senate Office Building
709 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Mike Simpson, Chairman

The Honorable Jim Moran, Ranking Member
House Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
House Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
2312 Rayburn House Office Building
2252 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC  20515
Washington DC  20515

Dear Senators Reed and Murkowski & Congressmen Simpson & Moran:
On behalf of the millions of outdoor recreationists our organizations represent, we wish to
 express our support for the State & Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, North 
American Wetland Conservation Fund, Neotropical Migratory Bird Fund,
 Forest Legacy Program and Land and Water Conservation Fund. We are 
concerned that the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations 
Subcommittee proposed to eliminate funding for these successful and important fish 
and wildlife conservation programs next fiscal year. Elimination of funding will have 
significant impacts to collaborative on-the-ground conservation in communities nationwide 
resulting in more federal endangered species listings, fewer restored wetlands, further 
imperiled migratory birds, less protection for forests and other key habitats and diminished
 outdoor recreation opportunities.
We appreciate the need to reduce the size of the federal deficit and the difficult choices 
that you face. However, these programs are priorities and we believe they have done their 
fair share to help balance the budget after being cut by more than 25% in the last several
 years. Continued disproportionate cuts in the current budget under consideration will
 further rollback conservation work that serves the national interests of fish and wildlife 
conservation, creation of non-exportable jobs and delivery of essential services such as 
clean water and air and storm protection to current and future generations
Investments in natural resources conservation and outdoor recreation total less than 1% 
of all discretionary spending, a percentage that has been declining for decades. Grant 
programs represent an even smaller percentage of this total but are unique in that they
 leverage hundreds of millions in state, local and private dollars.  According to the US 
Census Bureau, 90 million US residents participate in fish and wildlife recreation, 
spending over $150 billion annually. Federal grant programs help ensure these consumers
 have sustainable fish and wildlife populations to view, hunt and fish. 
We strongly encourage you to work in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to the budget 
problem that do not further harm successful and publicly supported conservation grant 
programs that help fuel the outdoor recreation economic engine.  Thank you for your time
 & consideration.  
[Your Organization’s Name Here]

Mark Humpert, Wildlife Diversity Director
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Anne Law, Deputy Director of Conservation Advocacy
American Bird Conservancy

Steve Holmer
Senior Policy Advisor
American Bird Conservancy &
Director, Bird Conservation Alliance
202-234-7181 ext. 216
Skype: sholmerabc


You received this message as a subscriber on the list:
To be removed from the list, send any message to:

For all list information and functions, see:

  1 Attached Images

Wild Turkeys rounded up on Staten Island

NYC announces plans to study global warming on Jamaica Bay

click on the link

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Swan lead poisoning

An immobile swan was found on a Sheepshead Bay sidewalk a few months ago. It had lead poisoning. Originally, they thought it had ingested sinkers, but this was not the case. So the most likely explanation was that it had encountered the lead from contaminated sediments in its habitat.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Staten Island Racetrack conclusion

On the property that was supposed to be a racetrack for US Speedway,a conclusive end .The property was bought from the Speedway and will become commercial property and wetland. see more on the link

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ridgewood Resevoir update


Residents Like Lofty Ideas For Reservoir
by Robert Pozarycki

Though there’s no money available for the project to move forward, concepts of a master plan for the Ridgewood Reservoir were well-received by residents during a meeting of Community Board5’s Parks Committee last Thursday night, June 27, at St. Pancras Pfeifer Hall in Glendale.

From historians to birdwatchers, attendees praised the Parks Department for following the recommendations voiced at previous planning sessions and public meetings on the master plan that the 55-acre reservoir— which became naturally reforested after being drained and taken out of the city’s water system decades ago—be transformed into a nature preserve with some recreation in the largest of its three basins.

