Sunday, January 13, 2008

Parks wants to bulldoze endangered species

Photo from Daily News

Abstract from NYC Parks Department’s survey of Ridgewood Reservoir by Round Mountain Biological and Environmental:

“We conducted a survey of the flora and fauna of the Ridgewood Reservoir site in Queens, NY, in the summer and fall of 2007. No less than ten plant and animal species listed as Threatened, Endangered or Special Concern in New York State were found at the site. A total of 173 plant species were observed, three of which are listed as Threatened or Endangered in New York State. Several plant communities observed were also of significant conservation concern.

A total of 127 bird species were observed during fall migration at the site, including seven species which are listed as Threatened or Special Concern in New York State. A breeding bird survey conducted by local naturalists in 2007 also confirmed or suspected 38 bird species to be nesting at the site.

[Invasive tree] species should be actively replaced with native species that have comparable or greater ecosystem, wildlife and aesthetic values, using seed collected onsite or from nearby natural areas. This would not only serve to inhibit the future growth of invasive species, but would enhance the native species diversity at the site, which appears to be somewhat diminished by its severe isolation from other existing natural areas.

Activities such as exotic plant removal, native species planting and propagation, and biological monitoring offer excellent opportunities for environmental education, research and community involvement. The development of such programs and activities would be further facilitated by establishing a small nature center at the site. By combining the resources of the park system and local community to bring about the conservation and restoration of the site, Ridgewood Reservoir could effectively become a model of environmental stewardship for other parks in New York City, and the world, well into the future.”


Despite this, Parks still has their eyes on developing half of the lush green oasis in the westernmost basin, Queens Parks Commissioner Dottie Lewandowski told the Daily News today:

While the topography and ecology of two of the three reservoir basins makes them unsuitable for development, she said, an 11-acre portion of the West Basin could be developed for active recreation.

She would not say what type of active recreation is being considered.


(Actually, she kind of did by saying, "you can play ball informally or formally.")

Ron Bourque, a member of the conservation committee of the New York City Audubon Society, said breaching the basin's thick perimeter wall to allow for development would be expensive.

"Preserving the natural areas and doing things based on that would be more economical and would make a lot more sense," he said.


Yes, but this is the Parks Department we're dealing with here. They frequently make no sense.

PlaNYC's new slogan: Planting a million trees by 2030 (while cutting a million down)

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

The parks tree policy sounds a lot like its people policy. Plant a tree for every newcomer they are welcoming here, but the folks and trees that are already here can go to hell.

Anonymous said...

So much for the jolly green mayor!

Anonymous said...

Someone's friend or relative is getting a fat contract and that is why they are floating this idea. This has nothing to do with fighting childhood obesity.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but the trees cut down will be in QUEENS by developers, and the trees planted will be in MANHATTAN!

Parks For People said...

Unfortunately, Parks & Recreation and many elected officials just don't get it. Under the City Charter DPR is responsible for administering the parks that belong to us, the citizens of NYC. I'll repeat that once again so that even the mis-management team at DPR can understand it: THE PARKS BELONG TO THE CITIZENS OF NYC. They are not private playgrounds, which DPR can destroy whenever some developer or contractor shows them the money.

Anonymous said...

They want to destroy the area with the densest vegetation in a neighborhood with a high asthma rate. Makes sense.

jerry rotondi said...

Hell......
with the abundance of all the lush trees here.....
maybe "certain" NYC officials are afraid
of any future "noose" cartoons
that this unspoiled forest might encourage!

westernqueensland said...

Well Done Crappy

ken said...

imagine what would happen if they tried doing something like this in Central Park.

ken also said...

when I was a lad, 500 years or so ago, the streets in Queens had so little traffic on the weekends that my pals and I could play stickball right out in the middle of the street without having to lug our way over to the local playground.

Nowadays of course the borough has become so populated and congested with autos that if kids tried this they'd get mowed down within a few seconds. So instead of planting saplings to replace the towering trees you're chopping down, Mr Mayor, how about reducing the population to a reasonable level: one person per square inch, say.

Julie said...

Heck when I was a kid you could do the same and I grew up in the 1980s. Now the street I grew up on is like the Indy 500.

Anonymous said...

"Activities such as exotic plant removal, native species planting and propagation, and biological monitoring offer excellent opportunities for environmental education, research and community involvement. The development of such programs and activities would be further facilitated by establishing a small nature center at the site. By combining the resources of the park system and local community to bring about the conservation and restoration of the site, Ridgewood Reservoir could effectively become a model of environmental stewardship for other parks in New York City, and the world, well into the future."

Where in this report does it say that the trees should be clearcut for ballfields and why is parks considering this option?

Queens Crapper said...

The Ridgewood Reservoir blog has been updated with something interesting:

Daily News Article

As you read the article keep in mind that Highland Park, which encloses the Ridgewood Reservoir, already has the following, poorly maintained facilities:

2 playgrounds
2 comfort stations
6 ballfields
2 bocce courts
4 horseshoe pits
8 handball courts
13 tennis courts
8 basketball courts
1 children's garden.

In addition, there is a 1 1/4 mile running path around the outside of the reservoir. Note that all of the 60 street lights for illuminating the path are broken and have been for many years.

Anonymous said...

Surely this plan must violate federal and state conservation laws. Would I love to see Benepe and Bloomberg taken away in handcuffs!

Truman Harris said...

This is in Dennis Gallagher's district yet Joe Addabbo seems like the concerned councilmember. More proof that Pinky is a complete waste.

ken (this is it for today, I promise) said...

so, in essence, Benepe and Bloomberg are creating a mirror image of the pre-existing facilities in Highland Park. How extraordinarily useful that will be!

