NEW RECORDS EMERGE: Army Corps of Engineers Echo Bay PRP Report on Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration

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NEW RECORDS EMERGE: Army Corps of Engineers Echo Bay PRP Report on Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration

March 06, 2014 - 21:25

Echo Bay PRP Report CoverEarlier today, I obtained under FOIA an Army Corps of Engineers report: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Echo Bay PRP Report: CAP Section 206 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration - October 2003 . Additional documents are linked below.

The report states that the City of New Rochelle is the “Sponsor" of the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration of Echo Bay and that the work is being in Nita Lowey's Congressional District.

The City of New Rochelle, New York is committed to the scope of this preliminary restoration plan (PRP) and proposed project, and strongly supports continued investigation and subsequent construction. Before requesting the Corps’ partnership through Section 206, the City of New Rochelle worked closely with Smith Group JJR, a local consulting team, to investigate the site. The City of New Rochelle is committed to improving the site's habitat.

City officials have repeatedly professed to be unaware of this project.

The document includes an Implementation Schedule for the proposed Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration of Echo Bay which includes "Preliminary Restoration Plan to Sponsor" with a projected date of December 2003 and a "Letter of Intent from Sponsor" with a projected date of January 2004.

All of the described documents herein would appear to be covered under the FOIL request to the City of New Rochelle back in July 2013. To date I have not received a single document from the City of New Rochelle pursuant to that request. So far the only explanation for not having received records is that they MAY have been destroyed in a flood. Some of the records were delivered to the City of New Rochelle as digital records on a CD. There has been no explanation of how digital records would be destroyed in a flood.

I have today submitted to the City of New Rochelle a follow up to my July 2013 FOIL request asking about the following documents referenced in the PRP Report.

1. Documents related to investigation of the site by Smith Group JJR? That would include any records related to hiring them, paying them as well as any reports, analysis or related documents they produced as a result of their investigation of the site.

2. Preliminary Restoration Plan to Sponsor

3. Letter of Intent from Sponsor

I have also submitted a follow up to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The proposed project was to provide approximately 5 direct acres of wetland restoration and associated habitat improvements for adjoining areas at a total project cost of $3,000,000. The total project cost includes all aspects of planning, NEPA compliance, engineering, construction, and post-construction monitoring, including labor, equipment, and material costs.

The Implementation Schedule called for the work to be completed on the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration nu June 2006 which coincides with the RFP Process under which Forest City was awarded the right to develop the area.

The project description states that the area to be studied "has become the focus of an urban renewal effort, whose goals include the environmental restoration of the coastal area."

That focus was lost in 2006, as Talk of the Sound reported previously:

Long Hidden 2006 Army Corps of Engineers Report Found High Levels of Hazardous, Toxic Metals in Channels Flanking Proposed Echo Bay Development

The PRP Report provides some historical context as to why there are such high levels of hazardous materials in the area:

Coastal New Rochelle was constructed on a former landfill. In the mid-20th century, it was common practice to "reclaim" swamp lands and other so-called waste lands, perceived to have very little value, by filling them with municipal and industrial waste, and various construction debris material (Moses 1950). According to an 1890 topographic survey map of the Bronx shoreline, the landfill filled in approximately 80 acres of tidal marsh and 40 acres of open water (Kolkowitz et al. 1991).

Army Corps of Engineers Echo Bay PRP Report contains a great deal of additional information which readers will be certain to find interesting.

Talk of the Sound obtained additional documents which we provide here:

Benthic Report from ERDC (March 2006)

Benthic Sampling Location (March 2006)

Grain Size Analysis of 1st Benthic Sampling Effort (March 2006)

Fact Sheet (March 2006)


How Come No One in New Rochelle Knows Nuthin' About Army Corps of Engineers Study of Echo Bay?

Why is City of New Rochelle Stonewalling on Army Corps of Engineers Report?