The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Support from the EDF

At our request, the Environmental Defense Fund sent a letter to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. As more individuals, organizations and politicians rally around our cause, the greater the likelihood that historic Ridgewood Reservoir will be protected:


To:    Joelle Byrer, NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Queens Capital Team Leader,
         Jonna Carmona-Graf, NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Chief of Capital Program Management,
         Bram Gunther, NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Chief of Forestry, Horticulture, and  Natural Resources Group,
         Venetia Lannon, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Region 2 Director,

From: James T.B. Tripp, Senior Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund
         Aaron Stanton, Ford Foundation Fellow, Environmental Defense Fund

July 17, 2014
Re: Proposed Ridgewood Reservoir Construction

We understand that the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are preparing to construct three culverts and an access road in the Ridgewood Reservoir to diminish a potential flooding problem and re-classify the Class C dam structure as a Class D structure.

We also understand that the reservoir is a unique and valuable natural resource and community amenity.  As noted on the DPR website, the reservoir is home to “wetland plants, some found on the Threatened and Endangered lists,” and it serves as a link in the Atlantic Flyway for numerous species of migratory birds.  See Ridgewood Reservoir: A Brief History, N.Y.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, (last visited July 17, 2014).

Considering the reservoir’s ecological value, as well as concern from members of the community over potential damage resulting from the proposed work, we are requesting assurances from DPR and DEC that the construction will not materially affect the quality or condition of the former reservoir’s wetland environment.

Additionally, we understand that community members have requested that DEC include the reservoir on the New York State freshwater wetland map, but that DEC has not gotten to this request because of staffing shortages and Hurricane Sandy-related work.  While we are sympathetic to the volume of work generated by Sandy, as nearly two years have passed since that event, we encourage the Department to consider this request as soon as possible.  The reservoir merits the Department’s consideration in this respect, as it is larger than 12.4 acres and is of “unique local importance.”  See N.Y. Envtl. Conserv. Law § 24-0301 (McKinney 2014).

We appreciate your consideration of these requests.


James T.B. Tripp     Aaron Stanton
Senior Counsel      Ford Foundation Fellow


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