Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Notes from An InterAgency Discussion (FERC PF09-8)

The agency discussion consisted of:

1.) protected species and species of concern (northern star coral) and the
recovery from construction disturbance;
2.) cable sweep and the possible use of mid-line buoys to minimize impacts;
3.) relocation of the pipeline to the west to avoid the greatest concentration of
hard bottom habitat, which otherwise would likely be impacted by cable
sweep and anchor strikes;
4.) reestablishment of the seabed contours to minimize impacts on species such
as horseshoe crabs and surf clams;
5.)  modeling to predict how fast the trench would backfill and how resistant
the backfill material would be to subsequent scouring during storm events;
6.)  impacts on the Atlantic sturgeon due to the Rockaway peninsula,
particularly around the 10 meter depth contour, is an important aggregation
area for sturgeon in the spring and fall;
7.) impacts on year round recreational fishing and a few other fish species such
as winter and summer flounder. The NYS DEC said impacts on flounder
are usually mitigated by restricting construction to specific months. In the
case of winter flounder, offshore construction is generally prohibited
between early winter to early spring; and
8.)  a time period that is acceptable to all stakeholders may be a challenge. The
NYS DEC said it would probably be better for the Atlantic sturgeon if
construction occurred during the summer. There was also an
acknowledgement that the NPS would prefer construction in the fall to
minimize disruption of the public's use of the park. The NPS expressed
concern about the potential for construction related turbidity to impact
shallow water areas and beach-goers. The FWS would be concerned with
any activities that are proposed on the beach during the shorebird breeding
9.)  The Army Corps of Engineers recommended that Transco submit with the
application a description explaining how they picked alternatives and how
impacts were avoided and minimized by the proposed route. Transco
should also provide data regarding the species that were discussed during
this meeting.

How many agencies does it take to.... say "hey, this pipeline might be a bad idea"? Too bad this isn't a joke. The only thing that will stop a pipeline through Gateway National Recreation Area is an outcry by the people and conveniently enough, they haven't been invited to any meetings.

Reading FERC's elibrary on gas pipeline projects definitely not recommended bedttime reading.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coalition Against the Rockaway (Lateral Delivery) Pipeline

There is the beginning of movement and Joe is working on a banner. Kill the bill is this week's motto.

Gateway National Recreation Area is asking for public comment on its new General Management Plan, but strangely enough (or par for the course), last week no one seemed to know about it. Now that they do, New York City Audubon is asking for signatures to a petition to remind NPS that their priority should be to protect wildlife. (See banner on upper right of this page.) It's an upside down world to say the least when you have to petition the National Park Service to protect its park and the wildlife therein when updating its management plan and it needs to be set right. It's an upside down world when the National Park Service is testifying for legislation (HR 2606) to build industrial facilities on the land it manages and for legislation that will tear up three miles of critical marine habitat right off its shores instead of testifiying against it. But this is where we are right now.

Sign the petition. Comment on Gateway's Management Plan. Get on down to one of Gateway's information sessions about this plan. I know there will be people at Jacob Riis on Sat. Aug 4th. Pass it all on.

At Jacob Riis Park, Queens: Saturday, August 4, 11am-3pm
Friday, August 10, 11am-3pm

Let's kill a bill that will build a pipeline through our national park land and lease part of it for industrial facilities, and Let's protect wildlife (Please follow the link for a really informative and well written appeal from New York City Audubon, not only for signing their petition but for participating in this management plan process and learning which plan is best) . Let's keep a pipeline and the industrial facilities that will accompany it out of Gateway. Let's keep industry out of our park and off our beach.

Protect your park. The way our common land is managed matters, both locally and nationally. You only have until September 21st to act in this particular way to set things right.

I got a phrase from New York City Audubon that I hadn't seen before and it is from Gateway's enabling legislation. I pasted it below because it speaks directly to the proposed Rockaway Lateral Delivery Project, its path through Gateway and the leasing of land at Floyd Bennett to the Natural Gas Industry for industrial facilities.

From the Enabling Legislation (the emphasis added by Audubon):
“...the Secretary shall administer and protect the islands and waters within the Jamaica Bay Unit with the primary aim of conserving the natural resources, fish, and wildlife located therein and shall permit no development or use of this area which is incompatible with this purpose

As Audubon put it "Let Your Voice Be Heard". This is mine.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Everything at Once, 2012

I've had the either lucky or very unlucky opportunity to come to know plants in a time when the seasons and weather is changing. It's unlucky of course because the world is changing and the plants and wildlife we rely on are being effected. It's unlucky because it makes remembering the order of things (who blooms first, what to plant and when) harder.

