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520 miles of NYC waterfront. Map courtesy of Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

After much hype (and a little bit of secrecy at the Bronx Parks Speak Up! meeting) the Vision 2020 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan for New York City has finally been released.  The plan consists of projects to revitalize NYC’s 520 miles of waterfront on two different time scales: a three-year action agenda comprised of 130 funded projects and the more complete Vision 2020 which will guide shoreline development for the next decade.  Some of the ecological highlights include  $50 million in ecological restoration projects, restored tidal wetlands and marshland in Bronx and Brooklyn parks, and a large scale oyster restoration project.  The City aims to complete many of the short-term projects by 2013, so keep a look out for changes along the waterfront near you.

If you’d like to see the complete Vision 2020 Plan, you can check it out on the Dept. of City Planning website here.

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Food, ecology, cities, health, science, equity, access, life, green space, nature, nourishment. These and many other concepts were infused with new life and meaning during a recent conference at the University of Oregon on Food Justice. Rather than attempt an explanation of the many, varied concepts and challenges surrounding issues of agriculture, food access, and equality addressed at the conference, I have listed below some of my own questions that arose from this three-day interdisciplinary discussion.

  • What are the non-negotiables for the new food system?
  • What role does urban farming play in the regional food system?
  • What are the global systems connections to local and regional systems?
  • How doe neighbors respond to urban/suburban farms?
  • What is the relationship between farmers and the urban poor?
  • Is land ownership a right in the minds of farmers? How does this relate to the lack of land ownership for many urban residents, renters, and poor rural residents?

Resources from the conference:

  • Food Justice – Conference website
  • Food System Analysis for New York – Dr. Christian Peters, professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
  • The Greenhorns – A community organizing initiative supporting young American farmers
  • Civil Eats – Blog promoting critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems as part of building economically and socially just communities
  • Garden Maps – An interactive map of urban farms and gardens in New York City

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A few of us went out to Jamaica Bay on Thursday 2/10. We did not see too many species compared to a normal Jamaica Bay trip because of high winds and the two main ponds being frozen over, but below it was still a good time! The highlights were 2 northern harriers (A NYS threatened species) hunting over the marsh, and a single fox sparrow hanging out at the ranger station feeder (a rare sight since we are at the northern edge of their normal range). The white throats were practicing their singing and were able to belt out partial songs…. spring is on the way!

We’ll be making at least 2 more trips in the spring, once early on during shorebird migration, and again in May for warblers. Below is the complete (yet small)  list:

mallard
mallard x black duck
northern harrier
slate colored junco
black capped chickadee
song sparrow
white throated sparrow
surf scoter
scaup
bufflehead
red breasted merganser
fox sparrow
canada goose
brant
ring billed gull
herring gull
greater black backed gull

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Mannahatta/Welikia

“Mannahatta had more ecological communities per acre than Yellowstone, more native plant species per acre than Yosemite, and more birds than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Mannahatta housed wolves, black bears, mountain lions, beavers, mink, and river otters; whales, porpoises, seals, and the occasional sea turtle visited its harbor.”

If any of you haven’t seen this before, its quite amazing and it will get you thinking about where we currently live and how it has changed since 1609. The Mannahatta project has essentially recreated Manhattan as it was before the arrival of Europeans by looking at original boat logs, archaeological evidence, historic records, etc. The Welikia Project is an effort to do the same for all boroughs.

Explore the links below! The first is an interactive map of Manhattan which can show you how it is today, and how it was in 1609. Type in your address of favorite place, see what once existed there and how it has changed. The other link is a list of species which likely existed in our current city.  If anyone is interested in checking this book out let me know and I’ll bring it to our next meeting.

http://welikia.org/explore/mannahatta-map/

http://welikia.org/download/flora-and-fauna/

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http://www.bronxspeakup.org/

Hi all, so it sounds like weekends are not doable for The Point organization, but there is an event the last weekend in February called Bronx Parks Speak Up (see link above) that the organization will have representatives at. This might be a great event to attend in lieu of a field trip to the Point. We could alternatively do a field trip to The Point, but it would need to be on a week day.

Post your thoughts on this!!

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Here are two books written by women who have spent a considerable amount of time on the Hudson River:

My River Chronicles

Jessica DuLong

A U.S. Coast Guard-licensed merchant marine officer is one of the world’s only female fireboat engineers.

 

(Book and title forthcoming)

Susan Fox Rogers

A member of  the faculty of Bard College where she teaches creative writing and is co-director of First Year Seminar.

 

These two authors were part of the Hudson River Conference given at Lincoln Center last fall. For a list of the day’s events and speakers, click here.

 

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