In the PlaNYC 2030 master plan proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006, a proposal was raised to clear one of the largest basin and convert it into athletic fields. This was designed to make Ridgewood Reservoir and the adjacent Highland Park one of eight regional parks citywide.
But the $50 million originally allocated for the project was scrapped as the city was struck by the Great Recession. While money was allocated to make improvements to the perimeter of the site, Parks Depart- ment officials indicated additional cash will be needed in the years to come to make any of the three concepts presented last Thursday—or a combination of those ideas—a reality.
The city, however, moved forward on the first phase of the project, which includes improvements to the perimeter of the reservoir and a causeway between two of the three basins. It is expected that the improvements will be completed in the next several weeks and will attract more guests to the area.

There to outline the master plan for the reservoir were Joelle Byrer and Katie Raschdorf of the Parks Department. The concepts, Raschdorf said, were the “distillation” of 5 1/2 years of research and outreach conducted by the agency and Mark Morrison & Associates, a consulting firm which developed the proposals.

Helping nature take its course

Over the years it has been reforested, the Ridgewood Reservoir has become an important stopover on the “Atlantic Flyway” used by migratory birds, Raschdorf stated. According to Parks Department research, about 127 different bird species inhabit the reservoir at any given time, including seven different kinds which are classified as endangered or threatened.

“The Parks Department realizes how important this is to the migratory habitat. We have addressed it in our concepts,” she said. “We are not bird killers.”
In addition to a diverse avian population, the Ridgewood Reservoir has several different ecosystems filled with all kinds of plantlife, both natural and foreign to the region. The easternmost basin (Basin 1, adjacent to Salem Field Cemetery) has many of the characteristics of a wetland, while the center chamber (Basin 2) includes a natural lake. The largest of the basins (Basin 3, adjacent to Vermont Place) is much like a forest but lacks wetland characteristics.
All three basins, however, are threatened by the influx of invasive plant species, Raschdorf stated. Chinese bittersweet—which she compared to the fast-growing, ivy-like kudzu—is present in Basins 1 and 3, and the aquatic ecosystem in Basin 2 is threatened by phragmites (wetland reeds).

Under all circumstances in the master plan, the Parks Department would remove any and all invasive plant life and replace it with plants meeting the characteristics of the basin’s diverse ecology, she explained. This technique was used in the agency’s previous work at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and Inwood Park in Manhattan.

“We have come up with an ecological restoration plan that is tailored for each one of the areas and is designed to take into account what is growing there now, what is thriving their now and what will flourish in the future,” Raschdorf added. “We’ve also taken our extensive studies and developed plant palettes that fit into the habitats that we’re trying to encourage.”

From light to major touches
Each of the three concepts keeps most of the reservoir as a natural preserve, although two of the plans introduce an expanded variety of recreational and educational elements. Byrer explained that none of the concepts were set in stone, and residents—in considering a final master plan for the reservoir—can pick and choose the ideas they like from each proposal.
“You don’t have to pick one concept,” she said. “It’s a bit like a menu option.”
Concept A offers the “lightest touch,” Raschdorf said, as public access will be restricted from Basins 1 and 2. Controlled public access will be introduced into Basin 3, with a ramp leading down to the floor of the basin 25 feet below the perimeter pathway. A series of pathways—constructed out of “stabilized aggregate” and boardwalk material, in some spots—will be created within the basin to allow visitors to explore the natural surroundings.

Educational nodes would be installed at certain points along the pathways to inform visitors about the history and ecology of the reservoir, she added. Scenic overlooks would also be created on the causeway between Basins 2 and 3 to allow visitors and birdwatchers to look out over both chambers.

Concept B contains much of the same features of Concept A, but introduces pathways for guided tours into Basin 1, which Raschdorf stated is the most ecologically sensitive of the three chambers. A floating dock would also be constructed in Basin 2 to allow for boating and canoeing.

A four-acre open lawn for passive recreation—similar to the Lawn Meadow in Prospect Park—would also be created in Basin 3, Raschdorf added.
Concept C provides the most direct impact on the reservoir as it offers greater opportunities to public access in all three basins, she stated. Along with incorporating the ideas of Concepts A and B, this concept would result in more stabilized pathways in Basin 1 for guided tours and a large, eight-acre open field with athletic fields in Basin 3.

