Science and Technology in NYC Seminar 3 with Professor Alexandratos | HN C106 | M & TH 1:10-2:25 Mon, 19 Nov 2007 02:55:36 +0000 en High Performance Building Program Mon, 19 Nov 2007 02:23:22 +0000 tseplowin Hey, this is Fanny, posting under Tahra’s user because I don’t have one yet. (Thank you Tahra :D / <3)

I’m pasting my presentation notes for all those who didn’t get the email, and I’m attaching the High Performance Building guidelines for those who want to browse through it.


High Performance Building Program

High Performance Building Guidelines, published in April 1999 (during Giuliani’s years) by the City of New York’s Department of Design and Construction, available at

(they have two reports and four manuals available at
for downloading in pdf format, or you can purchase a copy at the citystore online for $25 dollars

The DDC’s (department of design and construction) High Performance Building Program was sponsored by the Design Trust for Public Space in 1998 to improve the design and understanding of public space in NYC through environmentally-responsible sustainable building.

According to the guideline book, “ …the central mission of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is to deliver the City’s construction projects in a safe, expeditious, cost-effective manner, while maintaining the highest standards of architectural, engineering, and construction quality.”

There were eight goals that the DDC set out in the HighPerformance building program guidelines

High Performance Building Guidelines Goals

1. Raise expectations for the facility’s performance among the various participants.

2. Ensure that capital budgeting design and construction practices result in investments that make economic and environmental sense.

3. Mainstream these improved practices through
1) comprehensive pilot high performance building efforts; and
2) incremental use of individual high performance strategies on projects of limited scope.

4. Create partnerships in the design and construction process around environmental and economic performance goals.

5. Save taxpayers money through reduced energy and material expenditures, waste disposal costs, and utility bills.

6. Improve the comfort, health and well-being of building occupants and public visitors.

7. Design buildings with improved performance which can be operated and maintained within the limits of existing resources.

8. Stimulate markets for sustainable technologies and products.

A high performance building has to be energy and resource efficient, have a healthy interior, and minimalize the environmental impact of the building’s construction and operation.

Why build high performance buildings?

1) Energy Efficiency/Clean Energy Resources
If a building used renewable energy, like solar power (for an example), it saves on energy costs on fuel and electricity. Using less fuel also reduces emissions of gases like sulfur dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, which contribute to air pollution. Using less electricity also reduces the emission of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.

2) Improved Indoor Environment
A building with a good indoor environment should utilize daylight, and have improved air quality. The benefits? Employees come to work, and are healthier and happier.

3) Source Reduction, Pollution Prevention and Recycling
Using recyclable or renewable material helps prevents the depletion of natural resources, and reduces pollution. Also on the up side, it helps increase the market for recycled goods.

4) Building Operations Resource Management
If a building is designed in a way that promotes sustainability, it keeps operation costs low, while helping the environment. And example of this is the Hearst tower. It collects rainwater to irrigate plants, for the water sculpture, and to cool the building. It conserves water, and saves a lot money.

The Building Objectives fall under 6 categories


Good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
A healthy and comfortable level of indoor air quality is the goal for all occupied spaces, as good IAQ supports and enhances the activities and well-being of the occupants.

Light Sources
Achieve a quality of light that is beneficial to building activities and occupants by
combining natural light with complementary electrical light sources.

Noise Control
Create a sound environment that is healthful, comfortable, and appropriate to intended use by controlling noise and carefully attending to the acoustic design of spaces.

Controllability of Systems
To achieve a healthy and comfortable environment, it is critical to ensure that user groups and facility maintenance staff can knowledgeably operate the building systems and equipment. As much control as possible should be given to individual users, without compromising the effectiveness and efficient control of the overall system.


Selection for a Healthy Indoor Environment
Overall indoor air quality goals can be achieved by specifying and installing benign, or ‘healthy’ building materials. These include materials and products that exhibit limited or no ‘off-gassing’ tendencies, have minimal or no toxic properties, do not shed dust and fiber, and do not absorb pollutants that are later released, potentially generating complaints among building users/occupants.

Selection for Resource Efficiency
Resource efficiency can be achieved through conscientious design strategies, and by selecting environmentally preferable building materials. These measures can conserve natural resources while minimizing the generation of waste and pollution during construction. The hierarchy of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ can serve as a guideline for decisions relating to resource efficiency.

