The city may not need to cut culverts and roads through the green oasis in order to stave off the potential risk of flooding, state officials said this week.
It marked the first sign of victory for the activists who have been battling for seven years to protect the untamed 50-acre site, which has grown into a natural woodland since the reservior was closed more than two decades ago.
“There aren’t wild places left like this is New York,” said activist Robb Jett, who founded Save the Ridgewood Reservoir. “There’s more to gain to keep it as a natural area.”
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens told lawmakers the area could be reclassified as a low-risk dam, a distinction that would eliminate the need for flooding mitigation measures currently required by state law.
The state will make that decision after it completes a review of information provided by the city Parks Department.
The news comes in time to head off a $6 million Parks project — mandated by the state — that opponents said would destroy the reservoir’s delicate ecosystem.
Another activist, Christina Wilkinson, convinced eight local lawmakers earlier this year to sign a letter to Gov. Cuomo detailing the importance of preserving the site.