A letter urging that the Department of Environmental Protection’s stormwater outfall being built in Hermon A. MacNeil Park be stopped was sent to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) last Wednesday by Global Coral Reef Alliance President Thomas Goreau.

“This would destroy pioneering projects that have restored oyster and salt marsh growth at a severely impacted Superfund toxic waste site over the last decade, and which are the best hope to save the Jamaica Bay marshes from washing away due to global sea level rise,” Goreau said.

The outfall, which is expected to be completed later this year, is being built near an oyster and seagrass habitat near a superfund site.

The plan is opposed by Avella and Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside).

“An archaeological impact assessment was done for [the Department of Design and Consttruction] and DEP but this included no environmental assessment, even though it clearly showed photographs of the salt marsh and oyster restoration projects and the solar panels used to power them, yet incorrectly described the site as barren construction debris of no significant value, and suitable for dumping on!”

“Instead of dumping storm drainage, and the damaging pollutants it contains, straight on top of New York City’s most successful and least funded restoration project (we have worked there for nearly a decade with no funding, out of pocket), at a place where no natural drainage ever existed, which is also a designated New York City recreational area for kayaks to enter the water, the storm drains should simply be connected to release the flow into the already existing storm drain that empties at the other end of the road, at the west end of McNeill Park,” he added in his letter.

Avella, marine biologist James Cervino and others are holding a “Day of Outrage” event on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. in the park to denounce the outfall.

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