The large culvert to be created in the wall separating Basin 3 and Vermont Place—part of the decommissioning of the reservoir as a dam, as mandated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation— would be widened and include an asphalt path to allow vehicles to enter the basin as needed, Raschdorf said.
The decommissioning—which includes the installation of openings in the basin walls to prevent no more than six feet of water from being held within at any given time—is being funded in the second phase of the Ridgewood Reservoir preliminary improvements.

All three concept plans include the restoration of the pump house and gate house on the northern end of the reservoir. The pump house would be transformed into a Parks Department security office, while the gate house would be renovated into a ranger station equipped with a comfort station for visitors.
No cost estimates for either of the concepts were provided by the Parks Department representatives. Once community residents form their own master plan for the project, Raschdorf stated, the Parks Department will conduct an environmental impact statement and calculate the cost needed for the project to move forward.

She added residents who liked the plan would need to reach out to their local elected officials in the years to come and advocate for funding.

Having their say

During the public comment portion of the meeting, many expressed relief that the city seemingly abandoned the idea of clearing out Basin 3 and replacing it with athletic fields. While they praised the Parks Department for their concept schemes, they offered their own criticism and ideas for each plan.
Tom Dowd suggested that the final master plan for the Ridgewood Reservoir create a nature preserve which can be appreciated and studied by guests of all ages while also preserving the natural habitat. Noting that the state ranks near the bottom in the country in ecotourism, Dowd suggested introducing elements such as a viewing platform and a Victorian garden to attract birdwatchers and nature lovers to the site.

Maryellen Borello offered that the Ridgewood Reservoir presented the opportunity to give students a chance to see what the area looked like well before it was settled and industrialized.

“The present Ridgewood Reservoir is such a wonderful gift of nature. We have the area gone back to its early days,” she said. “Children don’t have to imagine; they can see it and appreciate how it really was— quiet, except for bird sounds and leaves rustling in the breeze.”

Borello, along with Joy Fieldstadt, suggested the city keep Ridgewood Reservoir for nature and renovate athletic fields inside of Highland Park.
David Quintana spoke against introducing active recreation elements at the reservoir since the Parks Enforcement Patrol agency is understaffed. He cited a report which indicated that last year, there were only two PEP officers assigned to the entire borough of Queens.

“This is a much, much better plan than” original proposals for the Ridgewood Reservoir, he said. “I just wish the Parks Department agreed with the community when there was money in the budget.”
“In this case, less is better,” added Lou Whitaker. “We’re looking to develop it? Mother Nature did it for us. Put some historic sites, a learning center. But why destroy what is beautiful?”

Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri praised the Parks Department for forming “a real master plan.” He stated the board’s Parks Committee— co-chaired by Kathy Masi, who presided over the session—would further examine the concepts and form a recommendation in August.

In the meantime, Arcuri invited the public to continue to send written comments and observations on the future of the Ridgewood Reservoir to the committee for its consideration. Remarks can be sent by mail to Community Board 5, 61-23 Myrtle Ave,. Glendale, NY 11385; or by email to
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waterfront Vision Plan

Sent: Tue, Jun 18, 2013 1:06 pm
Subject: City Planning Releases Two Studies to Guide Climate Resilience Efforts in Coastal Urban Areas

Dear NYC Waterfront Stakeholder,

Today, the Department of City Planning released two reports to help guide New York City and other urban waterfront communities improve their resilience to coastal flood risks and promote livable, sustainable neighborhoods. This work began prior to Hurricane Sandy with funding from the HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant to the New York - Connecticut Sustainable Communities Consortium. Both studies informed and complement A Stronger, More Resilient New York, the report of Mayor Bloomberg’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR), released on June 11, 2013.

