FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING A COMPREHENSIVE WETLANDS PROTECTION STRATEGY
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
“The first of two bills before me today is Introductory Number 506-A, sponsored by Council Members Gennaro, Brewer, Fidler, Gentile, Gonzalez, James, Koppell, Liu, Nelson, Sanders, Weprin, Gerson, White, Martinez, de Blasio, Vann, Felder, Mitchell, Eugene, Recchia, Vallone, Crowley, Garodnick, Lappin and Katz. Introductory Number 506-A establishes a comprehensive wetlands protection strategy.
“The protection of our wetlands is one of ten water quality initiatives outlined in PlaNYC. Wetlands play an important role in maintaining and improving water quality, providing flood protection and wildlife habitats, and sequestering carbon dioxide. However, we have lost 86 percent of our wetlands in the last century due to environmental change and development.
“Although there are State and federal protections for our remaining wetlands, State law leaves room at the local level to set additional protection strategies. As a result of Local Law 83 of 2005, which the Council passed and I signed, the City is working to protect more than eighty acres of City-owned wetlands, in addition to other acquisitions and the thousands of acres we already have under management in our Parks and Bluebelt systems. Our Administration has since completed a report on gaps in existing State and federal wetlands protection laws, and has identified a course of action to develop more accurate information as a predicate to further identifying protection strategies.
“Introductory Number 506-A will codify this effort by establishing a timeframe for the City to create a comprehensive wetlands protection strategy, starting with the surveying of the remaining wetlands in the City using satellite imagery and culminating with the production of a wetlands strategy document by 2012.“I would like to thank Rohit Aggarwala and his staff in the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability as well as Deputy Commissioner Angela Licata and her staff at the Department of Environmental Protection for their work on this bill. I would also like to thank the Council for approving this legislation.”
Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958