Selection for External Environmental Benefit
The selection and use of environmentally preferable materials yields benefits that easily exceed the scope of the building itself. Products produced and deployed in an environmentally responsible manner help reduce local, regional, and global pollution while encouraging sustainable stewardship of resources. For example, global benefits accrue from specifying sustainably harvested, certified wood products, and from avoiding the use of ozone-depleting compounds in foam products, refrigeration and fire suppression systems.


Minimize the Use of Domestic Water
Proper selection of plumbing fixtures, equipment, and fittings can minimize end use of domestic water while conserving water quality and availability.

Water Quality
All projects must ensure optimal water quality at the tap – potable water that is both safe (non-toxic) and aesthetically pleasing in terms of taste, color, and odor.

Water Reuse
To achieve overall water conservation goals, it is important to limit the use of potable water for non-potable purposes. On site water reclamation and reuse should be encouraged and facilitated wherever possible.


Environmental and Community Considerations
Renovation and new construction should be performed with the least possible disruption to both the community and the environment.
Conscientious construction administration can minimize harm to the site and surrounding area, including soil, water resources, and air. Construction of the project should foster the perception of high performance buildings as good neighbors.

Health and Safety
Construction workers and building occupants need protection from pollutants produced during construction, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulates, dust and other airborne contaminants and odors. These same construction contaminants must also be prevented from accumulating in building HVAC systems and in absorbent building materials, such as carpet and furnishings.

Construction and Demolition Waste Management
Construction and demolition (C&D) waste management techniques divert materials from the waste stream, thus preserving valuable resources and landfill space. C&D waste typically includes building demolition and scrap materials, components such as doors or lighting fixtures, packaging materials, hazardous materials, and miscellaneous construction waste such as bottles, cans, or paper.


Fully Integrated Operating Systems
Commissioning activities transform the various building systems into an integrated whole. During all tests and performance protocols, a dedicated commissioning agent oversees the building team to ensure that the systems have been well-designed, appropriately installed, and functionally tested, and that the staff are trained to operate and maintain the facility in conformance with design intent.

Commissioning Existing Buildings
For a building renovation or infrastructure upgrade, commissioning should be performed on the affected systems or parts of systems in a comprehensive manner.


Operating and Maintaining Building Systems
Operating and maintenance practices ensure that all building systems function to the fullest extent of their designed efficiency and meet specified levels of energy and indoor air quality performance.
Scheduled maintenance and cleaning will help to yield ongoing energy savings for the building while promoting occupant health and comfort.

Healthy and Efficient Custodial Operations
Reduced human exposure to physical and chemical hazards and odors associated with cleaning products and pesticides can be achieved through custodial operations that employ appropriate methods and low- toxicity or non-toxic cleaning products.

Waste Prevention and Recycling
Reducing, reusing, and recycling solid, liquid, and food waste from day-to-day building operations and activities are critical high performance operating strategies, in that they effectively promote ongoing resource conservation. Purchasing decisions can also contribute to waste prevention (e.g., specifying mechanically-controlled roll towels instead of disposable folded towels; avoiding products with excessive or unnecessary packaging).

Guidelines are also available in the booklet “Implementing the High Performance Guidelines” by the City of New York’s Department of Design and Construction in November 2002,

In the newer report, problems with implementation of the high performance guidelines are discussed:

Operational Constraints
The most common ground for eliminating a high performance feature is the concern that a non- conventional system’s uniqueness or perceived complexity would further tax the agency’s finite operating resources. For this reason, the more sophisticated the proposed system, the greater the perceived risk and the less its likelihood of incorporation.

Higher First Cost
Items with a longer payback are usually eliminated, even though they might result in additional comfort or amenity (increased insulation, natural ventilation). In general, it is difficult to maintain high performance features as high priorities when severe budget constraints threaten other elements on the designer or client’s wish list.

Perceived As Trade-offs
High performance features are seen as burdensome/extraneous in the context of a schedule- and budget-driven program initiative, such as the Fire Department’s emergency response centers.

Perceived Risk
Many clients were presented with the option of installing a green or planted roof as a valuable high performance feature. However, with one exception, all have perceived this technology as risky, since it has no track record in a public sector environment. (Disagreement with this; there are now high performance buildings.)

Additional Challenges to Implementation of the Guidelines

Lagging Industry Learning Curve
Since the Guidelines’ publication three years ago, there continues to be slow growth in practical knowledge among the broader design community about the techniques and benefits of high performance practices. Although DDC’s High Performance Program success has encouraged other similar City and State agency initiatives, the corresponding demand for green design capability from among other institutions and within the commercial real-estate sector has not markedly increased.