The first of these reports, Designing for Flood Risk identifies key principles to guide the design of new buildings in flood zones to facilitate construction that can not only withstand coastal flood events, but also supports the vibrancy of the urban public realm. Recognizing the distinct character and needs of higher-density urban environments, the report provides recommendations for how regulations and individual project design can incorporate these principles.  This study provided urban design principles to guide the SIRR recommendations for buildings and also strongly shaped the Department of City Planning’s proposed Flood Resilience Text Amendment, which began the public land use review process on May 20, 2013.

Urban Waterfront Adaptive Strategies provides a systematic assessment of the coastal flood hazards that face waterfront communities in New York City, a thorough survey of coastal protection and adaptation strategies that may be suitable for different shoreline and neighborhood types, and a framework for evaluating coastal protection alternatives.  The report is intended to serve as a resource for planners, policymakers, and communities within New York City, the region, and elsewhere in the coastal United States. This study aided the analysis and recommendations for coastal protection in the SIRR report.

Both of these studies advance the goals of Vision 2020, the City’s comprehensive waterfront plan, by seeking to increase the resilience of our waterfront in ways that make the city not only safer, but also more vibrant, healthy, and prosperous.

For more information on either of these studies, and to download a copy of the final reports, visit our website here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

How fracking affects wildlife

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Protect the Palisades

There is a plan to develope an area that will impact the skyline .see the link

Friday, March 22, 2013

Floyd Bennett grassland cleanup 3/23

Subject: Grassland Cleanup Volunteers Needed
Date: Fri Mar 22 2013 10:54 am
From: citybirder AT 
The National Park Service and NYCAS are coordinating a 
cleanup of the  grasslands at Floyd Bennett Field this
 Saturday, March 23rd at 9am. 

As you may know, Floyd Bennett was used as a staging 
area for FEMA  and other emergency services after 
Hurricane Sandy. The hundreds of  vehicles and thousands
 of workers using the park did a great job, but as one might 
expect, all the activity left considerable debris on and 
around the grasslands. Some cleanup had already
 begun this week, but there is still much more work to do.

If you or your organization are interested in lending a 
hand to cleanup Brooklyn's last remaining grassland:

Meet at the Ryan Visitor Center
tomorrow (March 23rd) at 9:00am.

Gloves and bags will be supplied.

For those using mass transit, the Q-35 bus stops 
opposite  the Ryan Visitor Center.

Aviator Sports, which is adjacent to the Ryan Visitor 
Center, has  driving directions on their website here:


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waterfront Symposium

Date: Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 3:05 PM
Subject: NYC Waterfront Construction Competition FREE

You're invited to attend the Change the Course Symposium! Email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
March 19, 2013
Registration Ending Soon for
Change the Course Symposium

There's still time to register to meet the competition winners and hear their
ideas on Changing the Course of building and maintaining our waterfront!
Date:Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Time: 8:00 am - 11:00 am
Location:National Museum of the American Indian New York in Lower Manhattan
Event Details
This event is free to attend.
8:00 - 8:45 am Registration and Breakfast
9:00 - 11:00 am Awards and Presentations
Networking and Refreshments to follow

and Hudson River Park Trust asked for innovative concepts on how to
change the course of waterfront construction and help build and maintain
waterfront infrastructure in a more cost effective and sustainable

At the exclusive forum, the winning teams will present their
creative ideas. Presentations will be followed by Q&A and Networking

Space is limited. RSVP by Monday, March 25, 2013.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Clean air finally achieved at Floyd Bennett ?

Clean Air Victory: City Suspends Burning of Hurricane Sandy Debris After Pollution Levels Exceed Air Quality Standards

(New York, NY) - After repeated problems with smoke and high levels of air pollution, New York City has suspended the burning of downed trees and vegetative debris that remain from Hurricane Sandy. A federal contractor had been burning the debris in open air burners at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

Despite objections raised by environmental and public health advocates, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) granted a variance from its own air pollution regulations last December to allow the burning to take place in so-called "air curtain burners." The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) also issued a letter saying that for this operation it would not enforce the state's ban on open burning. Under the conditions of the city's variance, the burning could have continued through mid-April.

