Posts Tagged ‘New York’

“Living Shorelines” Can Fortify Our Coastlines … A Solution at Work in New Jersey’s Raritan Bay

November 29, 2016

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A “living wall” of oysters in the South Atlantic. Photo: Alison M. Jones for No Water No Life

By Meredith Comi, Restoration Program Director of the NY/NJ Baykeeper 

After Hurricane Sandy, it was clear that coastal resiliency had become an immediate priority. Thus, Baykeeper began an innovative project to determine if a “Living Shoreline” of oysters could stabilize eroding shorelines of the urban New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary. Perhaps they would simultaneously protect the surrounding environment, improve water quality, and create healthy aquatic habitats.

Oysters are powerful. They can filter and clean water, a much-needed service today. They can provide reef habitat for other sea creatures and improve resiliency to storm surge and erosion. Oysters once thrived in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary — so much so that Ellis Island was previously called Little Oyster Island.  However, over-harvesting, pollution and the sedimentation of reefs resulted in a sharp population decline. Today there is no longer a sustainable oyster population in the NY-NJ Harbor area; but NY/NJ Baykeeper is working to restore them. As a bi-state restoration leader, NY/NJ Baykeeper has had restoration projects in both NJ and NY waters.

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“Oyster-keepers” in the Raritan Bay. Photo: NJ/NY Baykeeper

In mid-August, 2016, NY/NJ Baykeeper and its partners installed a first-of-its-kind urban “Living Shoreline” in northern New Jersey waters.  Located in the Raritan Bay at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County, a new 0.91 acre Living Shoreline consists of an artificial reef, using live oysters. Known as “oyster castles,” these new concrete structures are meant to provide the needed hard surface on which oysters can attach and grow. These 137 castles with about 10,000 oyster larvae can thus begin to fortify and protect the Raritan Bayshore.

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Oyster stabilization in the Mississippi River Delta.  Photo: Alison M. Jones for No Water No Life 

In 2010 the NJ Department of Environmental Protection banned all shellfish research, restoration and education activities in waters (1) deemed too contaminated or (2) “Restricted” or “Prohibited” for shellfish harvest.  Thus earlier oyster reef projects in nearby Navesink River and Keyport Harbor had to be moved. At that point, the U.S. Navy and NY/NJ Baykeeper became “Living Shoreline” partners. The U.S. Navy at Naval Weapons Station Earle, with its non-accessible stretch of shoreline, provides protected property, guidance and valuable support for Baykeeper’s oyster restoration activities.

Additional restoration activities at Naval Weapons Station Earle include setting oysters at NY/NJ Baykeeper’s aquaculture facility near the mouth of Ware Creek, and monitoring the oysters and structures in the ¼-acre experimental restoration plot to assess survival and growth.

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Deposition of “oyster castles” into the Raritan Bay at NWS Earle.

NY/NJ Baykeeper has monitored this Living Shoreline twice since its August installation, finding that the oysters grew 22mm in just 2 months!  Other organisms like sponges and algae are attached to the castles as well, further contributing to the Living Shoreline habitat.  All the castles have stayed in place, even during the rough seas when Hurricane Hermine was off shore. This is a good sign of how the castles will hold up in the dynamic Raritan Bay.

This winter, oyster growth will become slower as the water becomes cooler. Since all the oysters are far enough under the water’s surface, they will be protected should the Bay freeze over. Come spring, this Living Shoreline will be expanded, adding more castles and oysters to the system.  Meanwhile, NY/NJ Baykeeper continues its study of biodiversity  and its collection of water quality data.

For further information, please contact Meredith Comi at meredith@nynjbaykeeper.org

A Blind Eye to Flooding – No More Excuses

September 2, 2016

By Alison Jones, No Water No Life Director

NWNL sends our sympathies to those suffering from Hermine’s winds and rains. As this hurricane slashes its way north, we hope for the least amount of flood damage possible.

As 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and August’s Louisiana Floods showed, we have created a bad scenario along our waterways. Our approach to coastal development is probably as much to blame for flooding devastation as is the severe weather due to the warming of our atmosphere by climate change.

