Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tuesday Night at City Hall: The CAC

If ever the City of Hudson could benefit from having a Conservation Advisory Council it is now, when the City is pursuing a storm water separation project that will put the fragile ecosystem of North Bay in jeopardy. Although we could have used a CAC a year ago or more, the Common Council on Tuesday passed the resolution appointing six members to the CAC, which was created by Local Law No. 6 of 2014. The members are Holly Gardner, Michael O'Hara, Nick Zachos, Lauren Lafleur, Jonathan Lerner, and Carol Smillie. Let's hope that future planning and decision making for projects that impact the river and wetlands of North and South bays is informed by their collective knowledge and expertise.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations one and all.

    (We can change the foolish language of the statute which supposedly enabled their appointments later on.)

    Hudson's CAC is finally launched, but in the middle of what may be the most contentious environmental issue the group will ever face. It's almost unfair to them, but there it is.

    I don't assume I know how its members feel about the sewer separation project, but it's fairly accurate to say there are about the same number of people in the entire city who are actively pushing the project as there are serving on the CAC.

    I certainly wouldn't encourage the CAC to be influenced by majorities, or by anything outside their subject matter actually.

    It's just unfortunate and too typical of many municipalities that a half-dozen people in key government positions can band together and form a seemingly unbreakable power elite. It requires only a few cynical characters - often the types who seek such positions - to put hundreds of conservation-minded residents through the wringer.

    However, I'd caution that that's really not something a CAC should concern itself with. A CAC is not a substitute for an active citizenry. It's the public's job to remind the politicians we're still in the world, and it's a CAC's job to remind everyone what's out in the world.

    I recommend they begin with the Shortnose Sturgeon, a fascinating, ancient fish which spawns on our side of the river in its deepest gravelly parts. The federal agencies who are funding or permitting this project will certainly need to understand their coastal consistency obligations to this federally Endangered species.