Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Good News for South Bay

The Valley Alliance has just shared the news that, on August 15, the State of New York designated South Bay Creek and Marsh a "Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat." Read more about it here.


  1. The state Division of Coastal Resources did such a bad job system-wide with the science that I've already phoned Albany to chew them out!

    Still, the South Bay SCFWH designation somewhat makes up for the purposeful irresponsibility of the city's LWRP, the planners of which left the South Bay's ecosystem under-protected. (I beg any of them to argue this point with me, but they do so at their peril!!)

    State coastal policy 7 is now in effect to either side of our city. For planned actions, this carries greater significance than any one of the other 43 coastal policies alone (though they must each be adhered to always).

    Holcim and O&G made their objections known in words during the SCFWH public comment period; exactly one week following the announcement of the proposed designation, they made their objections known in actions by paving the causeway with item #4. That was last June 23rd.

    So despite some of the disappointments to be discovered in the finished product, the South Bay is at least finally designated, the culmination of years of hard work by lots of people, self included.

    One agreeable addition to the final South Bay Rating Form (which somewhat offsets the state's stupid oversights in the Stockport Creek and Flats Rating Form), is a mention of the South Bay's two rarest animals, the Alewife Floater and the Tidewater Mucket. Both species are listed as "critically imperiled" by the NY Natural Heritage Program; the NYNHP database turning up only one other location for the mucket in New York state (in Saugerties). This animal is legally protected in every neighboring state, but not in ours. It's simply shameful.

    I thank the state for including these pearly mussels in their site description, despite the animals' unprotected status.

    (On the other hand, for ignoring these natural history finds I feel nothing but resentment for last year's deadbeat Common Council, and contempt for the authors of the LWRP. The LWRP planners omitted the shellfish presumably by relying on their unprotected status. But the State Environmental Quality Review Act calls upon Lead Agencies to address all new significant information, and not only information about protected species.)

    For some incomprehensible reason (to me anyway), no website in Hudson would ever agree to link to my photoessay of the South Bay. Perhaps today I can slip it under the radar at this very special moment:


  2. Anyone who wants to thank the State for its decision can email them at:


    -- and --


    Other officials may have acted to try to water down the decision, but the above (George Stafford and Stephanie Wojtowicz) are believed to have been instrumental in making this happen.

    Too often, State officials only hear the complaints and demands. It is good to let them know their actions are appreciated when they do listen to the people.


  3. Yes, do thank the DCR for designating South Bay. And thank them for mentioning the two pearly mussels while you're at it. Despite these mollusks' rarity, when you look through the other SCFWH Rating Forms you begin to appreciate how easily they might have been overlooked. (The only mollusks mentioned in all forty SCFWHs, and practically the only invertebrates.)

    But do ask about the poor natural history descriptions system-wide. They need to know that the public is watching their laziness too. They really did an abysmal job of it, once you compare the information provided by the public with the finished products.

    Incorrect data which was frozen into the original Rating Forms since the 1980s was retained in the new rating Forms, and will be with us for decades more.

    In the South Bay Task Force public comments, we looked at the entire program and scrutinized its founding technical document. We didn't only focus on the South and North Bays, although we related as much back to them as possible. We commented on all of the Hudson River SCFWHs.

    Since 2008, I've made a study of bad data in the SCFWH program which was used up and down the Hudson River. Some of this nonsense was even repeated in the City of Hudson's LWRP (along with all the other nonsense!), but this same bad data is regularly repeated in Hudson River literature everywhere.

    Despite the South Bay Task Force's Herculean effort to get this bad data removed, even going so far as providing necessary and individual federal contacts and telephone numbers, bad information will again persist for decades thanks to some lazy Albany bureaucrat's failure to pick up a telephone (confirmed to me yesterday by the DCR).

    In other words, now that they're locked into the South Bay designation you don't need to be too praising.

    But why can't anyone just do a good, honest job? Can someone answer me that?

    Also, the public was barely involved in the SCFWH public comment process, and I mean locally AND state-wide. For those who claim to care, lest we be called hypocrites we have a job to do too.

    All of the above should make it painfully clear that everyone who cares about these things is desperately needed. The ecology simply can't speak for itself.