2003-03-22 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks & Stones

by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum
Sprayview Sticks Stones by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

Sprayview Sticks & Stones
by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

Eugenia Flatow, who leads the Coalition for the Bight and is involved with many other bay-related organizatins is pictured at a Harbor Es­tuary meeting.Eugenia Flatow, who leads the Coalition for the Bight and is involved with many other bay-related organizatins is pictured at a Harbor Es­tuary meeting.

The influence of Eugenia Flatow (Coalition For The Bight) cannot be underestimated. She is in a leadership position at such environmental control groups as the Harbor Estuary Program, the NYC Soil and Water Conservation District and the Jamaica Bay Task Force.

In my opinion, she has not been helpful in curbing topsoil strip mining substitution for creek openings at Dubos Point to allow for wetlands restoration and mosquito control nor has she been helpful in curbing plans for introducing toxic dredge spoils from outside Jamaica Bay into Jamaica Bay off Bayswater and Edgemere (then Grassy Bay off JFK Airport) with a switcheroo calling this disposal a form of restoration.

How this 'interlocking directorate type influence' is supported economically and politically to the detriment of Rockaway/Bay environmental quality has yet to be revealed!

Will real estate values be hurt by living next to a huge toxic dredge spoils disposal site - with no assurance that a cherry on top clean sand cover cap is able to contain the chemicals from getting out is not a worry now by all appearances. Nor is it a worry for public health groups, etc. On the aforementioned issues, Rockawayites still appear to be happy zombies...

In spite of hard times the pilot project for dumping the crud into Norton Basin off Far Bayswater obtained more funding recently, as is it a done deal zombies or not?

At any rate, here are excerpts from the January Dredge Materials Management Integration Work Group (integrates dredging problems in the NYNJ Harbor Estuary with environmental and transport problems) without mention of Dubos Point environmental problems of any importance- though it's on some Army Corps list some place somewhere sometime...

I have yet to make a presentation either at the Task Force or at the Soil and Water Conservation District, and is this the U.S. of freedoms or a puppet state when these groups meet?

"At the January 8, 2001 meeting we discussed the following items that may have an effect on Rockaway:

CAP restoration sites include Jamaica Bay marsh islands, with DEC and DEP as partners. One of the major recommendations for Jamaica Bay has been to do a pilot CAP project that would address marsh island losses. While Gerritsen Creek and Lincoln Park are closest to construction, the Bayswater plan is till active. The list includes a number of proposed projects, such as restoring marsh land around the Penn & Fountain landfill after closure. There will be no new CAP projects until the Congress passes the Corps budget. The cost of the Gerritsen Creek restoration project is $6.3 million, with NYC Parks using 1996 Bond Act funds for the local match. There are a lot of old landfills around Jamaica Bay. In the 1920's a NYC had a plan to put the port in Jamaica Bay, with bulkheads, filling of wetlands, and channelization projects. The total cost of the Lincoln Park res­toration in Hudson County is $6 million; NJDEP is the local sponsor and has set aside funds in the Harbor's natural resource damage account.

General water shed studies include 1) 18 sites on the Hudson River; 2) nine sites in Jamaica Bay all in design stage with the Jamaica Bay Task Force involved and NYC DEP as sponsor for the study; 3) Flushing Bay, with the focus on water quality, and DEP and the Port Authority as co-sponsors

We have three spin-off projects that are the subject of separate studies.

Steve Zahn, director of Marine Resources in DEC Region 2, indicated that the DEC 1996 Bond act has funded 20 projects in NYC, with funding to parks and DEP. The City has offered to combine local dollars to match state dollars. With respect to Gerritsen Creek, the Jamaica Bay damage account provides solid funding, upwards of $6 million. While it is actively involved, DEC is not a funding partner for the Bronx River, Flushing Bay, Newtown Creek or Gowanus Canal/Bay projects. DEC and NJDEP do not have state ecosystem restoration coordinators who know projects state-wide and funding opportunities. Existing NYC DEP commitments hold. The DMMIWG decided to send letters to the NY DEC and NJDEP Commissioners urging designation of statewide ecosystem restoration coordinator. Chris Zeppie of the PA added that, with its $60 million committed to the two states for environmental protection, we still do not have any project completed. On the NY we hope to make an announcement soon. The real success story is the good relationship between stakeholders and agencies."

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