Monday, September 25, 2006

In the News: Mayor Bloomberg Announces Creation of Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability

Mayor Bloomberg announced this past Friday that the City will create a new office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability to focus on reducing greenhouse gases and developing "environmentally sound" policies and practices for the region. The Press Conference took place in California with Governor Schwarzenegger after touring a sustainable energy facility that highlighted the potential for green economic development. In his presentation the Mayor took a moment to highlight the value of our coasts and waterways stating, "The water along our shoreline is cleaner than it has been in generations – but we want it cleaner still, so that we can fish, swim, and enjoy the rivers that have always been the City’s most distinctive feature." JB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 21, 2006


New Office and Advisory Board to Create Agenda to Make New York City an Environmental Leader and Guide City Efforts Towards Environmentally Sound Future

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced a series of initiatives to move forward the Administration’s plans to create an ambitious environmental agenda for New York City and its municipal government. The key components of the plan include the creation of the Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability within the Mayor’s Office of Operations; the undertaking of a major greenhouse gas inventory for City government and the City overall; the appointment of a Sustainability Advisory Board to advise the City on environmentally sound policies and practices; that Douglas I. Foy, former Massachusetts Secretary for Commonwealth Development, will serve as a special advisor on sustainability; and the creation of a new partnership with the Earth Institute of Columbia University to provide the City with scientific research and advice on environmental and climate change-related issues.

The announcement took place during a visit with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, California, where the Mayor and Governor talked about the State of California’s groundbreaking sustainability initiatives. Prior to the announcement, the Mayor and Governor toured the facility, which manufactures fuel cells that generate power by converting hydrogen into electricity and produce only water as exhaust.

“Sustainability is all about ensuring that economic growth and development today is compatible with the ability of our children and grandchildren to meet their needs in the future,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “To that end, in May I made a pledge to the New York League of Conservation Voters to establish the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, and create an advisory board comprised of New York’s leading experts, activists, and businesspeople in this field to set goals, and help shape and guide the City’s sustainability agenda.

“Like California, New York City has a long tradition of leadership in environmental protection - from creating the largest municipal park system in the nation, to pioneering water conservation, to banning second-hand smoke in public places. Now, we intend to make New York City a national leader in meeting the challenge of making ours an environmentally sustainable city. To make New York a truly sustainable city, we need a bold plan to use our land in the smartest way possible – not only by developing areas ripe for growth, but also by cleaning up brownfields so that no piece of New York City is too contaminated to be used for employment, housing, or recreation. The water along our shoreline is cleaner than it has been in generations – but we want it cleaner still, so that we can fish, swim, and enjoy the rivers that have always been the City’s most distinctive feature. We’ve made great strides in cleaning up our air but we still have too much pollution. And the constant threat of global warming means that we have to think about the urban heat island effect that makes our summer days even hotter than the greener areas around our City.”

Read more:

Watch Video of Announcement with Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Schwarzenegger

Columbia University's Earth Institute

Friday, September 08, 2006

In the News: Storm damage estimates at Shore being compiled

With the recent passing of the remnants of hurricane Ernesto and tropical storm Florence churning in the Atlantic it has become apparent that this is going to be another active tropical season for the east coast. The question seems not if but when the next major system will arrive in the Harbor Bight ecosystem. Are we ready? The article below from the Asbury Park Press shows that we have good risk management programs in place, but our overall coastal planning approach still needs significant improvement to limit the impacts of these storms on our economy and the environment. JB

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/6/06
By Bob Jordan and
Brian Prince

The bill from Ernesto's damage is expected to exceed $500,000 in Monmouth County, but Ocean County officials are still calculating the amount of damage inflicted by the one-time hurricane when it struck the Shore on Friday and Saturday.

Municipal officials said the tropical depression's impact also will be felt if local services or projects are delayed because of storm cleanup work.

"We may have to have a special brush and limb pickup because of the storm, and if so, it will mean taking our Public Works employees off other projects for about two weeks so they can do it," said Thomas Antus, Freehold Township administrator. "In terms of actual additional costs for cleanup, it's not much, outside of Police Department overtime during the storm event, but it will delay what Public Works can do for two weeks."

