SAVE OUR WETLANDS! STOP Mitigation Banking Instrument in New York!
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Wetlands are vital, essential resources. Salt marshes are where the sea meets the land. They are estuaries providing habitat for the greatest diversity of life. They are responsible for preventing flood damage and are the buffer zone of natural transition from sea to upland. They are the homes for our breeding fish, crabs, turtles, birds, and are essential for the local food web and migrating wildlife.The health of our ecosystem is directly related to the health of our wetlands!
Saw Mill Creek Marsh in Staten Island is the current target as a pilot project for mitigation banking. Saw Mill Creek Marsh has already been responsible for saving hundreds of homes from flooding during hurricane Sandy and previous storms. Saw Mill Creek Marsh has previously received mitigation funding in response to damages to the area from oil spills, as well as from the Clean Air/Clean Water Act. Failure to provide further funding and support to this area should NOT result in the scapegoat practice of Mitigation Banking.
The Mitigation Banking Instrument is a process of receiving funding from the private sector in exchange for Wetland Mitigation Credits which will allow the private developers the opportunity to develop wetlands. The funding provided is intended for environmental restoration to City owned, public property that is supposed to already receive protection and funding by local and state government agencies managing the property.
City representatives are currently trying to fast-track the process for mitigation banking. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead agency for this process. NYCEDC is responsible for the economic development of land throughout New York City and should not be involved in developing our remaining integral wetlands, or have anything to do with our natural resources which need to be protected from all development agencies and especially private development!
All wetlands should be receiving the highest protection available and should be heavily regulated! A restored wetland will never equal a naturally occurring wetland. Public owned property managed by government agencies should NEVER be used as leverage to collect funding from the private sector in exchange of crediting further development of wetlands. The government decision to not properly fund environmental restoration practices should NOT result in using the public owned properties to leverage funding resulting in NET LOSS of wetlands. In addition the public has NOT been adequately notified of the process or given a chance to voice their opinion about this use of Public Owned Land. Allowing the Mitigation Banking Instrument will set a precedent for the City to continue to collect money for restoration practices in exchange for more and more wetlands to be lost to development. The result is a catastrophic loss of Natural Resources and shoreline protection values.
The NO BUILD alternative is the only acceptable measure that should be upheld to protect our wetlands. Increased enforcement and mitigation for damaged wetlands should be a priority to both New York State and New York City. This petition requests that NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo and/or NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio put an immediate stop to this process and remove the possibility of the Mitigation Banking Instrument from ever being used. New York State has always historically rejected Mitigation Banking. With so few wetland areas remaining, it is NOT the time to favor Industrial Development for economic short-sighted gains that depreciates our limited, remaining wetland values!
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