Ten days ago NWNL wrote a blog on the Louisiana flooding noting the critical need for green infrastructure in order to mitigate storm impacts. We also urged the adaptation of alternative energies to fossil fuels.

Andrew Revkin, renowned science and environmental journalist, retweeted our blog, saying:   “Super No Water No Life post on hazards with growth in a soggy state.”  Today Revkin’s  New York Times Dot Earth blog details how we’ve lost awareness of the reality and the raison d’etre of floodplains and wetlands.

Our coastlands and riverine corridors are meant to filter and absorb both floodwaters and their nutrients.  They are meant to be nutrient-rich ecosystems for flora and fauna, that in turn support human needs.   The water’s edge was never meant to be a platform for tipi’s, trailers, cottages or mansions.

Indigenous builders respected Nature’s rhythms and whims. Their homes were simply-built and often mobile. If destroyed, their ruin did not pollute land or water with masses of chemical or plastic debris. The French, who settled in Creole communities up and down the Lower Mississippi River 200 years ago, also paid attention to the realities of flooding rivers and deltas. They knew better than to rebuild time and time again in flood paths.

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Missouri: St Genevieve, the Creole Green Tree Tavern, surviving Mississippi River Flood of 1993.

This summer NWNL cruised New Jersey’s Sandy Hook inland waterway – the lovely Shrewsbury and Navasink Rivers. It was shocking to see that this spit of land, like so many, has been completely re-built since Sandy’s whiplash destruction.

Those of us on this NY/NJ Baykeeper cruise cringed to think what would happen when the lapping waters of August next jumped over relatively minimal breakwaters and seawalls. We are cringing again this weekend. If not this weekend, when?

LNG Threat to Hudson and Raritan River Estuaries

November 3, 2015
LNG pipeline to cross the western Lower NY Bay, which is the Raritan Bay

LNG pipeline to cross western Lower NY Bay’s Raritan Bay

USA: Fishing in Raritan Bay off Sandy Hook right above proposed route for the LNG pipeline

Raritan Bay off Sandy Hook over proposed LNG pipeline route

NY/NJ Baykeeper is a strong voice fighting an LNG terminal (see definition below) that would threaten the biodiversity and water quality of the Hudson and Raritan River Estuary, one of the largest ports in the world. LNG usage, which furthers greenhouse gas emissions, is also a concern.

Dolphins swimming this summer just outside the Raritan Bay

Dolphins swimming this summer just outside the Raritan Bay

WHAT is Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)?

Liquefied Natural Gas is natural gas that has been super-chilled to minus 260 degrees, turning it into a liquid that is 1/600th the original volume of gas. It is clear, colorless, odorless, and extremely volatile. This gas is compacted so large volumes can be shipped overseas. LNG should not be confused with gasoline or compressed natural gas.

LNG is Expensive. The intensive energy use required to liquefy natural gas and shipping costs makes LNG up to three times more expensive than domestic natural gas.

LNG is Dirty. It results in up to 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than domestic natural gas due to a life cycle that requires super-cooling, transporting overseas in giant tankers, and heating back to gaseous form.

WHAT is Port Ambrose?
As proposed by Liberty Natural Gas (confusingly also called “LNG”),  “Port Ambrose” would be an offshore port for importing or exporting LNG to or from the coasts of New York and New Jersey. This port would allow two LNG vessels (which are as long as the World Trade Center Tower is tall) to directly connect to the region’s natural gas system, with a capacity that could be expanded.

Read more from the “Port Ambrose Fact Sheet: A Proposed Offshore Liquefied Natural Gas Facility”

PROTECT THIS ESTUARY and OUR OCEAN by supporting “The New Jersey/New York Clean Ocean Zone Act,” which is bi-partisan, bi-state legislation to permanently protect the waters off the NY/NJ coast from polluting activities and facilities, such as LNG ports.

