Friday, October 17, 2008

Artificial Turf - Crumb Rubber and Water

As part of the Coastal Marine Resource Center's Policy Program, the CMRC has published "Artifical Turf and Water Quality, The Effects of Crumb Rubber on Water Quality" now available for download on the CMRC website.


Synthetic turf recreational fields have emerged as an alternative to natural grass fields with the primary advantage being artificial turf fields are less averse to rain, snow, and heavy use. However, significant debate has arisen over the use of crumb rubber, made from ground up tires, as an infill product on synthetic turf.

The primary concern for opponents of crumb rubber is that over time the rubber leaches chemicals harmful to both human and environmental health. Furthermore, the crumb rubber pellets may create additional pollution in waterways if transported during precipitation events.

Currently, there is a growing body of evidence supporting both sides of the debate. This paper will present the arguments both for and against the use of crumb focusing on the implications for water quality.

The paper will advance certain precautions and guidelines that may be taken to safeguard against potential hazards Table 1, Recommendations for Containing and Managing Crumb Rubber.

These are recommendations to prevent the release of crumb rubber into the surrounding environment and minimize the flow of water from fields to water sources and water bodies.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Seining (Fishing) Under the Manhattan Bridge

Fish under a bridge? Yes, it's possible to find fish, along with many
enthusiastic kids and adults discovering underwater estuary creatures
at the beach under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

June 14, 2008 was a day of aquatic discovery for about 90 people who came out for the CMRC's and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy's seining program.

Among the stars of the day were 2 striped bass, several Atlantic tomcod,
one young winter flounder, 2 bay anchovies, shrimp (Palaemontes species and
C. septemspinosa) numerous comb jellies, lion's mane jellyfish, 1 amphipod, green crabs, rock weed, and barnacles. We also found evidence of blue crab, oysters, blue mussel, clams and snails.

Join the CMRC and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy for another exciting seining event on October 11th, 11:30pm at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Your eyes will be opened to diversity of the marine and aquatic life surrounding our great metropolitan area, just below the surface!

Contact the CMRC at or

RSVP with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy at

See what the local paper had to say:

Results from June 21st Beach Clean -Up: Thanks Volunteers!

Thank you to all CMRC volunteers and Americorp members who helped clean the Memorial Field beach at Jamaica Bay. We collected over 700 items, mostly beverage bottles (over 300) and plastic bags.

Everyone worked through the heat, found lots of horseshoe crabs, and enjoyed each other's company. Some of the highlights (or lowlights) of what volunteers found included lots of large sytrofoam pieces, a fridge, vinyl material, fishing gear, and a tire.

The next CMRC Beach Clean-up will be held at the Big Egg Marsh beach on August 23rd. Please contact the CMRC for more information at if you or your groups would like to participate!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Web Seminar on Business Stewards of the Estuary: A Success!!

The CMRC held the Business Stewards of the Estuary Program Web Seminar June 26, 2008. Thank you to the many participants who provided valuable feedback on the next steps forward.

If you would like information about the webseminar or Business Stewards of the Estuary materials, please contact the CMRC at:

Click here to view the recorded Web Seminar in its entirety.

The Business Stewards of the Estuary Program is a pilot project conducted by the CMRC to establish a program to recognize businesses that adopt sustainability practices in their operations. Restaurants are eligible for recognition in 2009 under this program. Please contact the CMRC if you would like more information.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New, Updated Website on the Way

As CMRC's supporters know, we are working hard to grow the CMRC's programs and provide the NY-NJ region with educational opportunities and policy recommendations to help protect and preserve the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary.

We have been so lucky to rely on our dedicated volunteer webmaster since the very beginning of the beginning! Jon Neilson has put in the most time, effort, and talent of any of our volunteers. Thank you, Jon!

To save Jon time, we'll be updating the CMRC website to make it more user friendly, and easier to update on a daily and monthly basis. Keep on the look out for our new programming info. You'll see information on our:

Horseshoe crab education programs

Seining programs

Beach Clean-ups

The Virtual Estuary Project

The CMRC's Business Stewards of the Estuary Program

Harbor Estuary Policy initiatives

Thanks for your support!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Round of Applause to all the Volunteers at the Big Egg Marsh Beach Clean-up!

By Alisa Sukachevin

CMRC volunteers at the May 10, 2008 Big Egg Marsh beach clean-up deserve a great amount of recognition and praise for their hard work in Jamaica Bay.

