Gowanus Canal CAG Meeting
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street

EPA Updates

Updates on the Fourth Street Basin

Work is being planned at the extension of Fourth Street Basin by Whole Foods and the other side of the Third Avenue Bridge (National Grid is conducting the work). The Record of Decision (ROD) calls for the restoration of the Fourth Street Basin on the Park Slope side of the bridge.

  • When EPA conducted the initial investigation, they only installed one sampling point to help identify the presence of contamination.
  • During the design phase, EPA goes back and collects confirmatory information that might be needed to help in the design. EPA has now added six or seven additional borings to see how far the contamination goes toward Fourth Avenue.
  • The borings are 50 feet deep. EPA is collecting soil cores, making observations, and sending them to lab for testing. EPA will also install wells for testing.
  • The work in the Fourth Street Basin will evaluate methods for removing debris, while also removing all debris in the basin. The work is planned to start August 15 but will move toward the end of August or beginning of September. EPA will notify the community and businesses around the basin before starting work.
  • EPA has received several requests from property owners who need to upgrade their bulkheads. One of them is at the Fourth Street Basin, at a property that used to be a scrap metal facility. The new owners will build a storage facility and want to upgrade their bulkheads. The second request is from 450 Union Street on the bridge side of Carroll Gardens – EPA has received preliminary drawings.
  • EPA met with the City this week under a new order for the retention tank. This was an engineers’ meeting. EPA submitted additional requests for explanations of the City’s design; between now and the next meeting (in September), the goal is to define the basis of the design and resolve differences over how tanks will be built.

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At its September 27, 2016 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution, originally proposed by the CAG’s Land Use Committee.

Whereas the CAG adopted the following resolution in May, 2012:

“The Superfund cleanup should be consistent with and advance current and future plans for ecological restoration, shoreline softening, riparian buffers, expanded wetlands, habitat restoration, and increased public access pursuant to the goals of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Restoration Plan and the community’s emerging vision for the waterway.”

Resolved, that the CAG, building on this resolution and in response to EPA’s June 28, 2016 presentation to the Gowanus CAG, has the following specific goals for the restoration of the 1st Street Turning Basin:

  • that the form and elevation of the restored wetland support the range of salt marsh species and shorebirds that thrive across the littoral zone;
  • that the bulkheads provide a surface to support marine life, specifically mussels, oysters, and juvenile fish;
  • that the footprint and bathymetry of the turning basin be designed to promote natural water flow and discourage stagnation; and
  • that there be a clear plan and funding allocated to regular maintenance and performance monitoring to promote wetland health and manage debris;

Consequently, we ask that the City of New York:

  • adjust preliminary designs as necessary to meet the above goals;
  • take the impact of global warming into account, particularly sea level rise, when planning for the above goals;
  • work with a coastal wetland specialist to model and maximize the ecological performance of the excavated turning basin;
  • work with the adjacent property owners to identify potential for coordination of topography, planting and other landscape features; and
  • provide the CAG with detailed information about how the above actions are being performed.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, in the offices of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy at 543 Union Street.

CAG Members present: David Briggs, Rafael Gomez de Luna, Katia Kelly, Rita Miller, Andrea Parker, Peter Reich, Deb Scotto, Mark Shames, Sue Wolfe, Maryann Young

Guests: Terri Thomson, National Grid; Louis Kleinman, CAG/Waterfront Alliance

Item 1

Review of July 11, 2016 meeting minutes.

Action

Minutes approved without comments.

Item 2

1st Street turning basin: Andrea presented three design options prepared by the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and compared them to the turning basin design presented by the EPA at June’s CAG meeting. The pros and cons of each scheme were discussed.

Action

Representatives of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Gowanus by Design, and the 280 Tenants Association offered to reach out to the adjacent property owner to learn how the options would affect their development plans.

Item 3

1st Street turning basin: EPA presented an initial design concept at the June CAG meeting. The committee discussed how this concept was developed and which agencies are responsible for its further development.

