Bloomberg Eyes Wetlands As Part Of Long Term Strategy

The Bloomberg administration is moving forward with a plan to protect and restore its existing wetlands.

A significant number of these fragile ecosystems had been lost in the New York and New Jersey estuary over the past century. But in the past 10 years, the city has worked with state and federal partners to create or restore over 175 acres of wetlands.

This month, the city released a new Wetlands Strategy Draft and is welcoming public input on it until mid-February.  The proposal establishes a framework to address key issues such as wetland protection, mitigation and restoration.

"In the next 3 years the city will work with our state and federal partners to invest over 54 million dollars at 17 sites to restore and enhance over 58 acres of adjacent wetlands and habitat," said Aaron Koch, Senior Policy Advisor for the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability.

Waterways are one of the focuses of PlanNYC, the mayor’s long range agenda for greening the city. New York City is still home to significant wetlands in Jamaica Bay, Staten Island and along Long Island Sound.

At a City Council Environmental Protection Committee hearing on Tuesday,  Koch testified that the city plans to implement several initiatives to improve public management of wetlands parcels, which includes the transfer of more city owned parcels to the jurisdiction of the Parks Department for additional protection. Over the past decade, Parks has acquired almost 300 acres of wetlands.

Environmental groups have praised the Bloomberg administration for many of its PlanNYC efforts.

A survey released last year by the Siemens Corp and the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked New York City third greenest city overall, behind Vancouver and San Francisco. But critics argue the city could still do better when it comes to energy consumption and recycling.