Given the similarities between Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal, this next installment in City Tech’s Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center’s series of free breakfast seminars may be of interest. More info and a link to register here:

Newtown Creek was designated as a Superfund site in 2010 as a result of pollution caused by decades of heavy waterfront industry and by its having served as a basin for the sewers of adjacent neighborhoods. For decades, community organizers and environmental activists have worked to address the Creek’s contamination crisis and mitigate the impact of damaging industrial pollution.

Join us on Friday, October 12th and hear representatives of Riverkeeper and the Newtown Creek Alliance discuss their comprehensive, four-part vision plan for the remediation and restoration of the Newtown Creek. The Plan emphasizes the importance of understanding the innate complexity of an industrial urban ecosystem, from storm surge vulnerability to community health outcomes. Learn how a balanced and safe environmental ecosystem can cohabitate with industry; why waterfront accessibility is so crucial to sustainability; and what role the local community can play in the process.

Chrissy Remein currently serves as New York City Water Quality Coordinator at Riverkeeper where she develops community and stakeholder-driven vision plans for Newtown Creek and Flushing Bay. Before graduate school, Remein worked as a program manager for nonprofits like the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and spent two years in Togo as a Peace Corps Natural Resource Management Volunteer.

Lisa Bloodgood currently serves as education coordinator for the Newtown Creek Alliance, where she focuses on community science-based research rooted in ecology, biodiversity, and restoration. She is the NY Co-Chair for the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program’s Community Advisory Council, and serves on both the Steering and Technical Committees for the EPA’s Newtown Creek Superfund Community Advisory Group (CAG). Bloodgood also volunteers as Vice-Chairperson of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth’s (NAG) Board of Directors.

As always, breakfast is on us.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Admin Committee met on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., in the Cobble Hill Community Room at 250 Baltic Street.

CAG Members present:

Ben Jones
Katia Kelly
Rita Miller
Maryann Young (CORD alternate)

1. Two new CAG membership applications were discussed: Matthew Loyd Thomas and Janet Aitchison.

A) Both recommended for approval

B) Committee discussed the possibility of reinterpreting the Charter regulations regarding the interview and voting process.
Committee suggests renaming interview… “introduction.”

Applicants will be called to the general meeting to introduce themselves.

Since the most relevant questions are already asked on the application, members should keep their questions along those lines, especially since most applicants do not respond to or answer them on the application. For example:
– What local or civic organizations do you belong to, or are affiliated with?
– What special skills or capabilities are you willing to contribute to the CAG?
– We should try to provide a blank copy of the application to hand out at the meeting.

Timing of voting and  protocol for notification of acceptance/rejection is not really spelled out in the charter, except to say that voting should be done at the “earliest possible meeting.”

There is no protocol for timing of informing the applicant of vote results.

Admin suggests that after introductions are made, Ben, who has most graciously agreed to be the spokesperson, will inform the new prospective member that we will review all candidates and notify them of the outcome before the next general meeting. Candidates will then leave the meeting.

Voting will continue to take place in their immediate absence but results will not be given to the applicants at that time.

Candidates will be advised afterward, and if accepted, invited to attend the next meeting as a new member.

2) Discussed the necessity to reactivate the Outreach Committee, since its role is vital in disseminating information not only to the community but within the CAG itself.

Example: some committees do not meet on a regular basis or will change a scheduled meeting, so there should be a mechanism whereby Outreach can notify all CAG members of an upcoming or altered meeting. Eric has done a wonderful job of posting these things on the website, but how many CAG members actually check the website to see if there’s a meeting coming up, or if something has been changed?

The website and Facebook page should mimic the same hard information: membership list, standing committee meetings, called committee meetings, EPA press releases, CAG resolutions, etc.

The website should also include:

—updated membership list
—updated email addresses for all organizational memberss – optional for individuals
—list of active committees including Facilitation
—indication of who is the facilitator for each committee
—committee minutes could be posted

3) Admin feels that the Facilitation committee has been working well, but we need to improve committee-level dissemination of information to one another. Again, an active Outreach Committee would be very helpful in this regard.

4) Admin also feels that the EPA-provided/National Grid-sponsored neutral facilitation should continue.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, in the offices of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy at 543 Union Street.