This year for instance, everything is blooming at once in my vegetable garden. The yarrow is still going, while nearby asters are already starting to bloom ahead of schedule. (The asters aren't pictured here.) The vegetable garden is flush with pollinators.

There is a feast now. But with latebloomers that I love so much like the asters beginning already, there may be famine for the pollinators come autumn. Here is where I can see my luck swinging the other way. Because I am paying attention in this time, I can choose to sow some annual flowers now that will help provide some sustenance for the pollinators or I could buy some to transplant. You have to live in your own time and recognize it for what it is.

Monarda punctata blooms.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ZigZag Zipper OrbWeaver

Not exactly its scientific name,but that zig zag zipper that seems to echo that spider's markings is the way I'll probably know it for what it is the next time I run across it. It's common enough, but I had to go to my favorite bug source to find out its proper name. Habitat? Gardens and old fields, but in this case a garden in an old airfield.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Granted, the lily is indeed a massive flower, the anthers like giant fuzzy-slippered landing pads, but that is one very very tiny bee. I'm not sure how to make a comparison to any feast I've eaten. But then, I've never actually sat down in my dinner plate with room to stretch out and walk around.

We had our first eggplant for dinner tonight.

Friday, July 20, 2012

On Landscape

The new "landscape" as seen from atop Brooklyn Botanic's greenroof

“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”

Annie Dillard, Pilgram at Tinker Creek

The path of a leaf miner

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On The Living Roof at Brooklyn Botanic

I learned today from Geraldine, our intern from overseas, that much of the focus on greenroofs in her home city of Zurich which has mandated laws for flat roofs, is on habitat and biodiversity. The thinking is that part of what it means to "green" a city is that there is an attempt made to replace some of what has been lost to urbanization.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Just One Reason HR 2606 Matters

Let's go back in time, not too far, just back to last June and the message that made its way into the news about Floyd Bennett Field, Gateway National Recreation Area and the future of urban parks. Let's go to a news realease by NPS and the Department of the Interior. The date in the past is June 13, 2011.
NEW YORK -- Americas Great Outdoors: Salazar Proposes First Steps in Great Urban Park Vision for New York Area: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar proposed a series of first steps to link parks and other open spaces in the New York City metropolitan area to enable local communities, and especially young people, to connect with the natural beauty and history of the region.

Just a month later, on July 21, 2011 Michael Grimm introduced HR 2606, the bill that will give Ken Salazar as the Secretary, acting as the Secretary of the Interior, the authority to allow the construction of a new natural gas pipeline through Gateway National Recreation Area, under Jacob Riis Beach and out to sea and the construction and operation of a natural gas metering and regulating facility in Floyd Bennett Field.

A reasonable person might think that the Great Outdoor initiative just announced the month before might mean that the Secretary of the Interior and the National Park Service would have a problem with this bill and with the pipeline project through the park. But that reasonable person would be wrong. The Department of the Interior has testified before both the House and the Senate in support of the bill. Neither of those testimonies made their way in to news releases.

Now lets go back to Salazar's words standing in Floyd Bennett Field in June of last year.
"These are concrete steps we are planning to take under the America's Great Outdoors initiative to create a model for a new generation of Great Urban Parks in America," Salazar said. "We want every citizen of the New York area -- particularly the children -- to have easy and accessible access to outdoor recreation and the cultural and historical heritage that makes this part of the country unique."
What exactly is the "model" for a new generation of parks that Salazar is referring to? Is it that we will build urban parks for mixed use? Should national park land be both industrial and recreational? Will we be promoting access to outdoor recreation and cultural and historical heritage by proposing to build a pipeline through Gateway National Recreation Area and leasing a piece of its land to the national gas industry for a new industrial facility? Is this a reasonable first step in creating a model urban park or is it just a spectacularly bad idea?

There is a reason that last year's news was only about promoting a positive new vision of our urban parks and not about HR2606 and the pipeline project that is in direct conflict with this message.

Friday, July 13, 2012

This Week's Say No To Natural Gas Industrial Facilities at Gateway National Recreation Area Campaign

Over at the Ryan Center at Floyd Bennett Field, Joe got himself some "Protect Your Parks" postcards which feature a copy of a lovely WPA poster with artwork done by Stanley Thomas Clough. The little writeup on the back says "The National Park Service was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. With its all-American mission to preserve and protect parks for future generations, the National Park Service was often featured in posters produced by the Work Projects Administration Federal Art Project." Joe is thinking of using the postcards to send a message to legislators about HR 2606, "New York City Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act", the bill which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to allow the leasing of historic hangars at NPS' protected Floyd Bennett Field for the construction and operation of a gas metering and regulating station. The message is simple. It's the poster's title. Protect Your Parks.