The beach clean up was a big success. Volunteers consisted of students from the Common Cents Student Community Action Fund, which included Thomas Edison and Bayside High School students, teachers, and guidance counselors. Other CMRC volunteers included Adam, Beth, and Lucas Barusek, photographer Chris Coleman, CMRC Administrative Assistant Intern Alisa Sukachevin, and Cortney Worrall, director of the Coastal Marine Resource Center.

Together the volunteers collected over 700 items of litter and marine debris from the beach. The majority of items found on the beach were plastic bags – 215 total. Volunteer also found over 180 glass and plastic beverage bottles.

Other litter and debris included fishing gear, picnic items, and diapers, as well as stranger items, such as a car bumper. The most peculiar finding was a overturned, mostly buried car. In the end, volunteers carried eighteen full bags of garbage to the Big Egg Marsh parking lot to be picked up by the park authorities.

While collecting garbage on the beach, the groups of volunteers documented their findings on the International Coastal Cleanup™ Data Card provided by The Ocean Conservancy (more information on this can be found at The data card divides garbage into six different categories: shoreline and recreational activities, ocean/waterway activities, smoking-related activities, dumping activities, medical/personal hygiene, and debris items of local concern.

One of the main problems with litter on the beach is the impact it has on local wildlife. Some of the more distressing findings were horseshoe crabs entangled in fishing lines. Half of the horseshoe crabs found entangled in fishing lines were dead; the other half were still alive. The animals the volunteers found caught in the fishing lines further emphasize the need for pollution control.

Because of the previous night’s storm, volunteers were able to rescue about 8 stranded horseshoe crabs, which were returned to the water. Later during low tide, volunteers could spot horseshoe crabs spawning and gathering close to the shore.

Within the span of three hours, the large group of volunteers managed to clean up a sizable section of the Big Egg Marsh Beach. By the time the volunteers left for the day, the beach looked more pristine than when it was found. Cortney Worrall, director of the Coastal Marine Resource Center remarked that, before the arrival of the volunteers, Big Egg Marsh was, “a beautiful beach that needed a lot of help.” That is exactly what the volunteers did, helped.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One Earth Day Commitment

The CMRC was lucky enough to honor the students of Academy I Middle School in Jersey City, NJ. The CMRC presented each of Mr. Osenenko's students with certificates of appreciation and a CFL light bulb (no kidding) for each student in honor of their work to protect the ocean and coastal areas surrounding New Jersey and New York.

Check out this link and the below CMRC article describing the students' great work.

We hear almost everyday about what to do to protect the environment. Without providing a list of the many things we can do to help, let's start with just one small commitment. This is the challenge the CMRC presented to the audience at the Academy I Middle School awards program last week:

Simply commit to purchasing one CFL lightbulb and replace one incandescent light bulb in your home this week. If every American did this today, we may have made a real impact this Earth Day.  Climate change is the greatest long term threat to the ocean and our coastal areas. Replacing a single incandescent bulb with a CFL will prevent a half-ton of Carbon Dioxide from being released into the atmosphere over the life of the bulb.

And while you're at it make sure to keep tuned in to the CMRC's website for upcoming information on environmentally-friendly practices for businesses and restaurants as we wrap up our two-year Business Stewardship Project.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hats Off to Academy I Middle School in Jersey City, NJ!!!


Academy 1 Middle School in Jersey City deserves a huge amount gratitude and recognition for their work to protect our oceans and educate everyone about storm water pollution! On Tuesday, March 18, the “Cimate Academy” team of Mr. Osenenko’s sixth grade students, David Chen, Tsering Bista, Mathew Aquino, Yoonji Oh and Crystal Jahoor, kicked off the campaign "Clean Cities Make Clean Oceans" by painting the storm drains near the school with a stencil that stated “Dump No Waste: Drains to Waterways.”

The students were supported by Mr. Daniel Becht, Executive Director of the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority and Mr. Joseph Beckmeyer, Chief Engineer. Packets of paint, brushes, and stencils prepared by the Climate Academy were delivered by The Municipal Utilities Authority so that all the schools could participate in the project on March 24 and March 25, 2008.

The team of five students from Academy I organized themselves into an organization they call The Climate Academy. Sixth graders David Chen, Tsering Bista, Mathew Aquino, Yoonji Oh and Crystal Jahoor first tackled them problem of educating the public about global warming.