The groups had called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for overseeing debris management from Hurricane Sandy, to aggressively pursue non-incineration options for the wood waste, which can be chipped and used for mulch and other purposes without emitting harmful pollutants.

The major concern raised by advocates was that smoke and fine particulate matter from the debris burning would worsen air quality in an area that is already suffering from poor environmental conditions in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. These concerns proved to be well-founded. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which set up air monitors around the perimeter of the site, air pollution levels in the vicinity of the burners exceeded health-based national ambient air quality standards for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) on five separate days between December 28th and February 7th.

In a letter to the DEP dated February 1st, the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project (NYELJP), together with the American Lung Association of the Northeast, the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, strongly objected to the continued use of the air curtain burners given their demonstrated public health risks. The groups urged an immediate cessation of burning in favor of an alternative method of waste disposal such as chipping the remaining wood for reuse.

In a separate petition to the DEC, the NYELJP challenged whether the air curtain burners should have been regulated as incinerators, rather than just open fires. DEC's open fire regulations include a prohibition on the burning of waste products, but the regulations were intended to target "burn barrels" and backyard trash burning, not large-scale debris burning operations like those underway at Floyd Bennett Field.

"The Army Corps, DEC, and DEP all acted in the interest of expedience, without due consideration for public health and safety," said Joel Kupferman, Esq., NYELJP's executive director. "Despite the fact that environmental and public health advocates, community members, EPA Region 2 officials and City Council members all raised numerous health concerns about the use of air curtain burners beforehand, these concerns were ignored or overlooked by all other agencies involved until it was too late, and the burning had already caused numerous exceedances of health-based air pollution standards. We need a proper, public discussion of why the Army Corps, DEC, and DEP all relied on the fact that a "public health emergency"
was declared after Hurricane Sandy to use "emergency" exceptions to air pollution regulations that are designed to protect public health."

"It was obvious from the start that burning massive quantities of wood 24/7 with virtually no pollution control was a bad idea," said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate. "These air curtain burners are little more than dumpsters with fans. The city officials wanted to believe they would work, despite evidence to the contrary, and the Army Corps didn't want to change its practices. We hope that a lesson has been learned here."

"The combustion of this debris led to high levels of particulate matter, a major lung irritant linked to asthma attacks, heart attacks and even premature death," said Jeff Seyler, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. "We are glad that the city has given up on this misguided plan and that residents downwind can now continue rebuilding from Sandy without this additional air quality concern."

"Burning woody debris has never been an effective or safe way to facilitate storm clean up in NYC," said Roger Downs, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. "We are encouraged that all parties now agree proper processing and reuse of tree limbs and vegetation, in the form of wood chips and mulch, is the best pathway forward to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The groups had high praise for the EPA for conducting air monitoring on the site and for posting the data on its webpage. A description and timeline of the burning can be found at: "EPA's efforts to keep the public informed about the burning operations at Floyd Bennett Field, monitor their impact on air quality, and make all data public stands in stark contrast to the DEP," Kupferman said. "We've had to send multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to access DEP's monitoring data, and still have not received most of it."

The groups also praised New York City Councilmember James Gennaro, chair of the City Council Environmental Protection Committee, for exercising his oversight responsibility.

Other groups that opposed the burning included Citizens' Environmental Coalition, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP), New York Climate Action Group, and the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH).

Joel R Kupferman, Esq

New York Environmental Law and Justice Project

National Lawyers Guild -Environmental Justice Committee

NLG-NYC Hurricane Sandy Taskforce

Environmental Justice Initiative for Haiti

351 Broadway-third fl NY NY 10013-3902 USA

Cell 917-414-1983 Office 212-334-5551 twitter@envjoel

About the American Lung Association of the Northeast

The American Lung Association of the Northeast is part of the American Lung Association, the oldest voluntary health organization in the U.S.

