On Monday, Shari Greenblatt of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Ate Atema of Atema Architecture graciously invited the Conservancy to participate in a boat tour of the Gowanus Canal. Luckily, it was a perfectly handsome day to do so!
About 30-40 people began the adventure at the Battery in Manhattan:
Armed with a microphone and a scenic backdrop, Hans Hesselein of the Conservancy spoke about the history and challenges of the canal, in addition to the myriad of projects the Conservancy has implemented to counteract those issues–especially in regards to green infrastructure.
Eric Rothstein of eDesign Dynamics and Ate then spoke about the watershed, Street Creeks and bioswales.
The tour curved around Red Hook, and finally entered the canal and past the 9th St. drawbridges.
More was discussed on the future of the canal in regards to Hurricane Sandy flooding, as the canal breached its banks during the hurricane (more here). With this in mind, climate change is on the forefront of issues the Conservancy has concern for.
The boat tour gave us a new vantage point, as we were able to see many features of the canal that we could not see from a canoe or on shore. Here is one of the metal recycling centers as seen from the boat:
Coincidentally, National Grid was also in the canal, taking sediment samples to assess location of plumes containing contaminated materials.
Unfortunately, a problem with the 3rd St. drawbridge prevented us from going further; regardless, it was a great opportunity to inform many who were not aware of the history of the canal, and about the Conservancy itself. Maybe there will be more boat tours in the future? Stay tuned!