News & Updates from SWIM Coalition March 2020
Every month, SWIM issues an E-blast to disseminate important, timely water-quality related information to our members and waterway stakeholders. Below is a link to our March 2020 E-blast and a few highlights from the e-blast:
Excerpts from March 2020 E-blast:
Dear SWIM Coalition Community,
We hope this message finds you all healthy and adjusting to our new way of functioning. It is amazing and not at all surprising to hear the stories of how all the many ways New Yorkers are looking out for one another in this uncertain time. Our community resilience is bar none.
Several of our members have shared informational resources regarding COVID-19 such as the NYC Health website. If you haven’t signed up for the corona virus email from Governor Cuomo you can do so here to get informative updates on the progress being made throughout New York. Be sure to sign up for messaging from your local elected officials as well. Additional NYC Covid-19 information can be found here.
If there are ways that SWIM Coalition can support you or your watershed communities in these unprecedented circumstances please let us know and we will do our best to provide assistance.
Many of our members are continuing their great work in creative and innovative ways. They are hosting online forums and featuring educational/citizen science based projects for families to implement at home and others are working together to build watershed resource portals. For instance, +POOL is featuring projects from their STEM curriculum on their website with instructions and materials lists so that families can implement them at home.
Be sure to email us about any virtual workshops and forums you may be organizing for April and May and we will be sure to help get the word out to our lists. As we venture out (with adequate social distance!) for some much needed air, our waterfronts are ever more a place of refuge for many New Yorkers. As always, please be aware that areas affected by raw sewage discharges are particularly dangerous. Surfrider Foundation has published information on the dangers and unknowns of Covid-19 for water recreators. SWIM Coalition wants to acknowledge the essential work conducted by NYC DEP to keep our city functioning. DEP's work keeping our drinking water flowing and managing the City's wastewater is vital. Thank you, DEP, for keeping us safe and healthy during a time of crisis.
Regarding our wastewater system:
Everyone please be sure that you are properly disposing of any wipes you may be using in your household. Do not flush them! Sewer systems across the country are getting overburdened by improper disposal of wipes. Here is a link to an article about this. Click here for more info about this important and timely topic on the DEP website.
We look forward to staying connected during these uncertain times. Scroll down for a few updates on our recent efforts.
Updates and News:
SWIM’s clean water advocacy work will continue (albeit not in person for the time being) as we endeavor to sustain the momentum that has been underway since the beginning of the year. Below are a few updates on our various initiatives:
NYC City Council Speaker's Resiliency Proposals
We were excited to provide input on the City Council Speaker’s proposal and report outlining an array of important resiliency measures that would help cool the city’s heat island effect and move a much needed five borough coastal resiliency plan forward. Here is a link to the press release summarizing the Speaker's report which is titled, Securing our Future: Strategies for NYC in the Fight Against Climate Change.
Army Corps NY/NJ Storm Barriers Study:
In late February, prior to the study being defunded by the federal government, SWIM signed onto a letter to congress from waterway advocates requesting that the study be improved to address important public concerns regarding sea level rise and the potential societal and environmental impacts of the barriers on our coastal communities. We sent another letter to congress requesting that the study be reinstated and improved. Now that the study has been defunded, the 5 boro coastal resiliency plan called for in the Speaker’s proposal above is even more important to pursue! We’ll write more about this in our April e-blast.
NYC Open Waters CSO Long Term Control Plan:
On March 2nd, many SWIM members sent in public comment letters regarding the Citywide Open Waters CSO Long Term Control Plan, here is a link to SWIM’s comment letter, and here is a link to our library of public comments and testimonies where you can find our member’s letters to DEP and DEC regarding NYC DEP’s proposed plan. And here is a link to our blog post about the proposed plan. As noted in our February 24th action alert, stewards and stakeholders across the city were disappointed by the City’s plan and the water quality premise upon which the plan is founded. You can still get a message to city and state officials that the plan needs to be improved via this link set up by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Restore Mother Nature Environmental Bond:
On March 11, SWIM signed onto a letter to the Governor alongside many of our fellow advocates throughout the City to show our support for the Restore Mother Nature Environmental Bond Act, which would restore critical habitats and reduce flood risk throughout New York.
Women's History Month:
SWIM Steering Committee member, Shino Tanikawa, was featured in a March 12th Waterwire article that is part of a Women’s History Month series by the Waterfront Alliance called Women at the Waterfront. Shino is a founding member of the SWIM Coalition and has guided and supported our work since the coalition was founded on World Water Day in early 2007. SWIM member organization, Guardians of Flushing Bay, was also featured in the Women at the Waterfront series this month. Congrats to Shino and all the human powered boaters of Guardians of Flushing Bay.