Cleanup continued Tuesday from the storm, in which gusts of up to about 60 mph felled trees and knocked down about 500 Jersey Central Power & Light Co. wires in Monmouth and Ocean counties.


National Hurricane Center:

Hurricane Preparedness

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Exploring Coasts & Waterfronts: Scandinavia

As part of the CMRC's Sustainable Coasts Program we often explore the coasts and waterfronts around the world to learn from their environmental challenges and management and policy solutions. This week's Blog post examines the Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Norway and takes a deeper look at two nations with a long maritime history and deep respect for their coastal environment. JB

With the Artic Circle cutting straight across the Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden like the many glaciers that slice throughout their deep majestic fjords, these Nordic nations located in the far northern reaches of Europe are rich in coastal life and maritime communities. A long-standing relationship between the people of this region and the water that surrounds it have led to a healthy balance between development, access and conservation that supports the archipelago economically, socially and culturally.

Sweden's coastline is 7,600 km long (about 4000 miles) and it made up of hundreds-of-thousands of islands that are low-lying in nature. The biggest city and capital, Stockholm, has a population of about 1 million inhabitants and is located on a series of 30,000 islands that are connected by bridges and ferries. Many species and habitats are found along the Swedish coasts including rocky shorelines, sandy beaches and developed waterfronts. The Swedish people have long lived in close connection with the nearby Baltic Sea and its many tributaries that snake along the archipelago by living off the abundant fisheries of herring and salmon and crayfish that inhabit its waters.

The coast of Norway on the other hand consists of less low-lying islands and sandy beaches and more glacially influenced features such as fjords and rocky coastal outcroppings that are located adjacent to the powerful (and very cold) North Sea. Oslo, the nation's capital and largest city is located in the protected bays of of southeastern Norway and acts a major port for most of central Scandinavia. Meanwhile, Bergen the second largest city and maritime capital is located on the west coast with direct access to the North Sea. The entire region is home to fjords shaped by glaciers (the remnants of some which still exist today) and many small fishing communities up and down the coasts.

For Norway and Sweden the ocean and coasts are a significant part of daily living. The number of ferries located in the two countries number in the thousands as many communities and islands are connected only by boat. The cost of ferries in Scandinavia are incredibly low, and reflects the need (and support) for inexpensive water-based transportation. Swimming and fishing are a activity practiced by many inhabitants of the region and it is possible to fish and swim in the city center of Stockholm and almost the entire remainder of both coasts due to very good water quality. Greenroofs are common both in urban and rural settings and appear to contribute heavily to the health of the coastal waters due to decreased polluted runoff. Wind power is also widespread in both countries and appears to limit the need for powerplants on coastal waters.

However, all is not well in Scandinavia's coastal waters. Centuries of fishing and increasing populations have led to a serious decline in many aquatic populations. Eutrophication and toxic pollutants have had serious impacts on biodiveristy with more and more people moving into coastal areas. Eutrophication, or algae blooms due to nutrient inputs have depleted benthic fauna. In addition, increased boat usage with increasing population has led to shore erosion on many islands.

Luckily, some coordinated action has been taken to conserve and manage the region's coastal habitats and communities. Sweden, which is part of the European Union, has created a comprehensive Integrated Coastal Management Plan that focuses on the protection of its local habitats and species. In Stockholm, the County creates an annual report on its environmental objectives and their progress, one of which is "A Balanced Marine Environment." Norway, an independent nation, focuses most of their conservation at the country level. With the recent development of the oil and gas industry most management has focused on limiting the impacts of these industries. In addition, Norway has placed a major emphasis on protecting communities and historical coastal locations such as the Hanseatic Village in Bergen.

For more information:

Coastal Guide to Sweden

State of the Norway Coastal Environment

State of the North Sea

More Photos From Norway and Sweden

Google Map of Southern Norway and Sweden,13.31543&spn=9.774292,36.166992