Ridgewood Reservoir will soon be added to the state Wetlands Map, preserving the site

The Ridgewood Reservoir will receive added environmental protection as a registered historic place.
Photo by Anthony Giudice/QNS

After years of advocacy by local elected officials, residents, and environmental experts, the Ridgewood Reservoir will soon be added to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Wetlands Maps as a designated wetland.

In a letter to Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, a staunch supporter of making the Ridgewood Reservoir a wetland, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos notified Nolan that the wetlands within the reservoir are of “unusual local importance,” making them eligible to be added to DEC’s official wetlands map.

“The Reservoir is truly a unique site which consists of natural and largely undisturbed habitats for many species of animals,” Nolan said in a statement. “I welcome the state’s strong interest in preserving this site in its entirety for future generations. Thank you to Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS Commissioner Basil Seggos, Queens Community Board 5 and all of the residents and organizations that have advocated for the reservoir over the last decade. I look forward to working with DEC and our community as we work through this formal process.”

The wetlands at the Ridgewood Reservoir can be added to the map through the multi-step process of a map amendment.

The map amendment process involves the following steps:

  • Publishing a public notice announcing the intent to make the map amendments;
  • The availability of the draft maps and supporting documentation;
  • A public comment period; and
  • A public meeting.

“Following the public hearing, DEC will consider and respond, as appropriate, to all proposed modifications to the wetland boundaries, make any necessary changes, and then finalize and publish the map amendment,” Seggos wrote in the letter to Nolan. “DEC, in association with the NYC Park Department, has completed the wetland delineation on the site, with the intention of adding them to the official DEC Wetland Maps.”

The three basins within the Ridgewood Reservoir are home to more than 100 species of birds — including at least five that have been listed as Threatened or of Special Concern in New York state — several different species of plant and fauna and a wide variety of tree species.