The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, in the offices of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy at 543 Union Street.

Committee Members present: David Briggs, Andrea Parker, Peter Reich, Buddy Scotto, Sue Wolfe

Guests: Terri Thomson, National Grid

Item 1

Review of October 4, 2016 meeting minutes.


Minutes approved with one modification to include Erica Stoltz’s inquiry to DOT if any consideration had been given to naming the new Union Street Bridge in memory of Bette Stoltz.

Item 2

The heights of the new bulkheads along the canal were discussed.


It was agreed that the Department of City Planning probably regulates this.

Item 3

Peter suggested a floating garden for the 1st Street turning basin. Andrea pointed out that NOAA is responsible for the ecological restoration of the Superfund site post clean up; gardens, wetlands, etc. could be created.


Andrea will contact Carl Alderson and ask him to present at a Water Quality Committee meeting; date to be confirmed. Andrea will also invite Catherine Zinnel (Council Member Brad Lander’s office) and Kevin Clarke (DEP) to present to the committee about the turning basin.

Item 4

Two staging areas may be required for the dredging and retention tank installations at the north end of the canal.


Terri Thomson will be find out.

Item 5

A resolution for preserving the trees around the Thomas Greene Playground was discussed.


Dave will prepare a draft and circulate.


The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee meets tonight, February 7, 2017, at 6:30 p.m., at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, located at 543 Union Street (enter via the alleyway on Nevins Street).

On the meeting agenda: a discussion about the Committee’s mission statement and name, potential Natural Resource Damage Assessment funding for restoration of the Canal’s ecology, and more.

All Gowanus Canal CAG meetings are open to the public.  Join us!

Gowanus Canal CAG Meeting
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street

CAG Facilitator Doug Sarno opened the meeting at 6:40 p.m. CAG members and guests introduced themselves.

The minutes of the October CAG meeting were approved.


  • Waterfront Alliance – Holiday Party Dec. 7, 2016 in office

EPA Updates

Christos Tsiamis, EPA Remedial Project Manager for the Gowanus Canal cleanup, provided the update.

4th Street Turning Basin Pilot Project

EPA has begun the debris removal pilot project near the basin next to the Whole Foods, which will take place for several months. The first phase of the pilot is for larger debris removal, and EPA has successfully removed all of the targets that were previously identified by sonar technology. During the dredging we also found a number of large rocks and some metal that were removed.

Overall, the project was successful from many points of view:

  • Able to move within small area of the basin
  • EPA took measurements around the basin for air monitoring every few minutes
  • No delays once we began the work.

Upon completion, we unloaded debris found in the canal which is still waiting for an assessment to decide if the debris can move off site.

EPA tried to remove sediment at the front portion of the basin – the mouth of the basin that joins the main canal. We dug two feet deep in order to evaluate different types of buckets for dredging the canal. The material that was moved was placed in containers in the canal and transported to Public Place, where it was mixed with cement to stabilize it – mix material to stabilize and determine if it is usable material elsewhere (landfills, etc). We are still reviewing the chemical tests to see if it is suitable for disposal in landfills.

Read more »

At its January 24, 2017 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution, originally proposed by the CAG’s Land Use Committee.

Whereas the community has lost a significant number of mature trees recently with the construction of the high level storm sewer along Third Avenue and Carroll Street; and 

Whereas the construction operations for a comprehensive remediation of the coal tar under the Douglass & Degraw Pool in the Thomas Greene Playground [Park] could impact the approximately 30 mature and highly productive London Plane trees in and around the Park;  

Resolved, that the EPA Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group [CAG] requests that all regulatory agencies having jurisdiction over the affected area and actions coordinate and manage the remediation to preserve as many London Plane trees as possible in and around the Park. Additionally, the CAG requests that there will not be an overall loss of trees and new trees will be planted that are better suited to survive the conditions in an environment subject to frequent flooding.

Please join us for our next General Meeting, on Tuesday, January 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street, in Carroll Gardens. All of our meetings are open to the public.

DRAFT AGENDA (all times are approximate)

6:30 – 6:45 PM: Introductions

  • Introductions
  • Approval of November meeting minutes

6:45 – 7:00 PM: Project Updates, Q&A

  • EPA 

7:00 – 7:30 PM: Land Use Committee Proposed Resolution

  • Resolution on Thomas Greene Playground (see text of the proposed resolution below)

7:30 PM: CAG Annual Operations Review

  • CAG Distribution Lists
  • Facilitation Committee Members
  • Membership, Attendance, Committee Assignments
  • Resolution Process

8:30 PM: Adjourn

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Outreach Committee met on Friday, December 9, at 8:30 a.m., at the offices of the Fifth Avenue Committee, at 621 Degraw Street. The agenda included planning for a community orientation/re-orientation to be held at the February 2017 CAG meeting, and a discussion of plans for EXPO Gowanus 2017.

Committee Members Present

Sabine Aronowsky
Michelle de la Uz
Katia Kelly
Eric McClure
Maria Pagano
Christine Petro

EPA Representatives Present

Natalie Loney



Recap of December 8 Department of City Planning meeting on Gowanus Resiliency and Sustainability.