CAG Members present:

David Briggs
Louis Kleinman
Hildegaard Link
Andrea Parker
Triada Samaras
Susan Yung

Item 1

Discussed EPA’s TASC grant for the Gowanus Canal. Hildegaard: who is the grant administrator? (According to the original CAG minutes from several years ago, Wanda Ayala is the grant administrator.) Louis: who controls the money?


Dave will follow up with Doug Sarno.

Item 2

Louis: there is a concern about the lack of safety features (e.g. ladders, low walls, etc.) that the CAG has not addressed. Andrea suggested integrating soft shoreline technology at EPA’s bulkheads that will have the added benefit of increasing wildlife habitat. Recommendations will be passed along to private landowners.


A resolution will be drafted for CAG review. Dave will reach out to Owen Foote for assistance since the Gowanus Dredgers have been working on this issue.

Item 3

Triada: requested that a member of Councilmember Stephen Levin’s office attend the CAG meetings. It was pointed out that Ben Solotaire has attended most of the recent meetings.


Dave will pass along the request to Doug Sarno.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in the offices of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy at 543 Union Street.

CAG Members present:

David Briggs
Marlene Donnelly
Rafael Gomez de Luna
Katia Kelly
Hildegaard Link
Andrea Parker
Peter Reich
Brad Vogel
Maryann Young


Terri Thomson, National Grid
Amy Motzny

Item 1

Editing of draft resolution for community visioning process.


Dave will revise and circulate an updated version prior to the next CAG meeting.

Item 2

Design details of Headhouse/Retention Tank Facility have not been shared by City.


Committee will further discuss at next meeting and at March CAG meeting.

Item 3

EPA’s request for CAG’s position on the mitigation of 234 Butler Street.


After the Archaeology committee resolution is considered at the next CAG meeting, Land Use committee will decide if further comment is required.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group is holding three committee meetings during the week of September 10th, all taking place on Wednesday, September 12th.

At 9:30 a.m., the CAG’s Administration Committee will hold one of its periodic meetings in the Cobble Hill Community Room at 250 Baltic Street.

At 6:30 p.m., the CAG’s Archaeology Committee will hold its regular monthly meeting at Mary Star of the Sea, 41 1st Street, in Carroll Gardens.

And at 7:00 p.m., the CAG’s Water Quality/Technical Committee will hold its regular monthly meeting, also at Mary Star of the Sea.

The public is always welcome at CAG meetings. Please join us!

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended the public comment period until September 20th for comment on the USACE’s proposed Coastal Storm Risk Management Measures.

From the USACE website:

The New York New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries focus area feasibility study, which will include a tiered Environmental Impact Statement, is evaluating five initial alternatives, which currently are comprised of measures that address severe coastal storm risks for specific geographic regions within the study area, in addition to the no action alternative.  These five alternatives encompass a variety of water- and land-based measures identified throughout the estuary at areas of high projected coastal storm risk and include combinations of shoreline structures, such as beach nourishment, levees, floodwalls and seawalls, and storm-surge barriers.

Scoping Comments can be submitted via email to, or by mail to:

Nancy Brighton
Room 2151
US Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
26 Federal Plaza
New York, New York 10278

Comments received by September 20th will be considered and incorporated into the draft report anticipated to be released in November 2018. Comments received after this date will be included with the comments received during the public review of the draft report.

More info at the USACE’s project page.

Earlier today, the City of New York submitted the final version of its NYC Stormwater Management Program Plan to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The Plan is intended to guide the continued improvement of the health of New York Harbor. The Plan is the City’s first comprehensive effort to reduce pollution in stormwater runoff in areas served by the municipal separate storm sewer system. Click the image to view a PDF version of the full report.

Media advisory from the EPA:

EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez will be at the Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, New York, one of the nation’s most seriously contaminated bodies of water, on Monday, July 23, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. with other dignitaries to discuss the progress of the dredging and capping pilot project. The media are invited to witness the ongoing project at the Gowanus Canal’s Fourth Street Turning Basin (located at the intersection of 4th St. and 3rd Ave). The pilot project will help inform EPA on how best to clean up the rest of the canal.

What: View and discuss the pilot project at the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. Photo op, question and answers with EPA leadership and subject-matter experts, site tour.

Who: EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez, Dan Wiley, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez’s District Director for Southwest Brooklyn and a community representative

When/Where: Monday, July 23, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at 214 3rd St, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11215. On the banks of the Gowanus Canal next to the Whole Foods supermarket parking lot overlooking the Fourth Street Turning Basin.