USA: NY/NJ Baykeeper  headed downstream towards Middlesex County Landfill

NY/NJ Baykeeper , on the Raritan River, is actively fighting this Port Ambrose LNG proposal

An Educational Resource For Teachers: Exploring the New York New Jersey Harbor Estuary Region

Summer Saturday on the Hudson

July 8, 2015
USA: New York, Adirondacks State Park,  source of the Hudson River

USA: New York, Adirondacks State Park, source of the Hudson River

Following Rivers with Alison M. Jones

Artist Talk on Saturday 7/11 from 6-7:30pm
Join me as I share the inspiration and creative process behind photographs taken while on expedition in Africa and North America for No Water No Life ®.

Following Rivers, curated by Jasmine Graf, is a compelling collection of giclee photographs grouped together with informational captioning that illustrates that what we do in our communities impacts the availability, quality and usage of our freshwater resources.
Photography by Alison M. Jones on view @ Beacon Institute for Rivers & Estuaries
Through October 3, 2015 at 199 Main Street in Beacon, NY.
(845) 838-1600

Part of Beacon’s “Second Saturday,” a city-wide celebration of free arts + culture events.

Protect Our Water Resources

April 30, 2014

 

NYC SAFE Disposal Events in Spring 2014 (held rain or shine):

Sun, May 4 – Brooklyn, McCarren Park

Sat, May 10 – Bronx, Orchard Beach Parking Lot

Sun, May 11 – Manhattan, Union Square, North Plaza

Sat, May 17 – Staten Island, Midland Beach Parking Lot

For more info – http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/events/bwprr_safe.shtml

https://www.facebook.com/NYCRecycles

https://twitter.com/nycrecycles

– Posted by Jasmine Graf, NWNL Associate Director

United Nations Commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

August 9, 2013

Today NWNL and NYC welcomes the arrival of Native Americans and Allies paddling from Albany to NYC along the Hudson River in the spirit of environmental responsibility.

The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is a partnership between six Native American Haudenosaunee Nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora) and the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON). After paddling for 9 days, hundreds of canoers and kayakers expect to reach Pier 96 organized in 2 rows symbolizing “two peoples traveling side-by-side down the river of life in peace and friendship.” Their march from the pier to the United Nations is part of several events in a yearlong awareness campaign on indigenous and environmental issues.

Hickory Edwards of the Onondaga Nation is leading the pack and said, “I feel really close to the water. It’s life-giving, and to be so close to water is to be close to nature.” Read more about this story.

NWNL documentation in U.S., Canadian and African watersheds has shown that today’s Indigenous Peoples continue to be passionately-committed stewards of our river basins. Read NWNL’s interview with Ray Gardener, Chief of the Chinook Nation, as he shares his wisdom on the preservation of nature and culture and taking action.

City of Water Day on July 20th

July 12, 2013

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City of Water Day is coming up – July 20th! Free events along the Hudson River! Check out these websites for more info:

http://hudsonriverdaysny.org/river_day_events.aspx 

http://www.cityofwaterday.org

See you on the river!

the art of addressing water conservation

May 30, 2013

NWNL would like to spotlight artists utilizing art as a platform to raise awareness of water issues.

Currently on view at Pace Gallery in NYC -Maya Lin creates sculptural topographies of disappearing watersheds. With recycled silver, steel pins, marble and wood, Lin presents aerial views of waterways exploring environmental issues. Watch a 5 minute video of Lin discussing this body of work.

Photographer Ian Teh exhibits Traces: Landscapes in Transition on the Yellow River Basin at Open Society Foundations on view until Dec 13, 2013. “Few rivers have captured the soul of a nation more deeply than the Yellow River in China. The river’s plight also underlines the dark side of China’s economic miracle, an environmental crisis leading to scarcity of the one resource no nation can live without: water. ~ Ian Teh

Lauren Rosenthal depicts numerous watersheds in drawings, prints, and sculpture. “By giving priority to rivers, not as resources to be exploited, but as an integral part of a social/biological system, I hope to provoke dialogue and stimulate change around how we understand ourselves in relationship to the hydrological world.” ~Lauren Rosenthal

– Posted by Jasmine Graf, NWNL Associate Director

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