I kind of think that maybe the Secretary of the Interior might need a postcard too. Am I nuts in thinking that the National Park Service is not in the business of providing New York City with natural gas and that the National Park Service is in the business of protecting parks?

(This week's campaign against the leasing of park land at Gateway National Recreation Area for the building of a new industrial facility brought to you by Joe. His last endeavor below.)
It's a Wild About Gateway National Industrial Park shopping bag. 40 fabulous years. Let's celebrate.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Because When the Going Gets Tough

the really tough are only just getting going. Think you could survive two gnarly New York City summer heat waves with no supplemental water up on a green roof in the Bronx? I know I couldn't. I barely made it through just this afternoon intact and it wasn't nearly as hot up on that roof as it must have been last week in the baking sun.

I tried counting the bees today and I tried not to sweat. I failed at both.

The Remains of My Dad's Hosta Flowers

I only harvested a small portion of my dad's hosta buds for bouquets. The remains of some that were left behind are looking allright to me as their petals give way to time and the end of their season.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

One For my Mom's Table

This year I harvested most of my garlic scapes about a month ago. Those scapes made their way into salads and one tasty pasta dish that I was surprised came from my own hands at the stove. The rest remained on the garlic plants which were just pulled this week to cure. Those remaining scapes just opening made their way into the bouquet for my mom's table above. I was getting teased down at the community garden though about leaving those scapes on. But it's win/win as far as I'm concerned. I had some scapes for eating, some for flowers and still enough garlic to harvest and of decent size to be happy with. There's more than one way to skin a cat or so I've heard.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Controlling Pests the Easy Way

 What you need is a nephew with very quick hands and an interest in insects.The pictures are bad, but the day was good and I don't think I've ever seen that squash vine borer above actually flying around in my garden before, even though every year it always manages to kill my zuchinni. I told my nephew that my garden would not disappoint for bughunting, but I had no idea that he was going to be doing me such a big favor. The cucumbers and zuchinni just might have a chance this year thanks to him.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Was Trying

but it's such a delicate wisp of a thing and the wind was blowing and the sun felt like a weapon.

How could you not?

In The Skyline With Agastache and A Bee

I'm just pulling weeds, quite happily, 17 stories up in the New York City skyline with some Agastache and a bee and I am almost never bored at work. That last part is the most beautiful thing.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Gateway to Destruction of National Parks (HR2606)

The first thing Joe said this morning was "Gateway to Destruction of all national parks." It's kind a dramatic statement in reference to H.R. 2606, but I like it. Last night, I'd looked again at the image above from Williams Draft in 2009 for the Rockaway Lateral Delivery Project and saw quite clearly for the first time how important this image is. It's not just a map of potential pipeline and industrial facility sites. It's a map of an assualt by industry on parkland, both parkland protected by the National Park Service, and also city parks. Alternative Sites for the metering and regulating staion, 1 and 2? Property of NPS. 3, 4 and 5? New York City Parks and Recreation Property. Historic hangars at Floyd Bennett Field in Gateway National Recreation Area? Not on the map at all, but right now they are the bullseye.

If you don't think it matters where industrial facilities are built, then perhaps that image above won't mean much to you. If on the other hand, you think that New York City Parks or New York City's only National Park aren't places for industrial facilities, this image is troubling. Had Williams gone with the golf course (New York City Parks & Recreation Property, sites 3,4 and 5), no special legislation would have been needed or maybe I'm wrong about that. But in the end, they went with Floyd Bennett Field and Gateway. They went with the National Park. Nice. All it took was The National Park Service to get on board with it and then a politician went and crafted a bill to make it happen. Public input on that bill? Zilch.Think the bill that authorizes this use of NPS land doesn't matter? I'm still searching for a similar one. I've found two that would authorize gas pipeline right of ways in National Parks (Denali, Glacier), but haven't seen the language for the construction and operation of a metering and regulating station in either. Does that mean this bill will set a precedent that could be followed in other National Parks? Shucks, I don't know. Why don't we just give it a whirl and see? The bill is currently titled "New York City Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act", but between you and me, I like Joe's title better. You think you can keep an industrial facility out of your favorite park if we can't keep one out of this National Park land? Good luck.  

Think this is just a picture of a shopping bag? I don't. I see it as a symbol of what the proper response is to an assault. Resistance. It is speaking truth to power. If you want to know who has the power here, I can tell you. It's Senator Schumer. It's Senator Gillibrand. It's all the Senators sitting with this bill on their desks in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

My Gateway National Recreation Area pipeline posts here