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

Friday, September 5, 2014

New York Daily News Article

The New York Daily News also just published a good story about recent developments with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation:

Ridgewood Reservoir could keep its wild appeal under new state plan

Advocates for the green oasis on the Brooklyn-Queens border have been fighting to preserve the natural parkland. State officials say the city may not need to cut culverts as part of an anti-flooding plan they originally mandated. State Department of Environmental Conservation will consider reclassifying the site as a non-hazardous dam.

BY Lisa L. Colangelo
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 8:33 PM

The Ridgewood Reservoir may get to stay wild.

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.

More than 150 species of migratory and resident birds use the lush area, Jett said.

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.

“This new plan will be great for the community because it preserves the natural environment of the park, prevents any new development,” said Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, who signed the letter. “And most importantly, (it) saves our taxpayers over $6 million.”

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