Tag Archives: New York City

Volunteers help build oyster reefs off Jamaica Bay

There’s a use for your old toilet.

WPIX-11, May 16th, 2018


The waterways around New York City get busier every day.

New ferry routes will be added later this summer in the Soundview section of the Bronx and on the Upper and Lower East Side.

But it’s the water quality that concerns some neighbors, so they’re volunteering their time to try and make it better one oyster at a time.

The “Billion Oyster Project” installs and cultivated oyster colonies around the harbor, including in the East River and around Jamaica Bay.

Oysters help filter the water and protect the shore. A century ago, they were plentiful until pollution drastically reduced the population. Volunteers and staff from the project have created the newest installation in Paerdegat Basin near Canarsie, Brooklyn.

In 2016, the city of New York’s Department of Environmental Protection participated in the creation of a giant reef in Jamaica Bay. Thousands of old toilets were smashed and used to create a home for oysters.

A department spokesperson says the project is going well and they’ll will be checking the colony in August.


Man Pleads Guilty to Poaching Deer on Staten Island

NBC New York, March 23rd, 2015


A Staten Island man has pleaded guilty to illegally killing a deer in what may be New York City’s first-ever poaching case.

David G. Oakes was ordered to pay $3,000 in fines after entering guilty pleas to several charges including illegal taking of a deer without a license and trespassing.

Oakes was arrested by state environmental conservation officers at Schmul Playground, in the Travis-Chelsea neighborhood on the west side of the island, on Nov. 11.

He declined comment to NBC 4 New York on Friday.

The Staten Island Advance reports that the man was nabbed after officers caught him dressed in camouflage, carrying a bow. He allegedly set up cans and bait piles to lure the deer into his sights, and had no hunting license.

The man hadn’t actually killed a deer when he was arrested, the Advance reports, but told police he had taken down an eight-point buck in the same spot a year before.

Oakes’ conviction comes as the city’s least populous borough sees an explosion in poaching instances, the Advance reports. The paper reports that at least one poacher killed a deer with a shotgun, but most illegal hunters have used crossbows and composite bows.

Hunting is illegal on Staten Island and in New York City’s other four boroughs. Westchester and Suffolk counties permit deer hunting, but only with a bow.

Deer populations have risen exponentially on Staten Island in recent years.

Levees Could Protect Lower Manhattan From Future Floods

CurbedNY, June 9th, 2014


If another Sandy-like storm hits New York City, the city government wants southern Manhattan to be much better protected than it was during the devastating 2012 hurricane, from which recovery is still incomplete. So, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency have an idea—they could not stress enough that this is just an idea—to extend Manhattan with a 1.3-mile-long living barrier made up of a multi-purpose levee system. Manhattan would be extended by fill, on top of which parkland, residential buildings, and office buildings would be built. This proposal was previously called Seaport City, but the moniker caused confusion about the plan—people thought, naturally, it would be a new neighborhood, like Battery Park City—and there is no mention of the name in the new study.

First: what is a multi-purpose levee? The report says:

An MPL is a high and wide standard river embankment, or a wall or bank of earth or stone, that is built to prevent flooding and designed to withstand flood overtopping [ed. note: this is when water rises over the top of a barrier]. In traditional designs, MPLs are passive, earthen levees that are about 30 times as wide as they are high. MPLs are designed to have an extended, gradual slope behind what would otherwise be a traditional levee on the edge of a water body. The extended slope essentially raises the land behind the traditional levee, providing structural reinforcement and a stable region that can be developed. This design allows for overtopping without complete failure because flowing water does not breach the levee but rather flows slowly across its top surface.
The levee system would run 1.3 miles from Whitehall Street at the Battery up the East River to Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side. Dan Zarrilli, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s director for ORR, told a small group of reporters on Thursday that these levees would be more practical and less intrusive than the idea of long system of very tall vertical barriers. Zarrilli said the city government wants us to remain a coastal harbor city.

Essentially, the island would be extended by fill, on top of which would be parkland, residential buildings, office buildings, and possibly more—that’s what is meant by “multi-purpose.” The basic land reclamation idea would mean a 250-foot extension at points, and further expansion could bring the extension to 500 feet if a platform were added. The report includes photos of MPLs in cities in the Netherlands and Japan, showing that the land closest to the water is used as public space, and the new buildings are on the opposite side of the slope.

It’s hoped that this system would protect southern Manhattan from a flood of 19 feet, which would be possible if a Sandy-like storm hit again in 100 years. Zarrilli said they can’t make the city “flood proof,” but “we can protect ourselves.”

The three biggest questions EDC and ORR wanted answered before proceeding to even propose this idea were 1: Would it work? 2: Was there a viable legal and environmental framework for it? and 3: Would there be a way to finance it?

Zarrilli said the answer to all of those was yes. They determined that not only would this system protect Manhattan, it would also not produce additional flooding across the East River. On the environment and legal issues, it would be a complex process, but not impossible. He said that financing would most likely be accomplished by a public/private partnership.

What’s next for this idea? There is quite a lot of environmental study still to be done and a lot has been done for the lengthy feasibility study (which you can read for yourself here). But first the city will be reaching out to the public. Zarrilli appeared before Community Board 1’s Planning Committee on Thursday evening and the idea will be presented to Community Board 3 in the near future. Plus other public hearings will no doubt be planned.