The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Admin Committee met via Zoom conference on Monday, November 30th, at 10:00 a.m.

Committee members attending:
Katia Kelly
Rita Miller

Guest:
Margaret Maugenest (who has expressed an interest to join the committee, this marking her first meeting)

1) Discussion regarding new member applications

There were nine (9) applications submitted over the last several months.
Three applicants were asked via email to provide more information and resubmit – as of today none of them replied. Admin will make one more attempt today to reach out to them [NOTE: REQUESTS SENT OUT TODAY]

Of the remaining six (6) Admin submitted their comments to the general CAG but no action was taken by the group as of yet

One of the six, a gentleman representing an upstate marine engineering firm, was not recommended by Admin for approval

The remaining five (5) were recommended for approval.

Since then, we have recently received two (2) additional applications – one from a former, founding CAG member who is ready to return, and one from a local Gowanus Dredger. They both wish to join as at large members. Admin recommends both of these two new applicants for approval.

In order to expedite all of these applications, Admin is asking that each application be circulated to each CAG member for review (via an email sent by our Facilitator), requesting that we forego the interview process, and requesting that the CAG express their approval or not of Admin’s recommendations of applicant group. If this can be done by the December meeting, great – if not, then the January meeting for sure. [NOTE: DOUG HAS CIRCULATED APPLICATIONS TODAY]

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The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Admin Committee met via Zoom conference on Friday, September 18th, at 10:00 a.m.

Committee members attending:
Jerry Armer
Ben Jones
Katia Kelly
Rita Miller

1) Committee reviewed and approved final Addendum to Charter

2) Committee reviewed nine (9) CAG applications – will report to general group

Regarding applications –
Discussed the need to elaborate on the application to include the following:
• the CAG mission printed onto the top of the application

Add the following two (2) questions:
• How did you hear or learn about the Gowanus Canal CAG?
• What is it about the CAG’s mission that motivates you at this point in time to join and what would you like to contribute to its stated mission?

Finally, Admin annually sends out the CAG Membership Survey in October. Since COVID has changed so much for so many during the membership year, Admin would like the CAG to discuss the possible suspension of the survey and its subsequent attendance review for the 2019-2020 year.

EPA Region 2 issued the following press release yesterday in conjunction with the start of dredging of the Gowanus Canal.

NEW YORK – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator Pete Lopez, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, New York State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, New York City Councilmember Brad Lander, members of the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group and other dignitaries marked the start of dredging operations in the upper portion of the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn, New York, by the Carroll Street bridge. This is a major milestone in the history of one of the nation’s most contaminated waterways. It is anticipated that the dredging in this portion of the Canal will be completed in fall 2022, with capping to be completed in mid-2023.

“Today we mark the official start of a historic cleanup to address a legacy of hazardous waste and urban pollution that dates back to the 1800s,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “EPA’s partnership with local, state, and federal entities through constructive engagement and community engagement has been the hallmark of this successful collaboration. This achievement demonstrates the progress of the Superfund program and EPA’s commitment to protecting human health and the revitalization of the Gowanus and Red Hook communities.”

“We’ve come a long way to get where we are today. Full scale dredging is a welcome and long-awaited step toward full cleanup of the polluted Gowanus Canal,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.  “Though this project is years from completion, we are on an ambitious timeline for cleanup of our first Superfund site in the City. I would like to extend my thanks to EPA and the community for their commitment to the health of our community. Together, we’ll achieve a cleaner city for years to come.” 

“The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group is deeply gratified that dredging of the upper portion of the canal is getting underway today,” said Founding Member Eric McClure. “The start of dredging comes just over 10 years from the date of the first meeting of the Community Advisory Group, and many founding CAG members are still actively providing EPA with community input. We’ve looked forward to this day for a long time, as it marks the beginning of the actual removal of contaminants from the canal, and while we know the complete cleanup will by necessity proceed for another decade, we’re excited that a cleaner, healthier Gowanus Canal is on the horizon. We thank the EPA for their steadfast commitment to a clean canal, and for their partnership in reaching this historic moment and in the work ahead. It’s truly a momentous day for Gowanus.”

