Sep 30, 2007

Wastewater plant becomes kayak launch

Shoreline Park By Greenpoint Water Plant To Open This Weekend

A wastewater treatment plant may not be the ideal site for a park, but after decades of being cut off from their waterfront, Greenpoint residents saw an opportunity for a shoreline park and helped make it happen. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez got a preview of the park which opens this weekend.

A water treatment plant usually doesn't look or smell very nice. But a group of Greenpoint residents wanted to change that at the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Plant. This weekend they will get community access to the waterfront with a landscaped walkway, a kayak launch site, and a reduction in the smell.

"We have so much water around us, but we have no access,” said a member of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Commitee. “I think this is a start."

"We have to fight for every inch of park space in this neighborhood,” said another.

When plans were announced for a $3-billion upgrade to the plant a decade ago, volunteers formed a monitoring committee to work with the city's Department of Environmental Protection and make sure the new facility wouldn't further degrade the quality of life here. Made up mostly of long-time Greenpoint residents, committee members say their neighborhood has more than its fair share of environmental woes.

"We had sanitation here with the incinerator, we have transfer stations all over Greenpoint,” said a third. “There's an oil spill. There are lots of environmental issues here."

Besides helping mitigate the negative impacts of the plant's renovation, which is the largest sewage processing facility in the city, the group also helped design the waterfront.

Designers say the nature walk not only provides access to the waterfront, but also serves as a learning tool. The walls resemble the sides of a ship. Moreover, much of the greenery is tied to the environmental, industrial, and cultural histories of the neighborhood.

Etched in a granite table are the creek's original watershed and its tributaries. The names given to the area by the natives who lived here are etched in stone benches.

"All of the names are kind of angled differently, so when you actually read a name you're actually looking at a Native American place,” said environmental sculpture artist George Trakas.

The 800-foot walkway is just phase one of the project. Completing the walkways around the plant will take about another five years.

"Hopefully there'll be a big esplanade one day, and it'll all be connected, which would be marvelous," said a Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee member.

"I think the more people want to come to the creek and experience it, the more pressure will be put on the folks to keep it clean,” added Jim Pynn, superintendent of the Newtown Creek Plant.

- Jeanine Ramirez

Sep 23, 2007

Kayak And Canoe Launch Ramp Opens In Queens Park

Top Stories
Kayak And Canoe Launch Ramp Opens In Queens Park
September 22, 2007

It may have been the last day of summer Saturday, but one Queens park gave New Yorkers a reason to stay in the water.

After the official ribbon cutting ceremony, New Yorkers geared up to make a splash in Jamaica Bay, using the new kayak and canoe launch in Idlewild Park Preserve.

The preserve is part of the New York City water trail, which is a network of waterways that connects the city's parks. The Parks Department is thrilled about the launch, but some neighbors say it's just another headache.

"I think it's bad,” said resident Angel Flores. “Bad because we have rollover parking. We have garbage all around and we have to clean it.”

“What we're doing here is creating great value. We've got beautiful plantings of roses. We've cleaned it up; we've made it safe,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “I think this will actually increase neighborhood property values."

for video click here

Sep 19, 2007

One of the dumbest things I ever heard....

LI Man Ticketed For Rowing Fishing Vessel With Inflatable Boat

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Long Island man was ordered out of Long Island's North Channel by the Coast Guard Wednesday, while rowing a 9-foot inflatable boat that was trying to tow a 35-foot fishing vessel.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Steven Koch called it "one of the most unsafe things I may have ever seen a boater do,'' trying to tow a 35-foot vessel 20 miles in strong currents by paddling a 9-foot inflatable boat.

Louis Pasquale, of Seaford, was trying to tow his 35-foot fishing vessel Barbara Ann from Bay Shore about 20 miles to Freeport, Long Island.

He reportedly started towing the vessel at 5:30 Wednesday morning from the East Islip Marina, and managed to get about 100 yards in three hours when both the Coast Guard and Islip Harbor Police stopped him.

A Coast Guard boat crew towed the vessel, a hazard to navigation within the North Channel, to Bayberry Point and ordered Pasquale to anchor.

Islip Harbor Police towed the vessel into East Islip Marina and issued Pasquale a both state and town tickets for unsafe operation and hazard to navigation.

