STATEN ISLAND – Over 40 people attended Staten Island Coalition for Wetlands and Forests (SICWF) Community Forum “Flooding and You” on Saturday April 28 at the Mariners Harbor Library.
The goal of the forum was to raise awareness of the the proposed destruction of the Graniteville wetlands and forest on South Avenue in Staten Island and the impact on flood maps and the environment of the surrounding areas. A BJ’s Wholesale Store is currently planned at the site.
Speakers included James Scarcella and Tony Rose of National Resources Protective
Association (NRPA) and SICWF leader Gabriella Velardi-Ward. They discussed the history of the site, and what had been done in recent years to help protect it from development, prior to the rezoning to the city to clear the path for the big box store.
“In this age of climate chaos, we need this wetland and forest to protect us. Scientists are finding that the best resiliency plan against climate change, is not a wall but soft resiliency, that is wetlands, marshes and forests.” stated Velardi Ward.
During the 2 hour event, participants raised concerns about the high cost of flood insurance for surrounding homeowners and those who live in the adjacent trailer park. Participants also shared concerns about the impact of pollution from New Jersey plants as well as the highway and airport traffic on this environmental justice community.
SICWF member Eloise Calderwell stressed the point that there is nothing man-made today that can replace the protection what nature provides to protect from pollution and flooding.
Attendees were asked to write the Governor Andrew Cuomo to protect the wetlands and help the group meet its 1,000 letter goal, to share information with neighbors, and join the coalition every Saturday on South Avenue from 11am-1pm.
The next SICWF meeting will be at the Reformed Church of Staten Island 54 Port Richmond Avenue at 7pm.
For more information contact:
Contact: Gabriella Velardi Ward, Coalition for Wetlands and Forests
The Coalition for Wetlands and Forests (SICWF)consists of members of environmental groups,of residents and surrounding condo associations as well as civic groups that have organized to save the local natural areas that are at risk of development. Organizations include National Resource Protectors Association, North Shore Waterfront Conservancy, Friends of Manresa, Staten Island Preservation League, Sustainable Staten Island, City West Condo Association, Regal Walk Condo Association