Fiscal Barriers
Current fiscal practices within City government structurally separate capital and operating budgets, prescribing relatively fast pay-backs for efficiency improvements rather than encouraging a life cycle cost approach that would make feasible more extensive performance improvements in new buildings, or
deeper retrofits, and yield greater economies across the building life span. It is this fragmentation of operating and capital decision-making that prejudices most design choices towards first cost savings, rather than life-cycle economies.

Missing Incentives
Operating savings that might arise from a client agency’s prudent capital investments in energy efficiencies are prevented from being “shared.” In this way, efficiencies will never accrue to the client’s benefit. Instead, savings are returned to the City’s General Fund. This removes a major client incentive to adopting high performance improvements and realizing useful operational savings for other agency- perceived program needs.

This has changed because of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification

LEED buildings:

* Lower operating costs and increased asset value.
* Reduce waste sent to landfills.
* Conserve energy and water.
* Healthier and safer for occupants.
* Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
* Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
* Demonstrate an owner’s commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

LEED certification makes sustainable building attractive. Many also argue that the costs of making a greener building are not actually increased if concepts are incorporated early on.

Overall, the guideline report gives many objectives to fulfill, and provides strategies and suggestions.

Zero Waste Initiative Notes Sun, 18 Nov 2007 01:24:59 +0000 tseplowin Attached are the documents - my notes and the powerpoint. If anything doesn’t work, my email is, and I’ll send it to you directly. Good luck studying!

Who: San Francisco of Supervisors
What: Zero Waste Initiative
When: September 30th, 2002
Where: San Francisco
Why: Stop climate problems! Less trash for incinerators is les co2, less landfills is less land pollution.

What is the purpose of Zero Waste Initiative?

The Zero Waste Initiative is a city program with the goals to reduce their waste by 75% by the year 2010 and eliminate it all together by 2020. This will require the best possible usage of available materials. The goal is not to use ANY incinerators or landfills because everything will be recyclable or biodegradable and this used for compost.

How is this going to be accomplished?

There are three main ways of targeting the issue of too much solid waste:
1)    Recycling Collection
a.    The Fantastic Three (residential):
i.    You have three carts to put stuff in!
1.    The BLUE cart – Paper items, bottles, and cans. Have a lot? Request a bigger cart, and getting it is totally free!
2.    The GREEN cart – Compost. Food, food-soiled paper, and plants. Have a lot? Request a bigger cart, and getting it is totally free!
3.    The BLACK cart – Garbage. Everything else except for such hazardous waste as batteries, electronics, light bulbs, etc. Have a lot? No problem! A bigger cart is always available! Except this time, you have to pay for it.
2)    Recycling Centers
a.    Drop off stuff that doesn’t go into the BLUE, GREEN, or BLACK cart. You’ll get paid for it.
3)    Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling
a.    Whoever owns the land has to make sure that the debris is properly taken care of. That means that a properly registered transporter brings a minimum of 65% of the debris to a registered facility.

What happens with food scraps from the GREEN bin? It is collected for composting. 300 tons of food scraps are sent EACH DAY to a composting facility, where this organic material turns into nutrient rich soil to grow MORE food – just like Nature intended.

Who is involved in this?

Everyone. The government controls the surplus so that city-owned furniture and electronics are not tossed when unwanted, but available to other departments so that new things aren’t always bought. What does everyone else do? This program holds both the producers and consumers responsible. How is this done?
1)    Producer Responsibility:
a.    Make things more durable, easier to recycle, and less toxic
2)    Consumer Responsibility:
a.    Buy what you need, reuse things, and buy GREEN.
b.    Put this in perspective. If a business purchases a single ton of 100% post consumer recycled content paper, what does that mean in terms of the environment?
It means that:
1.    17 trees are saved.
2.    4,200 kilowatt hours of energy are saved (enough to heat or cool an average North American home for about, oh, half a year?)
3.    7,000 gallons of water.
4.    60 pounds of pollutants are kept out of the atmosphere.

Why would anyone bother putting in all this effort for something that is so heavily debated in our society?

Incentive, of course! You as an individual are going to be healthier! It also helps that the city has these programs that make it very, very easy to sort out what you want to dispose of. Why do businesses bother? Because the total percentage of waste that they divert from being tossed = the percentage of the discount they get on the bill they pay for waste.