Perhaps they might go on to do this on a larger scale, e.g. building a 2nd Unisphere in FMCP, and a second Borough Hall, which wouldn't actually be so bad if it were filled with politicians who actually had the people's interests at heart, rather than developer's.

ps I grew up one decade behind you in the 70's. Only feel 500 years old, at times. ;)

Queens Crapper said...

I am going to answer this next guy within the comment:

I was at a meeting regarding this issue. The Parks Dept. gave 3 proposed options for what could be done with the 3 basins. The most eastern basin contains the endangered species. The middle basin, which also contains some of the endangered species is the only basin with water still in it. The last basin, most western, does not contain any endangered species. They spoke of removing some of the greenery, mainly bushes and vine trees because they will eventually killed the other plant life around them. This is not an attempt to "clear cut" trees like many people think it will be.

You are incorrect. The report states that there are areas of conservation concern in all three basins. Endangered birds were found in the west basin. And you can see from the photo where the trees are. You have to clearcut in order to install ballfields. If you don't have the report, how can you comment about what is or is not there?

The walking/running/biking path around the basin is in rough shape. Almost all of the fencing needs to be replaced. Its a shame that only 1 of the 77 lights is not broken. We can thank kids for that.

What's being advocated as an alternate to developing the basins is that the money be used to fix these decrepit areas of the park, so I am not sure what your issue is.

I still find it laughable that everyone is all of a sudden an environmentalist. I am going to bet that 90% of the people that live within 1 mile of the reservoir have never even been there and know nothing about it. Yes the parks are for the citizens of NYC, but that does not mean there should not be money used to improve the existing area which is in rough shape.

Ok, how much do you want to bet on that? Revitalization of Highland Park has been a community board priority on both sides of the border for many years. Once again, the counterproposal to what parks wants to do is to FIX what's broken, not break what's not. Even if no one used the park, is it healthy for our city to cut down acres of forest?

But don't worry, keep complaining since you are all experts on everything that goes on in Queens. Instead of complaining on a blog, go out and do something about it. Start with attending a meeting or 2 to find out what is really going on.

We are experts as to what is going on in Queens. We live here! When is the Parks Department having the meeting to tell us what is really going on? We'd all love to go.

Anonymous said...

The previous poster sounds like that histrionic jackass from CB9.

Anonymous said...

Actually, we are the boss. Parks is the employee. Someone seems to have forgotten that.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not there are endangered species in the basins, this is part of a wetland, which is overseen by NYSDEC who doesn't look too kindly on development in aquifers/watersheds.

Liman said...

One of the Anonymous Majority is on to something... "someone's friend is getting a fat contract." Actually, there's no work to even bid on yet, but the point is government agencies de facto exist to expand. One way parks can expand is by building new facilities. And there IS a whole crew of greedy parasites waiting to get their beaks wet... suppliers, builders, unions... they (legally) buy the City with campaign contributions, and the City encourages the Parks bureacracy to go at it. At the end of the day, it's all about money and power.

ralph said...

"Actually, we are the boss. Parks is the employee. Someone seems to have forgotten that."

You are right about that and I havent forgotten. And yes, the elected officials are also our employees. That is another discussion in itself. But just because we pay taxes does not necessarily mean that each city agency has to comply with each individual's opinion on a matter. Maybe there should be an opportunity for people who live within a certain distance around the reservoir (both Queens and Brooklyn) to have a chance to vote on what should be done.

I am not for cutting down trees either. But I am not opposed to Parks going in to remove certain types of greenery that can be harmful to other trees and bushes that can produce more oxygen.

Queens Crapper said...

The report they commissioned clearly supports removal of invasive species - with replacement by native species.

Salvatore said...

Green nyc my ass, I go to nyu and there is a struggle going on right now with washington square park. Please join and help people. Bloomburger is already chopping down gorgeous trees (40-100 year old trees!) old. 7 have been cut down already - all of this just because "the fountain is not even with the arch." We need support from Queens - we can also raise the issue with the Ridgewood reservoir and acquire some help from our Manhattan friends.

Come and join!

Protest Mayor Bloomberg!! He will be speaking on Tues 15th about his "Green" initiative for NYC.

STOP "ARBORCIDE"

TAKE ACTION!

TELL THE MAYOR HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK AND THE KILLING OF OUR 100 YEAR OLD TREES

Come join us bring friends, we need big numbers to attend.

Bring a sign. Express your outrage.
Let the mayor know that we will not be silent while our environment is destroyed. We need to get the media to pay attention. Please be peaceful and orderly. We need to be taken seriously, not looked at as "crazies".


EVENT: How Green is my City: A Talk with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
DATE: 1/15/08, 6:00 p.m.
ORGANIZATION: New-York Historical Society's
LOCATION: To get to The New-York Historical Society take B or C trains to 81st
Street or M10 bus to 77th Street; M79 to 81st and CPW.
INFO: 212-843-9216

Sal from Ridgewood

Gatekeeper said...

To the person who said,"I was at a meeting regarding this issue. The Parks Dept. gave 3 proposed options for what could be done with the 3 basins. The most eastern basin contains the endangered species. The middle basin, which also contains some of the endangered species is the only basin with water still in it. The last basin, most western, does not contain any endangered species."

That person must have been sleeping during the meeting. I just sent the the Queens Crapper the slide from the presentation with the map showing "endangered species" in basin 3.

Taxpayer said...

Bloomberg and Benepe keep using "obesity" as the excuse to destroy the environment: ripping out the trees, pouring concrete, installing cancer-causing turf.

Who said it is the mayor's (or any city employee's) job to cure obesity?

The reference to obesity is a vanity-marketing tactic to make people concentrate on their appearance, while these thieves are using our land and tax payments to enrich themselves and their buddies.

Only you and your doctor can deal with obesity. Or, does Bloomberg now practice medicine without a license?