They developed two public service announcements that are currently airing on Comcast Channel 1. This was achieved by the support and dedication of The Media Arts High Tech Magnet Program at Snyder High School. The Climate Academy Films were edited by students in the media program. The high school media students were inspired to also enter the contest.

The Climate Academy Team was recently awarded $3000.00 and will now compete for the grand prize. The success of The Climate Academy revolved around the cooperation of Dorie Dunham (Media Instructor), Thomas Horan (Media Arts Tech Program Director), and Grace Moriarty (Principal of Academy I) and Joseph Osenenko (Science Instructor).

Check out the link on Clean Ocean Action's webpage about this work! Thanks to the students and all collaborators for this great work to protect coastal resources!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Human Impact on the Seas

Research by scientists in the Feburary 15th issue of the journal Science shows almost none of the world’s seas is free of human impact. Four percent of the ocean is considered nearly pristine while 40 percent is heavily or strongly impacted by human activity.

One of the most widespread impacts researchers found is acidification of ocean water by carbon. This is carbon that comes from human activities usually involving combustion. Increased acidification of the ocean can interfere with the survival and reproduction of marine organisms.

Other impacts include: shipping, fishing, pollution (including solid trash and plastics), invasive species, temperature changes, ultraviolet light, acidification, agricultural runoff and sewage, bottom trawling, and coral reef fishing.

The New York Times reports on the research:

New York Times op-ed on Oceans in Crisis

.... and Plastic in the Ocean

Is it just me or is everyone having trouble finding a place other than the trash can for plastic grocery bags? The New York City council may have done something to help.

The city council passed an important plastic bag recycling law in January 2008. Stores larger than 5,000 square feet will be required to provide plastic bag recycling bins in a prominent place. This is great news for NYC consumers who often have trouble finding a way to recycle plastic bags.

Plastic bags which can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade, can be found almost anywhere in New York City if you look hard enough - slowly tumbling down New York City streets in a light wind, tangled in trees, or stuck in storm drains. Sadly the CMRC has readily found plastic bags floating in the ocean at public beaches, half buried in sand, or flying out of beach trash cans during wind gusts.

CMRC supporters: do your part to recycle plastic bags, join beach clean-ups, and do what you can to reduce plastic bag use!

A link to the legislation:

New York and California are leading the way:

The New York Times article about the legislation:

Plastics in the Pacific

Thursday, February 07, 2008

How to be Green in the NYC Region? It's about the Blue.

Confused and tired of all the “green” marketing out there? Looking for a dynamic and simple way to learn about what it means to be “green” in New York City?

The CMRC is offering interactive morning, lunch, or evening workshops at your location. Find out what “green” means in our area. Discover the fabulous, often unrecognized coastal natural resources in and around the region.

Unlike information you may receive from the media or other sources, your guests will benefit from CMRC’s non-controversial, non-activist oriented presentations. The CMRC works with positive and expansive information and messages.

We come loaded with props, materials, and eye-opening interactive displays about the great blue and the biodiversity surrounding the city.

To discuss booking a speaker and your group’s interests call:

Cortney Worrall, MPA

718-757-1717 or

p.s. When you call, let us know if your business is interesting in learning more about CMRC’s
Business Stewardship Awards, offered to businesses that commit to practices which protect
the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Low Impact Development, THE Answer?

CMRC was lucky to attend a conference last week about Low Impact Development sponsored by the NY- NJ Baykeeper. Congratulations to Baykeeper on a super, very informative event.

First of all, what is Low Impact Development (LID)? Though there are many definitions, here is one of the best definitions presented at the conference:

LID describes methods that treat rainwater as a resource instead of a waste to be moved away from roofs, streets, and sidewalks as quickly as possible. These methods can improve or protect water resources in urban, suburban or rural ecological systems. LID is best defined by each individual community or region.

LID could be an excellent way to reduce combined sewer overflows in the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary Region, while in addition combating climate change and the heat island effect, not to mention providing energy savings. LID methods that could work here are:

- green roofs

- rain gardens

- rain water collection systems

- grey and black water collection systems

- green streets, or traffic calming features that allow for storm water infiltration

The ultimate challenge, described by Dr. Paul Mankiewicz of the Gaia Institute, is how to bring cities to life - how to change a sterile infrastructure into one with water flowing into fertile places where living organisms can use the water. LID can enhance opportunities for ecological productivity, prevent waste, and mitigate climate change.

