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1994 Reconnaissance Phase Report Executive Summary

The Jamaica Bay Damages Account (JBDA) is a fund administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for the purpose of "restoring, replacing or acquiring the equivalent of any natural resources determined to have been injured, destroyed or lost as a result of the release of hazardous substances" from five municipal landfills owned and operated by New York City. Three of the landfills, Edgemere, Pennsylvania Ave., and Fountain Ave., are located at Jamaica Bay. One landfill, Brookfield Ave., is in Staten Island (at Richmond Creek), and one, Pelham Bay Landfill, is in the Bronx (at Pelham Bay Park).

On behalf of the DEC in its role as trustee of the natural resources of New York, the DEC Division of Marine Resources has developed and is carrying out a plan to address injured natural resources and the lost use of those resources. This is the goal of the "Jamaica Bay Damages Account" Restoration Process. The process consists of three phases: Reconnaissance, Planning, and Implementation. The Reconnaissance Phase involves the compilation of a list of projects to be considered for implementation under the JBDA. Another aspect of the Reconnaissance Phase is the development of criteria to be used in prioritizing and selecting projects to be examined during the Planning Phase and carried out in the Implementation Phase. The Planning and Implementation phases involve further explorations of high priority projects, selection of projects for implementation, creation of detailed implementation plans, and finally, execution of the projects. This document is a report on the Reconnaissance Phase.

In support of the Reconnaissance Phase, a workshop was held to promote coordination with other agencies with planning responsibilities in the areas covered by the JBDA. Through the workshop and other methods, proposals for projects were solicited. In addition, input was gathered regarding priorities for selecting the types and geographic distribution of projects. Over 40 project proposals are included in this report along with annotated lists of criteria and standards for prioritization. The project proposals gathered involve various activities including habitat restoration, access control, and land transfers and acquisition.

One goal of the Reconnaissance Phase was to identify any projects which, due to special circumstances, need immediate attention. These projects would be considered for "fast-track" status. Projects qualify for "fast-track" status if they meet the following conditions: a) rank as high priorities using the criteria set forth in this report b) need to be implemented quickly either to avoid a nullifying situation (e.g. imminent development) or to take advantage of a time-limited opportunity (e.g. special matching funds). Additional administrative resources would be assigned, expediting the tasks specific to these projects in the Planning and Implementation phases.

As a result of the Reconnaissance effort, culminating with the workshop, several high priority projects were identified which meet the criteria for inclusion under JBDA. These projects involve a combination of inter-agency land transfers, land purchases, on-site access security, and on-site restoration of natural resources. It is recommended that these projects be given "fast-track" status, with expedition of the Planning and Implementation of these projects.

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