Three Projects Transforming Staten Island’s West Shore

A portion of the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank. Thousands of new plantings are protected by fencing and other deterrents to keep away birds and deer. Photo by Nathan Kensinger/CurbedWhile it’s unlikely that many New Yorkers will ever see it up close, Staten Island’s western shore is undergoing a transformation that will impact more than 800 acres of waterfront property.

According to Nathan Kensinger at Curbed:

“Along the northern edge of Bloomfield, near the Staten Island Expressway, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the Goethals Bridge Replacement Wetland Mitigation Project, which is restoring 26 acres of wetlands around Old Place Creek. Further south, next to the West Shore Expressway, the NYC Parks Department and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) are working together to rehabilitate 68 acres of the Saw Mill Creek wetlands.

And in between these two restoration projects, a 3.5 million-square-foot warehouse complex is now being constructed. Located in a 676-acre property that once housed an oil storage facility, the Matrix Global Logistics Park has already signed up several tenants, including Amazon and Ikea, who will operate out of four massive warehouses. When completed, the Matrix complex will encompass 200 acres, all built on top of what was once a wetlands ecosystem.”

The Saw Mill Creek restoration project is particularly interesting because it is part of the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank, which allows developers to buy credits in order to offset the environmental mitigation they are required to complete at other construction projects in the area.

This is the first mitigation bank in New York, and if it proves to be successful, this model could be used in other places around the city.

Source: Curbed

Harlem Community Garden Seriously Damaged by Herbicides

Volunteers at Jenny’s Garden in Harlem say weed-killer sprayed by Amtrak representatives has ruined their fall harvest. Photo via Kindred Spirit Group’s instagram.

A beloved community garden in Harlem has been seriously damaged by pesticides.

Volunteers at the Riverside Valley Community Garden — located on West 138th Street and Riverside Drive near the Amtrak tracks — told AM New York that their seasonal harvest was ruined when Amtrak workers sprayed weed-killer near the garden.

Amtrak representatives confirmed that weed killer was indeed sprayed on Sept. 15, and that Amtrak had hired an outside company to do the deed.

Garden volunteers have filed a damage report with Amtrak. Jason Abrams, a spokesman for Amtrak, said in an email that Amtrak  ‘is currently investigating this claim.”

Source: AM NewYork

NY Admits Defeat as Emerald Ash Borer Continues to Spread

The emerald ash borer is a shiny green beetle about the size of a penny. The borer likely will ultimately bring about the end of the state’s 700 million ash trees. Photo via Be a Smart Ash

The Department of Environmental Conservation has repealed logging restrictions put into place to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer, admitting that the quarantine had failed. The invasive insect has now spread so far into the state that officials believe most of New York’s ash trees will be gone within the next decade.

The state is now recommending that forest landowners move forward with harvesting the remaining healthy ash trees now, as “infested ash degrades quickly, resulting in decreased economic value and greater risk of personal injury and property damage.”

Source: Times Union

Denied: DEC Rejects Permit for Seneca Lake Gas Storage

Opponents of a proposal to store 88.2 million gallons of liquid propane in caverns on Seneca Lake, celebrated a major victory last week. Photo by stayadventurous.com

After a nearly-10-year battle by environmentalists, business owners, and community groups, the DEC has rejected a proposal to store propane in old salt caverns near Seneca Lake.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos denied the permit on the grounds the facility would have a significant adverse impact on community character in that Finger Lakes region. Seggos also reviewed resolutions adopted by local municipalities opposed to the project, and the area’s development of tourism, the wine industry and agriculture as economic drivers. There were also concerns about the integrity of caverns at the site.

Source: Innovation Trail

Make Your Garden Grow: Get Your Free Compost!

GrowNYC will provide free compost to New Yorkers at markets across the city.

Time to reap the rewards of your diligent composting efforts (you do compost, don’t you?)! GrowNYC is hosting compost giveback events in all boroughs this month. Bring your own container and take home all the compost you can use. First come, first served! Dates and locations after the jump. Continue reading “Make Your Garden Grow: Get Your Free Compost!”

Drug Take Back Act Becomes Law, Will Reduce Water Contamination

The new law establishes a unified statewide drug take-back program that will reduce water pollution and medication misuse. Photo by e-Magine Art/Creative Commons

Yesterday Governor Cuomo signed into law the “Drug Take Back Act,” regulation that establishes a statewide program to provide safe, free, and easy disposal of unused medications. Chain pharmacies will be required to provide drug disposal options, while other authorized collectors (e.g. independent pharmacies, local law enforcement) could also participate.

Providing convenient drug disposal will help to reduce the practice of flushing unwanted medications down drains and toilets, and eliminate one source of waterway contamination.

Previous surveys of pharmaceuticals in the Hudson River Estuary, conducted by Riverkeeper, Cornell University, and the EPA, found more than 50 different compounds, with greater numbers found at or near municipal wastewater treatment plant outfalls.

Wastewater treatment and septic systems are not designed to remove these contaminants, resulting in pharmaceutical pollution in waters across the state.

Source: Riverkeeper