Sep 18, 2007

Colder Water and Air

Last year around this time I received helpful information from other members about gear for colder weather paddling. I want to extend the assistance to newer paddlers who might be thinking their paddling days have ended (and by the way, what did happen to the heat and humidity?) Atlantic Kayak Tours website has very helpful info about how to layer, and what to wear in various temp ranges. Bear in mind it's both air and water temps that are important. NRS has been a fairly reliable source of clothing and gear, and right now they are in their "Boaters Bucks" phase, which really just means you get 10% of this season's purchase price to use on next season's purchases (so maybe that's not such a big deal). Anyway, here are the links to the two web sites. I just ordered a hood (brain freeze is never much fun) and some base wear. I already have a Farmer Jane (wet suit) and a dry suit. Mittens or gloves are nice. Check out the AKT info and then figure out what you might need.

Sep 17, 2007

Stop Jet Ski Expansion in Jamaica Bay

I just got the notice (at the bottom) regarding a proposal by the Department of the Interior to expand the areas in Jamaica Bay where jet skis are permitted. This seems to me (and many) like a very bad idea. If you want to speak out against this proposal, try using the information below in the links, which provides ample reasons why the idea is a bad one. The deadline for comment is October 4, and the contact information for comments is at the bottom of the DOI notice.

The links below are good sources of information for opposing the Dept of Interior's proposal to expand the use of Jet Skis within Jamaica Bay. The basic reasons this is a truly awful idea are:
  1. Jet skis are known to be far more dangerous (as designed and operated) than other watercraft
  2. In addition to terrible noise pollution, they produce a much higher level of water and air pollution than other motor boats
  3. The enjoyment of wildlife in the bay will be adversely impacted
  4. As will the wildlife itself (marine, avian, and other)
  5. Jamaica Bay is already struggling for survival
  6. The supposed "restrictions" and buffer zones will likely not be enforced (as there is already very little enforcement. The deadline for responses is Oct. 4.
Mary (re AMA study on high incidence of jet ski accidents) (organization that has already done much of the groundwork/studies to limit jet skis in National Wildlife areas) (Bluewaternetwork Position Paper, which seems thorough and very disturbing -- but useful to quote) (response to Watercraft Position Paper)

From DOI Notice
In F-2007-0739(DA), the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service is proposing to authorize the use of Personal watercraft (PWC) at the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, in Kings and Queens Counties, New York. Under the proposed action, a special regulation would be promulgated to continue PWC use within the Jamaica Bay unit but only in the following navigational channels: North Channel (Island channel), Beach channel (south Channel), Grass Hassock Channel, Rockaway Inlet, and Broad Channel to the trestle bridge (the Raunt). PWC users would be prohibited from landing or launching within the unit. PWC owners living on the adjacent creeks, basins, and waterways would be allowed access through the unit; however, the must stay within the buoyed route (if one is present) or take the most direct route to access the designated navigational channels from Gerritsen Creek, Mill Basin, Paerdegat Basin, Shellbank Basin, Hawtree Creek, Breezy Point, and Roxbury. PWC use would be restricted from all waters along Breezy Point, and a 150-foot buffer would be implemented around all protected areas within Jamaica Bay (even if they occur within a channel).

Any interested parties and/or agencies desiring to express their views concerning the above proposed activity may do so by filing their comments, in writing, no later than 4:30 p.m., 15 days from the date of publication of this notice, or, October 4, 2007.

Comments should be addressed to the Division of Coastal Resources and Waterfront Revitalization, New York State Department of State, 41 State Street, Albany, New York 12231. Telephone (518) 474-6000; Fax (518) 473-2464. This notice is promulgated in accordance with Title 15, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 930.

Sep 12, 2007


This is an extreme environmental dispatch. Not only more people live on the canals of Amsterdam but this. Water is clean enough to walk....
Mudflat hiking (wadlopen) is a popular activity in the Netherlands. On the shallow Wadden Sea you can walk from the mainland to the isles of Terschelling (is seldom done - very long way), Ameland, Schiermonnikoog. It requires good planning to use the period of low tide to walk along the watershed of the mudflats. It's a great sensation to see how the sea "opens before your eyes" and makes a path to the islands. Compared to seakayaking it's very basic - forget your kayak gear and just walk to Ameland...

From Hans Heupink. See the happy people walking in endless shallow.

Sep 11, 2007

Combat Rolls

Balanced brace in eddies and combat rolls... This is something to aspire to.

Sep 10, 2007

Email Sent to Parks Dept.

Delivered using the contact form on the National Parks Service Gateway Recreation Area page. Note for non-locals - Jamaica Bay is a wildlife preserve and there is a ban on jetskis in the area.

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am a Jamaica Bay kayaker who is disturbed by developments in the Bay this summer. I and other paddling friends have noticed an upswing in the number of jetskis in the bay. Rumours from a source we tended to trust said that the ban was no longer in effect; however an individual who had not heard that reported a jetskier to the NYPD harbor patrol. He was told that the ban was still in effect, but was no longer enforced because no one complained. Apparently the officer encouraged my friend to do so - idea being that if people complained, the police would resume enforcing the ban. He was told that the complaints had to be made in person.