Established in 1904 to combat tuberculosis; our mission today is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. The focus is on air quality, asthma, tobacco control, and all lung disease. The American Lung Association in the Northeast serves CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI and VT.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pouch Camp ( Greenbelt , Staten Island) update

From Pine -Oak Woods Protectors Conservation group email:
Dear member of Protectors' E-mail Network,

There is a great opportunity to get the money to purchase the conservation easement over Phase II of Pouch Camp. It would help if you will contact ourState legislators using the sample letter as a guide. The attached list of legislators are the public servants who need to be prompted to act. Let them know why you care about Pouch and the Greenbelt and ask that they fight for the proposed

Please send a copy of your letter to Remember that they will not accept attachments and that you must provide your name, address and phone. They will print only your name.

The State Budget is being negotiated with our legislators beginning now through early March. Please make contact during February.

Thank you for helping all of our Greenbelt to be permanently protected!
Ellen Pratt
New York State Elected Officials, as of 01-01-13

NYS Assembly

Assemblyman Joseph Borelli
101 Tyrellan Avenue
Staten Island, NY  10309
Phone:  718-967-4194

Assemblyman Michael Cusick
1911 Richmond Avenue
Staten Island, NY  10314
Phone:  718-370-1384

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
11 Maplewood Place
Staten Island, NY  10306
Phone:  718-987-0197

Assemblyman Matthew Titone
853 Forest Avenue
Staten Island, NY  10310
Phone:  718-442-9932

NYS Senate

Senator Andrew Lanza
3845 Richmond Avenue
Staten Island, NY  10312
Phone:  718-984-4073

Senator Diane Savino
36 Richmond Terrace, Suite 112
Staten Island, NY  10301
Phone:  718-727-9406


Hon. Andrew Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, NY  12224
Email:  [go to web site]
Phone:  518-474-8390
Sample letter –  can be modified
                                                                                                  your address, e-mail
                                                                                                       address and date

Dear Senator/ Assemblyman - Assemblywoman,

        It’s wonderful news! N.Y.State’s Department of Environmental Conservation  has proposed to designate $5 million of the State’s Environmental Protection Fund to purchase a conservation easement over the 23 acres of Pouch Camp nearest the still-mapped Richmond Parkway Corridor, the area identified as Phase II on the map of Pouch Camp.

        We ask you and urge you to fight to be certain that this recommended $5 million  allocation is included in the final version of the FY2014 State Budget.  We know that you recognize that this acreage is at the heart of the Greenbelt. It is crucial to the maintenance of  Pouch Camp as the jewel of the Greenbelt and City’s only Boy Scout Camp.  143 acre Pouch Camp is open year round and the conservation easement over this parcel will enable increased public access to this portion of Pouch Camp. Pouch Camp enables many underserved Metropolitan Area youth to experience the outdoors for the first time.  It provides a priceless resource for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and YMCA outdoor programs and for limited use by the public.

        As you know from “The Greenbelt in Crisis: Save Pouch Camp,” the book produced by Protectors of Pine Oak Woods which we gave you in 2011, Pouch Camp contains a variety of rich botanical and wetland habitats which support the annual migration of millions of birds, song birds and the survival of many mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
Also, the Camp is a great environmental education and outdoor recreation resource.

        Pouch Camp encompasses two watersheds, New Creek and Richmond Creek. It provides natural and stable flood prevention and water management within the entire mid-island area.  With the abundance of wetlands on our coastal island, management of water resources and flood prevention is a crucial need, as shown by the destructive power of  recent storms and Sandy storm surge.

       We are very fortunate that  N.Y.S.D.E.C. has proposed to give so much funding for the preservation of Pouch Camp and our Greenbelt.  Please work very hard to make sure that D.E.C.’s proposed $5 million for Pouch Camp is approved  in the FY2014 State Budget.