Should we invite DCP to participate in the February re-orientation? How about DEP? Or should we save that for the March CAG meeting?

Should we plan the orientation as a community meeting separate from the CAG monthly meeting? Who would facilitate, assuming that Doug’s presence isn’t funded.

The original concept for the February meeting was a status and recap from EPA. Should this be something different?

Natalie: There’s a lot happening at breakneck speed. The canal cleanup. Potential eminent domain condemnations (for construction of CSO retention tanks; at Wyckoff Gardens for infill development). Rezoning. It’s very confusing to people. Maybe an update on the cleanup can serve as the jumping-off point for a meeting that has a broader focus.

The objective of the meeting is to educate and inform the community about the canal cleanup, and how it relates to rezoning and development, resiliency, etc.

Read more »

Gowanus Canal CAG Meeting
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street


  • September minutes approved.

CAG Announcements

  • A petition to rename part of Union Street to Bette Stoltz Way was distributed.
  • Message from former CAG member Angela Murphy – she misses the CAG.
  • Admin Committee requests response to this year’s member survey.
  • Newtown Creek CAG will put together an informal meeting of area CAG groups early next year.

EPA Updates

  • EPA has started the debris removal study and will use the results in planning the overall Canal cleanup.
  • The subcontractors on this project got a late start. The original plan was to take all debris to the staging area but that would really delay the process. The new approach is to ask National Grid to bring a staging barge to the project area; they started removing debris on Monday. Once they finish loading, the debris will be taken for disposal. They expect to finish before Thanksgiving.
  • EPA will continue with the next stages – dredging of soft material and capping, along with some support of bulkheads. That work will be finished by the end of 2017. Then we will have all of the information to start planning for the start of dredging at the top of the Canal.
  • Air-monitoring stations near Whole Foods are monitoring emissions that may be coming from the work; we are monitoring for volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, ammonia, and dust particulates – we get readings every 15 minutes. EPA had four days of air-quality measurements before beginning on Monday, which are being used to establish background levels. After two days of operation, EPA has not noticed any incidents.
  • EPA is removing targeted debris (from a previous sonar scan of the bottom). We’re going to use regular dredging buckets along the Canal. At the bridge, we’re going to use different techniques in order to not damage the structure.
  • One private party will be replacing their bulkhead (the new owner of the scrap-metal operation in the southern part of the basin). A Cube Smart self-storage facility will be going up there.
  • Over the summer, EPA will work at the extension of the 4th Street basin and the 5th street basin. We will excavate and restore the basin to 20 feet beyond the 3rd Avenue bridge (we have flexibility to adjust that length). EPA has conducted an investigation with National Grid and went over 100 feet further from the point of the sample. Right now, we are interpreting the results.
  • EPA found some petroleum contamination at the 30-foot layer. This geological layer has a high quantity of organic matter. We are assessing the extent and will update the CAG once we’ve come to conclusions and decisions.
  • EPA is working with the city to open and restore the 1st Street basin. Land Use Committee recommendations, approved by the CAG, have been sent to the City. We will try to address the following points: to support marine life and wet-life species. We can provide areas to support marine life at the bottom of the Canal – it doesn’t necessarily need to be in the bulkheads. There are recommendations for a shelf on the Power House side, which would be a habitat. The proposed width is 10 feet. There’s also a possibility of a 20-foot wide shelf (the whole basin is 50 feet wide).

Read more »

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Outreach Committee met on Thursday, November 10, at 6:30 p.m., at the offices of the Fifth Avenue Committee, at 621 Degraw Street. The agenda included choosing future meeting dates/times, brainstorming the future of the Outreach Committee, and a discussion of key initiatives for outreach to the broader community, including holding a community orientation/re-orientation at the February 2017 CAG meeting.

Committee Members Present

Stefan Doering
Rafael Gomez de Luna
Eric McClure

Eric will create and circulate a Doodle poll for future best meeting dates and times.

Eric will review Outreach Committee attendance. Most listed members of the committee have failed to meet the required 50% attendance commitment. Will submit attendance info to the Admin Committee.

Is there a way to track whether CAG member are pushing out information to their constituents and the community at large? Every organizational CAG member needs to be distributing notices and materials. How do we hold them to account? Read more »

Please join us for our next General Meeting, on Tuesday, November 29, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street, in Carroll Gardens. All of our meetings are open to the public.

DRAFT AGENDA (all times are approximate)

6:30 – 6:45 PM: Introductions

  • Introductions
  • Approve minutes from October

6:45 – 7:30 PM: Project Updates, Q&A

  • EPA

7:30 – 8:00 PM: Land Use Committee Proposed Resolution

  • Resolution on Thomas Greene Playground

8:00 PM: CAG Committee Updates

  • Administration Committee
  • Archaeology Committee
  • Land Use Committee
  • Outreach Committee
  • Water Quality and Technical Committee

8:30 PM: Adjourn