What does BCEQ do anyhow?

April 9th, 2018 Posted in Board Meetings, Bronx Parks Speak Up Learn Up, Communications Committee Work, Front Page News, Harlem River BOA, Harlem River Long Term Control Plan, Harlem River Working Group, Harlem River Yards Park Greenway, Low Impact Development, Membership Committee, Parks Committee, Projects, sustainable parks, Van Cortlandt Park, Water Committee, Yankee Stadium Redevelopment

What to know what the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality (BCEQ) is?  Now’s your chance!  On Wednesday, April 11, they will hold an Environmental Conference that is open to the public.   Once a year, they hold a membership meeting.  In order to make it more interesting, we hold a conference on many environmental and conservation topics.  We invite the public.  We serve food courtesy of our sponsors.  Food is usually served midway during the meeting.

What can you do when you are wronged? 

Do you ever wonder if the Harlem River or any of our Bronx Rivers and streams are fishable and swimmable? Well we will be getting an update on the case protecting NYS water quality standards:  Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Pruitt, in which BCEQ is a named plaintiff. This lawsuit seeks to force the Environmental Protection Agency to disapprove New York State’s outdated and insufficient water quality standards for disease causing pathogens in surface waters, and ensure the adoption of standards that protect the human health of people seeking to recreate in New York State waters. Marina V. Stinely, J.D. Candidate 2018, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University, Legal Intern, Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, Inc. will provide an update on this litigation.

Are you confused as to why we are losing parks to large buildings and other non- park uses?  This meeting will also feature an announcement of our court case.  Protecting Pier 5 Parkland  will be an update on BCEQ’s lawsuit to stop the City from pushing through development on a Harlem River Waterfront park without providing new parkland in its place.  Because Pier 5 was previously been designated as parkland, the Public Trust Doctrine requires the City to get State Legislative approval before changing its use.  For about a decade, the land was marked as a planned extension of Mill Pond Park and the community was told it would be built out once the City could afford it.  The land is on a high risk floodplain and the proposed development would place about 1,045 families there.  Since there are nearby safer, city-owned locations for the housing, the BCEQ would like to see the housing placed on higher ground, and for the City to keep its promise to develop the shoreline park. Anne Nacinovich and Roland Nimis of Bronx Legal Services will provide an update on the litigation.

What can you do to protect natural resources?

Ever walk take a walk along the Putnam Trail in Vannie and notice the mass of green growing all around?  Well that is algae, and it needs to be taken care of, both at Vannie and other water bodies.  Come learn from our ecologists about Van Cortlandt Park Lake and the Harlem River.

We will watch a presentation about putting Van Cortlandt Park Lake on a Diet, and discuss how we can take care of the Lake and its wetland systems.  We will have time to discuss volunteer opportunities, or just nature walks.  This presentation is by John Butler of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park.  This is a project that BCEQ is participating with FVCP.

For more than a year, the Parks Department Natural Resources Group has been working on a state grant they qualified for based on the work BCEQ and the Harlem River Working Group had done on the river.  The Harlem River Watershed and Natural Resources Management Plan will study anf recommend a watershed plan for the Bronx side of the River.  Presentation will be by Katie Friedman of NYC Parks NRG.  BCEQ are stakeholders in this group.  You are welcome to participate as interested.

If we have time, there may be some quick updates on other topics: Is the New York City DEP really doing the long awaited Long Term Control Plan for the Harlem River? What can we do to improve parks’ sustainability?  What is the Learn Up?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 4 to 7 pm

Manhattan College, Leo Engineering Building, Lasala Auditorium

3825 Corlear Avenue at 238th St, Bronx, NY 10463

This event is sponsored by Con Edison and Manhattan College. Please RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bceq-2018-membership-meeting-environmental-conference-tickets-44465118366.

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