This is rather like the highway patrol asking motorists to call in complaints about speeders.

Assuming that the jetski ban is for environmental reasons, it should be enforced. Jamaica Bay is a wonderful resource & I'd like to see every feasible action taken to protect it - enforcing extant rules seems like a very simple way to do so.

However, I feel that it is extremely unfair to ask individual recreational boaters to collect the registration number of other recreational boaters, report them & get them taken off the water. My own access has been threatened enough (I used to paddle in the Hudson River Park, and kayaks on North River & the Upper Harbor have been a matter of contention in our own right) that I'm just not comfortable doing that.

Please don't ask me to do the job that the parks service and law enforcement should be doing.

Thank you.



Cross-posted at Frogma

Sep 9, 2007

Drip Irrigation on the cheap

Here is a cheap way to make drip watering system.

PDIU - Drip Irrigation on the Cheap

Using a bucket with a small hole for irrigation or fertilizer application

Here is to you, all SCC farmers.

Even better we can use rain / storm water and recycle. Here is the link about rain barrel.

Sep 5, 2007

Back to School Paddle

On Wed. Sept. 26th we will partner with the Urban Park Rangers and
P.S. 43 in Far Rockaway to take a class of students onto Jamaica Bay in
canoes. Our role is to act as safety boats. We could use a few people
to help out with the patrol and also to meet with the school officals
and the rangers. If your interested let me know. My guess is we will be
engaged from 8:30 until noon. After we can explore a part of the bay
where no Sebagoan has set paddle.

Tony 353 8018

Dreaming Asia

It started from frustration of traveling in Asia. Land transportation creates scenes of roadside ugliness and transitory experiences.

Having used Lonely Planet starting from their first edition of how to smuggle yourself from the Western Europe to Kathmandoo via Iran, much of my traveling became a chess game of how to exploit well beaten paths' infrastructure to remote and unspoiled areas. This game got me to places remote and so remote that a broken ankle could be life-threatening. But overall, that did not do it for me. Do the math. It takes you three weeks to set up logistics learn local supplies and language. Approach can take from three days to a week. You spend a month hauling with minimal support. So I got into kayaking.

Load your kayak up with minimal gears; a bivy sack, sleeping bag and pad, trail mix and enough water. You have an epic journey mere half an hour from your launch spot. You come back with a cavernous hunger.

Pei from the club is in Japan and sent a message mentioning possibility of a sister club. Masanori, a Japanese friend, is showing up in New York and we will attempt to make a kayak. That got me dreaming about Asia again.

Random walk lands me here and there on the Internet. I come across Jeff Allen's "Paddle Japan" They spent six months padding and compressed into a single page. Everyone talks about circling terra firma. You can make a circle with a kayak and you just have circle-navigated the world. Since I figure this out first, I will call it "Chalu's circle."

This sort of forces me to think priorities through; fun first or obsession first. Bragging rights aside, obsession is like a jar with a hole at the bottom. More obsessed, less filling.

We are putting a forward stroke clinic together. In Jamaica Bay, there is a weird local spot where currents and winds converge to create wild wave patterns. Discussing with Joe Glickman, it is decidedly Asian in flavor. "Steadying yourself on that body of water takes good stroke technique.", he says. "Tis like Zen", I say. "It is Zen", he says.

My list of destinations is long; Halong Bay in Vietnam, paddling down Mekong, Ton Le Sap of Cambodia, Kanya Kumari of South India, crossing from Korea to Japan to South Korea, water around Sri Lanka, Madagasca.

That gets me thinking; we need a ring of fellows or kayak zen masters dispersed around the world... Good and Evil.

Sep 4, 2007

Beach Clean UP - Trash Bash and Picnic

Trash Bash on Saturday, Sept. 8 (rain date Sept 9).

This is a volunteer activity to support the American Littoral Society's shore line clean up. Sebago Canoe Club has traditionally helped by taking charge of the shore line around Canarsie Pol. We have the bags and some gloves (if you have thick work gloves bring them).

We will launch from the club at 10 am.

If you are NOT safety certified you need to launch with the group. If you are safety certified and would like to join us later on Canarsie Pol, that's great.

We will plan to return to the Club in the early afternoon (around 2:30 to 3) for a picnic (hot dogs, beer, soda, etc).

If you want to help with the food, please let me know. I am hoping that we will also fit in a paddle around Canarsie Pol.

Please call or email me to let me know you are coming.

Mary 718 768 8432. (which will be mailed to Mary's personal email)