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Photos courtesy of NYC H2O
Photos courtesy of NYC H2O
Join NYC H2O at a pair of community listening sessions about the Ridgewood Reservoir.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Ridgewood Reservoir and the potential future of the site, NYC H2O, a nonprofit organization that educates people about NYC’s waterways and ecology, is hosting two community listening sessions in Glendale and Brooklyn later this month.

On Tuesday, May 23, at P.S. 68 located at 59-09 St Felix Ave. in Glendale at 7 p.m., and on Thursday, June 1, at the YMCA located at 570 Jamaica Ave. in Brooklyn at 7 p.m., participants will gather to talk about one of Ridgewood’s natural resources.

In April, the reservoir was reclassified from a Class C “High Hazard” to Class A “Low Hazard” dam after the New York City Parks Department completed a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) application.

“The new classification for the walls of the reservoir should help to protect it from redevelopment or construction that does not respect its unique ecology,” said Matt Malina, director of NYC H2O. “There were prior plans to breach the walls which would have damaged the ecosystem and rendered the space unusable for years while demolition took place. It is worth noting that the prior plans are still on the Parks Department webpage. And while we agree that surrounding neighborhoods can always use additional athletic fields, we believe other locations are more appropriate and respect this currently underappreciated unique natural area — a real treasure for both boroughs and the whole city.”

At the meetings, Malina will lead discussions on topics related to the reservoir including not only the reclassification of the site, but also what that means for the reservoir, a potential wetland delineation and Critical Environmental Area designation by the Parks Department and DEC, and the status of the reservoir’s application to be listed on the NY State and National Historic Registers.

The groups will also touch on some of the challenges the Ridgewood Reservoir and its visitors face such as pedestrian walkway access and safety, providing a bus stop at the site, the illegal use of ATV on the reservoir’s pathways, as well as natural dangers to the reservoir like invasive species of plants.

NYC H2O conducted a survey to find out what people would like to see at the Ridgewood Reservoir, and out of the 333 who responded, a majority wanted to bring a nature center to the site.

“We’d also love to see a nature center built at the reservoir. Since 2014, we have brought over 2,500 students to the Reservoir and will bring 1,000 more this spring,” Malina said. “We engage the students with their water system and ecology. The Reservoir is a cultural and ecological treasure for New York’s children. Seeing how students respond with wonder and curiosity when introduced to one of the City’s most beautiful, ecologically diverse and historic settings is inspiring. We want to introduce more people, children and adults, to this amazing treasure.”

To RSVP for one of the community listening sessions, visit www.nych2o.org.

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