Will these methods become a wide scale reality in our region? I believe the answer is yes, if we can continue to show through research that LID is cost effective and can provide the ecological benefits we hope it can.

Data from solid research will help our friends in the sustainability and environmental departments of local governments make the case to decision makers and budget crunchers that these are win-win strategies.

We can also make LID a reality if and only if we can make LID available to the middle and lower classes. And thus we come to that perpetual and great challenge the entire environmental movement faces on a daily basis -- how do we get the funding we need at all levels for better research and affordability?

The CMRC is addressing affordability in an upcoming workshop on paying for green infrastructure to be held in late spring. Keep posted for more information on dates and times.

Last but not least, I am happy to say my predecessors working on CMRC’s first green roof had the foresight to include a comprehensive monitoring component. Results available in the next four to five years.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mother Nature's Deeper Mood Swings

Over the weekend the press reported findings from the University of New Hampshire showing that since the 1970s Northeast winters are warming and snow cover has been decreasing. The results are the work of a masters student in Earth sciences and geochemical systems, Elizabeth Burakowski.

Though the most striking of the results applies to winters in New England, the trends seem to apply to the Northeast in general and confirm the sentiments of some long time residents.

This research serves as another of many signals that we need to pay greater attention to preventing and adapting to climate change.

Two facts of this news strike me as very interesting.

First the Associated Press quotes Parker Riehle, president of the trade association Ski Vermont. Riehle says, “We've seen some erratic winters in recent years. The mood swings of Mother Nature, perhaps, are deeper than they used to be."

I’m always looking for ways to better describe what climate change means and how the layperson can better grasp the changes that are likely in store. This quote is particularly clear. It is good at describing that not just warming but the variability in temperatures are of concern.

Temperature variability can affect nature and our systems in many ways. A few quick hypothetical (and relatively non-catastrophic, but nonetheless relevant) examples:

- An unusual three week warm spell in February tricks plants and many tree species into blooming. A sudden arctic cold snap bring temperatures down into the twenties three nights in a row. The trees and plants lose their first attempt at blooming and are stressed for the rest of the year having to put out a second set of leaves and/or blossoms. This stress then makes them more susceptible to drought conditions and disease.

- A local Y embarks on an program to save energy and decrease heating costs. Their efforts for the year are set back after a series of very cold days at the end of October when the maintenance staff is prompted to turn on the boilers and get the heat up and running for the winter. The weather quickly warms back up and remains warm for more than a week or two. During this time is it easier for the staff to open the windows and let out the excess heat during the day than turn off the entire system and restart it when it becomes cold again.

The second thing that strikes me about this news is that the press picked up on the work of a masters student. I see this as good news for all graduate students out there wondering if their work will be noticed and if their idealism to make the world a better place is at all warranted. My answer would be an emphatic “Yes!”. Just look at what great research design and the support of a good department and institution can do.

CMRC’s message to non-students and environmental professionals is: “We're glad this research is out there, but let's take this to a higher level and advocate for better research at the local and regional level.”

It is CMRC's hope that universities, agencies, and institutions in our region conduct more coordinated research about long-term trends in climate change and the ways we can work to prevent and adapt to climate change at a regional level. (There is another message here - if you are a graduate student and have research to share with CMRC, don't hesitate to get in touch with us!) ….ckw

See the AP’s article at:

Find a link to Elizabeth Burakowski’s abstract and the UNH press release at:

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Luaus for Polar Bears

Thanks to all the CMRC supporters who braved the cold and made it to our office for the 2nd Annual Waterfront Luau.  The newly inaugurated Green Roof Polar Bear Club made a trek to the top of the building for a great view of lower Manhattan and a taste of what a green roof in the dead of winter may feel like!  What a great start to the new 2008 projects CMRC has in store. 

We especially want to acknowledge our volunteers and the support and in-kind donations we received from the following companies:  Brooklyn Brewery, Gaiam, Patagonia, Jurlique, Lassen and Hennigs, Outside, and Ecostructure Magazine.  We couldn't have made it such a special evening without you.

The CMRC starts out 2008 with a look at climate change and sea level rise.  Over the next several months, CMRC will post information about climate change and how to get involved.  We will also be finalizing our Business Stewardship Project.  Keep visiting for Business Stewardship events, times, and locations.

Happy New Year from The CMRC.