Action

Dave will contact Christos Tsiamis and ask him which city, state, and federal agencies generated the design and who has final approval prior to its implementation.

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The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met on Monday, July 11, 2016, in the offices of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy at 543 Union Street.

CAG Members present: David Briggs, Rafael Gomez de Luna, Andrea Parker, Peter Reich, Buddy Scotto, Mark Shames

Guests: Terri Thomson, National Grid; Louis Kleinman, CAG/Waterfront Alliance; Chris Anderson, Gowanus Canal Conservancy

Item 1

Review of June 7, 2016 meeting minutes.

Action

Minutes approved without comments.

Item 2

1st Street turning basin: Land use strategies were suggested, including a salt marsh, direct entry/access from Third Avenue, mitigation of flooding, public access, creating natural contours at mouth of basin, maintaining water quality, ease of maintenance, and flushing mechanism at head of basin.

Action

Andrea, Peter, Chris, and Dave will meet to further discuss strategies.

Item 3

Bulkheads: The committee discussed different bulkhead types, their respective locations, and calculations regarding the amount of water surface area that is displaced by new bulkhead construction.

Action

Dave will contact Christos Tsiamis of EPA.

Item 4

Powerhouse: The organization is in the process of developing a new creative arts center that abuts the canal and 1st Street turning basin.

Action

Andrea will reach out to the Executive Director at Powerhouse and request a meeting to coordinate their landscape designs with the EPA’s proposed work at the turning basin.

Please join us for the regular monthly meeting of the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Outreach & Education Committee. We’ll be meeting in the offices of the Fifth Avenue Committee, at 621 Degraw Street, in Conference Room A on the 2nd floor.

We’ll be brainstorming about the future of the Outreach Committee, trying to decide upon the best day-and-time options for upcoming committee meetings, and discussing key initiatives for outreach to the broader community.

As always, this meeting is open to the public.

Please join us for our September General Meeting, on Tuesday, September 27, 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)

5:45 PM: Facilitation Team Pre-Meeting

6:30 – 6:45 PM: Introductions 

  • Introductions
  • Approve minutes from the July 2016 CAG General Meeting

6:45 – 7:15 PM: Project Updates

  • EPA

7:15 – 8:00 PM: Discuss CAG Comments on Gowanus Canal 1st Street Turning Basin Restoration

8:00 – 8:30 PM: CAG Committee Updates (as needed)

  • Administration Committee
  • Archaeology Committee (discuss future of committee)
  • Land Use Committee
  • Outreach Committee
  • Water Quality and Technical Committee

8:30 PM: Adjourn

 

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Gowanus Canal CAG Meeting
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street

Introductions and CAG Updates

  • May minutes are approved

EPA Updates

Preliminary Design for the First Street Basin

  • The 475 foot long 1st Street Basin is currently filled (used to be next to the Power House, across from the Lightstone development)
  • One condition in the EPA Record of Decision (ROD) is the restoration and excavation of the 1st Street Basin and connecting it to the main canal
  • The work is being done by the City under EPA’s oversight (currently at the design stage)
  • The Basin is surrounded on all sides by private property – public access will be via the Canal
  • Restoration will roughly follow the footprint of existing property lines
  • Will do surveys and look at site conditions so as not to interfere with foundations
  • Water depth will match main channel depth after remediation (approximately 40 feet)
  • In past discussions, the community expressed a desire for a soft bank; EPA will construct a 10-foot wide bank alongside the Power House because that location is open land – on the other side there will be a bulkhead (there is no room due to new construction on the site)
  • With a single shelf, it may be feasible to create a terrace (EPA will look into it)
  • A cap will be installed, similar to the main Canal
  • A wetland shelf will be constructed

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The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s next committee meeting will be a gathering of the Water Quality & Technical Committee, which will take place on Monday, September 12, at 7:00 p.m.

The meeting will take place at the Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, at 41 1st Street, in Carroll Gardens.

The agenda for the meeting is TBD. All Gowanus CAG meetings are open to the public.