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 NYNJHarbor.TribStudy@usace.army.mil, 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.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met on Monday, June 11, 2018, in the offices of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy at 543 Union Street.

Committee Members present:

David Briggs
Diane Buxbaum
Marlene Donnelly
Andrea Parker
Peter Reich
Triada Samaras
Brad Vogel
Sue Wolfe
Maryann Young

Guests:

Terri Thompson, National Grid

Item 1

Recommendation for CAG representative to Councilmember Levin’s Gowanus Visioning Committee.

Action

After a lengthy and spirited discussion, all agreed that the committee recommends Peter Reich as the representative. Dave will ask the CAG to vote on this at the next meeting.

Item 2

Time frame for an agreement between the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and EPA on the design (size) of the headhouse at the north end of the canal.

Action

After a second lengthy discussion on EPA and DEP’s role regarding a final design decision on the CSO facility at the head of the canal, and the timeline for such a decision, it was concluded that a question regarding the process will be posed to the EPA at the June 26 CAG general meeting. Dave will circulate suggested language for the question.

 

Gowanus Canal CAG Meeting
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street

Announcements:

Doug Sarno opened the meeting at 6:40.

The March meeting summary was approved with no revisions.

The April meeting summary was approved with no revisions.

Project Updates

Christos Tsiamis, Remedial Project Manager for EPA, presented the updates.

The visioning process must be a cooperative process. The CAG Resolution was also addressed to EPA – it is a community process. We think it should be an open meeting. EPA met with Council Member Levin and Ben Solotaire yesterday and made it clear that what was discussed was not approved layouts by EPA or the City. There are imperfections, and we hope that the broader community, in coordination with the CAG, will engage so that the community is assured EPA and the City are on the same page. The City’s Department of Environmental Protection said that DEP and EPA were not on the same page at that meeting.

Without most of you noticing, the bulk of sediment in the 4th Street Turning Basin has been removed. 10,000 cubic yards of sediment – averaging 600-700 cubic yards a day. We are very pleased with that. There is still some sediment at the corners and edges that require specialized equipment. A couple spots are in the native sediment. Under the general plan, EPA will stabilize these parts. Because of the smaller size of the pilot area, EPA has decided to excavate, so there’s going to be a depression and then stable material in the inside.

Following the specialized operations, they will lay the cap. Now they’re down 10-12 feet at the bottom. We are surprised how much debris was moved. Lots of plastic, wood, big rocks, tires, some items that were separated as potential archaeological elements.  A number of bricks with stamps, roll bearing, a port-hole from a ship (but no ship), a metal wheel from a car, odd metal parts. A fairly contemporary heat exchanger. There was a scrapyard right next to this location.

The Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) have been asked to stage the oversized items that cannot be shipped to New Jersey. EPA is willing to do a visit in the next week or so with the archaeology committee.

CAG: Does the surprising amount of debris change the speed of dredging?
EPA: We anticipate we will be able to separate and stabilize within two years according to the timeline – very happy with how this operation went. Remember, we have to put down three or four layers. Right now there are winds blowing, so that changes things. There was some damage to the Whole Foods esplanade – this is being worked out between Whole Foods and the PRPs; the agreement is that the original contractor and the PRPs are paying the whole cost.

CAG: Will that repair happen after the sheet piles go in at the Fourth Street Basin?
EPA: Unsure, but Whole Foods wants them in after the dredging but before the capping.

CAG: Will the metal barrier currently in place stay there?
EPA: They will be below the water level – the one in the barrier across will stay there until the 3rd Avenue Bridge work is finished, and will keep that cutoff wall under the bridge.

CAG: Is it safe for canoers? How far will the walls come out?
EPA: We want to make sure it is safe.

The other thing EPA promised was a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) about the building at the top of the canal within the footprint of the design of the detention tank. EPA does have drafts but is not sharing them yet – still lots of give and take and conversations. Some briefings as far as scheduling conflicts happened later than earlier, and EPA will circulate it in the next few days and send it to Doug.

We have been in touch with State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and have taken the CAG comments and incorporated all the comments. We will ask for further input on how we represented what the CAG has shared in approximately one month. We have had consultations for six months. As we promised and as Brian said, you’ll have the ability to provide input again, and EPA will come up with a final decision in mid-summer, probably by July.

Read more »

The New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) last week released its long-awaited outline for the Gowanus rezoning and neighborhood plan, Gowanus: A Framework for a Sustainable, Inclusive, Mixed-use Neighborhood.

According to the DCP website:

Gowanus: A Framework for a Sustainable, Inclusive, Mixed-use Neighborhood is a roadmap for potential goals and strategies, including recommended land use changes, to be developed and implemented as part of a Neighborhood Plan. The framework is the culmination of more than 100 hours of public outreach and community meetings to solicit input since the Gowanus PLACES Study launched in October 2016. (More information about the Gowanus PLACES Study is available on the Project Overview and Milestones tabs). It is informed by previous reports and studies, including Bridging Gowanus, and ongoing community efforts by government agencies and community stakeholders and organizations.

The vision laid out in this framework aims to foster a thriving, inclusive and more resilient Gowanus where existing and future residents and workers are able to participate in civic, cultural and economic activities and where a wholly unique resource – the Gowanus Canal – can thrive and play an active role in that equitable and sustainable growth.

The Department of City Planning will present an overview of the report to Brooklyn Community Board 6’s Executive Committee on Monday, June 11, at 6:30 p.m., at PS 32, 317 Hoyt Street, in Carroll Gardens.

You can download the complete report here: www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/plans/gowanus/gowanus-framework.page.