Well, money is always nice. What else is the government doing?

They’re participating by being the example. San Francisco departments have around 80,000 tons of waste a year. To get rid of it, it costs over $5 million. They, also, must divert 75% of their waste by 2010.
The guidelines for each city department are briefly summarized below:
1)    Each department should designate someone to oversee waste management in the department. Hopefully, that person is enthusiastic.
2)    Have a plan! Focus on these things: reducing, preventing, and/or reusing waste. Buying as many recycled things as possible. Having peoplee and equipment that enable recycling. Setting goals for the department. Last but not least, having examples to help motivate people.
3)    March 1st: Have a Waste Assessment report handed in to the Department of the Environment. Cover these topics: The types of waste generated, the volume or weight of said waste, and batteries purchased, collected, and recycled.
4)    What departments need janitors to consolidate recyclable materials to designated pick-up spaces for haulers.
5)    Let’s save trees, too! Follow these simple steps: All this stuff submitted? Do it electronically. If someone has to print, do so double sided. Also, if you have to use paper, it better meet RCO standards. If a city departments demands a submission of something printed, it better be written somewhere that yes, said department expects your bid, report, proposal, quotations, etc. to be printed double sided.
6)    Back to batteries. You might think that disposable ones are easier. Too bad. Contracts with battery vendors are now going to include this: They must be alkaline rechargeable batteries. They have to be recycled, and there has to be written documentation that it was, indeed, recycled. The vendor also has to suppoly detailed recycling instructions, and any hazardous substances explain WHY they are hazardous.
7)    It’s also not good enough that recycled things are bought. Oh, no. There is a minimum of 30% post-consumer material, and plastic products should really be avoided.

How is San Francisco doing right now?

As of 2007, they have managed to divert, so far, an amazing 69% o their original amount of waste. They are fully confident that they will be able to exceed the 75% in less than the 3 years left to accomplish the goal.

Um. This is expensive. I can’t afford it. And you’re going to make me lose my job, too.

Um, yes you can. Maybe it seems like a lot of extra money and effort, but here are just some of the ways in which it’ll pay off. First of all, you’re saving your planet. But as this doesn’t seem to interest people enough, let’s make it a bit more short-termed. By composting food, you lessen trash, thus pay less for garbage bills (your tax money!). You get paid to recycle. You are trying to reuse old things, so you aren’t paying for the creation of new things. As for the jobs… companies still need to operate. They’ll just operate differently. You probably won’t lose your job. If you do, well, there is a new market in jobs and technology to help further this initiative. Theoretically, when the rest of the planet catches on, you get to work there, too.

How does this compare to the rest of us progressive Americans?

Currently, San Francisco is at around 69%, as said earlier. The United States rate of waste diversion is 30.6%. Someone has a lot of catching up to do.

How is New York doing, and how can we use what San Francisco is doing to help our progress?

-    Unity! San Francisco is working with the cooperation of private companies such as garbage and recycling, public establishments, businesses such as restaurants and supermarkets, and individual residents and consumers.

1)    On March 27, 2007, San Francisco banned plastic bags in large markets and drugs stores. They must be replaced by biodegradable plastic or recyclable paper sacks.
2)    Paying more to garbage companies based NOT on how much it dumps in landfills, but how much it recycles. 85% possible, final 15% only by reformation of products.

Then again, keep these problems in mind:
- According of the 2006 census, San Francisco has a population of 744,041     over 47 square miles, making the density less than 16,000 people per square mile. New York, according to the 2005 census, however, has a population of 8,143,197 people over 301 square miles, making the density over 27,000 people per square mile.

Conclusion: There’s going to be a huge change. There’s no denying it. It’s not that simple or easy to completely change one’s lifestyle, and we’ve gotten used to the convenience of being able to toss everything away. But now, not only do we know that we can’t keep doing this, but we also know that we can stop doing this – at least, so far, by 69%. If the government steps in and makes sure producers produce green things and the consumers consume green things, that this will replace the current cycle.