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The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group is deeply gratified that dredging of the upper portion of the canal is getting underway today. It’s truly a momentous day for Gowanus. The start of dredging comes just over 10 years from the date of the first meeting of the Community Advisory Group, which convened in October, 2010, and many founding CAG members are still engaged and actively providing EPA with the community’s point of view. We’ve looked forward to this day for a long time, as it marks the beginning of the actual removal of contaminants from the canal, and while we know the complete cleanup will by necessity proceed for another decade, we’re excited that a cleaner, healthier Gowanus Canal is on the horizon. We thank the EPA for their steadfast commitment to a clean canal, and for their partnership in reaching this historic moment and in the work ahead.

We’d specifically like to extend our gratitude to the EPA staff we’ve worked so closely with from day one: Project Manager Christos Tsiamis, Community Involvement Coordinator Natalie Loney, Assistant Regional Counsel Brian Carr, and Deputy Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan. And while he’s a relative newcomer, we greatly appreciate the leadership of Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.

We’d also like to thank Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, who was instrumental in the canal’s designation as a Superfund site, as well as Council Members Brad Lander and Steve Levin and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, among others, for their ongoing support. Thank you, too, to CAG Facilitator Doug Sarno, for always keeping us moving in the right direction.

For those unfamiliar with the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, we’re the official community forum for dialogue among representatives of all segments of the community about the federal Superfund clean-up of the canal. We formed soon after the Gowanus Canal was designated a Superfund site, and are the largest U.S. EPA Superfund Community Advisory Group in the nation. We’re comprised of representatives from civic, environmental, business and community organizations, as well as individual members, from neighborhoods around the Canal, including Red Hook, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Park Slope.

We’re excited today for the start of dredging, and what it means for the future of this long-neglected body of water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin dredging operations in the main channel of the Gowanus Canal north of the 3rd Street Bridge on November 16, 2020.

Dredging will begin just south of the Carroll Street bridge and will continue between the Carroll and Union Street bridges, followed by dredging north of the Union Street bridge and further dredging between the Carroll and 3rd Street bridges. An excavator mounted on a platform barge will remove contaminated sediment from the bottom of the canal.

Click the image below to see the complete EPA Fact Sheet for the Phase 1 dredging of the upper canal.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met via Zoom conference on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

CAG Members present:

David Briggs
Katia Kelly
Louis Kleinman
Hildegaard Link
Steve Marcus
Margaret Maugenest
Rita Miller
Andrea Parker
Brad Vogel
Maryann Young

Guests:

Jo Corona
Owen Foote
Brad Hamilton
Maria Hodermarska
Sandye Renz
Miranda Sielaff
Talli Somekh
Terri Thomson (National Grid)

Open Items:

Item 1

Peter Reich had asked a question regarding land ownership at the waterfront where the canal will be narrowed to accommodate new bulkhead installation. Who will own the area between the old bulkhead and the new bulkhead? How will this additional area be factored into open space requirements for future zoning and development?

Action

Based on a conversation with the Department of City Planning in July, Dave reported that: a) any bulkhead encroachment will not increase building FAR, b) property will be owned by the City but may be maintained by property owner (they will decide this on a case-by-case basis), c) City will indemnify property owner for its use/access of property, and d) depth of encroachment will be added to required esplanade depth.

Item 2

Brad inquired if reduced NYC budget will impact the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s headhouse design and construction cost.

Action

EPA shared correspondence between it and DEP regarding the timeline. Andrea reported that the Water Quality Committee is drafting a resolution in response to the correspondence. No discussion about how the City’s reduced budget will impact the design and construction cost of the retention tank facilities.

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The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met via Zoom conference on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

CAG Members present:

David Briggs
Louis Kleinman
Steve Marcus
Andrea Parker
Peter Reich
Brad Vogel
Sue Wolfe
Maryann Young

Guests:

Terri Thomson (National Grid)

Open Items:

Item 1

5th Street turning basin (carried over from August meeting). The current draft of the resolution was reviewed with a discussion on who would pay for the construction and maintenance of the new bulkheads.

Action

Revisions were approved. Andrea and Brad will finalize the language and submit it for a vote at the September CAG meeting.

Item 2

Gowanuslands presentation for new park at Public Place. Dave voiced his objections to the committee’s August decision to invite Gowanuslands for a CAG presentation. In Dave’s opinion, the proposed park is outside the purview of the CAG, since it does not propose any Superfund remediation strategies.

Action

None required.

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