State Names Riepe ‘Bay Guardian’
State Names Riepe
By Howard Schwach
At an impressive ceremony at the foot of the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge last Wednesday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that it was creating the position of "Bay Guardian" in order to insure that the best interests of Jamaica Bay were addressed. The DEC’s commissioner, Erin Crotty made the announcement to a crowd of environmental activists and politicians.
"The protection of intertidal marsh lands and other critical natural resources in Jamaica Bay requires aggressive action and oversight," Crotty said. "The state is working closely with public and private partners to preserve and restore this important area."
Appointed to the new Bay Guardian slot was Broad Channel resident Don Riepe, a retiring National Park Service district ranger who has worked in the environmental area for more than 25 years. The Bay Guardian program will be run by the American Littoral Society, a non-profit organization that encourages the better understanding of the marine environment.
According to Crotty, the Bay Guardian will serve as a liaison between the community and governmental agencies that have jurisdiction over the bay, including the DEC, the National Park Service, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In addition, Riepe will be expected to develop both short and long-term goals for improving water conditions and will review local plans and development proposals that might impact the bay.
"I look forward to working with the agencies and with local community and environmental organizations such as the Eco Watchers and the New York/New Jersey Baykeepers to coordinate our efforts in improving the overall health of Jamaica Bay," Riepe said at the ceremony.
For more pictures from the ceremony, see page 43.