Optimizing recycling in all of New York City’s neighborhoods: Using GIS to develop the REAP index for improved recycling education, awareness, and participation
Marjorie J. Clarkea,  and Juliana A. Maantayb, , ,  
aDepartment of Geography, Hunter College, City University of New York, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA
bDepartment of Environmental, Geographic, and Geological Sciences, Lehman College, City University of New York, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, Bronx, NY 10468, USA 
Received 9 August 2004;  accepted 29 June 2005.  Available online 19 August 2005.
New York City’s recycling program began in 1988 with scattered pilot programs to collect a restricted number of recyclable categories. Over time, the program was made more uniform in its implementation, was expanded citywide, and targeted more types of recyclables. Although Department of Sanitation surveys have shown that residents in all areas of the city have understood the requirements of the recycling program, recycling diversion rates vary substantially throughout the city’s neighborhoods, ranging from 9 to 31% per district, while city-wide the diversion rate averages only about 20%.
This paper explores the possible reasons for the disparity of recycling participation rates amongst neighborhoods, using recycling data collected by the city and federal census information to characterize the city’s neighborhoods and show variation in recycling participation rates, demographics, socio-economic indicators, and other metrics. Four variables were found to be strongly correlated with low diversion rates: percentage of persons below poverty level; percentage of households headed by a single female with children; percentage of adults without a high school diploma; and percentage of minority population.
A weighted linear model is used to calculate a one-number descriptive measure, called the recycling education, awareness, and participation (REAP) index, which relates recycling behavior for each of New York City’s 59 sanitation districts with demographic and socio-economic variables that might “predict” recycling rates. This REAP index can then be used to help inform decision- and policy-making about strategies for increasing recycling education, awareness, and participation, help target particular communities for assistance, and prioritize resources. The effects of rapid program changes and substandard residential recycling environments are also discussed as possible influences on recycling participation rates, as well as other attitudinal, physical, and knowledge-based factors that may be indirectly associated with low socio-economic status communities.

Staten Island Bluebelt System Sun, 18 Nov 2007 00:03:48 +0000 sashafahme Sasha Fahme
CHC Panel Presentation: The Staten Island Bluebelt System

The Staten Island Bluebelt is a system of streams, ponds, and wetlands managed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection NYCDEP for stormwater management. A watershed is a geographic area that contributes water to a particular stream or water body. The Bluebelt system drains 15 watersheds clustered at the southern end of the Island, in addition to the Richmond Creek watershed, with land acquisitions totaling over 250 acres of natural waterways, and a watershed area in excess of 12,000 acres. The area where this exists has the last major strand of freshwater wetlands in New York City, and was one of the last parts of the city that lacked decent stormwater and sanitary drainage systems, which affected the natural resources of the area (sewer overflowing into streams and ponds), as well as the residents of the area, who experienced flooding and degraded water quality.
Because of these reasons, the NYCDEP implemented the Storm Water and Sanitary Drainage Management Plan for this area, which uses and preserves the area’s natural drainage system (Bluebelts), of streams, ponds, marshes, and wetlands to the greatest extent possible. These methods of nontraditional stormwater management and sanitary sewer management include a series of storm sewers, which collect and convey street runoff to the existing streams, which provide natural drainage corridors for stormwater. To control storm water discharges, DEP has built Bluebelt facilities called Best Management Practices or BMPs, at the sites where storm sewers meet the natural areas. These BMPs minimize the negative impacts of the storm sewer discharges on those areas by storing and channeling stormwater before it is discharged into a receiving water body. Their main purpose is to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff discharge on the streams, and so the BMPs attenuate peak flow and reduce pollutant load into the streams, while simultaneously minimizing erosion and flooding, as well as improving water quality. This network of BMPs is the one of the largest in the nation and is the only one to operate on a large scale in New York City.

In the 1970s, New York City’s City Planning Commission conducted a study for a comprehensive land-use plan for the South Richmond area, which revealed vast areas still in their natural state that had open-space value in the zoned landscape. It was decided that it was important to preserve and protect them for long-range land use and quality-of-life concerns, and the commission decided it was best to do it by implementing a zoning component. This was the first time it became suggested that these natural areas containing water courses and wetlands could be used for stormwater conveyance.
The zoning component was implemented in the form of the: Designated Open Space (DOS) system, which captured the network of existing, naturally occurring lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands, as well as a significant amount of public owned property and kept it from being sold. It then prohibited development in those areas and kept the natural features protected. These areas were arranged to connect to mapped parks, creating a comprehensive drainage corridor for the natural water-course system, setting the framework for the later-to-come Bluebelt program which would incorporate additional lands abutting and within the system.

The incorporation of stormwater BMPs like retention basins, provides significant flood attenuation and water-quality benefits. Flow was stored or retained and released gradually to the downstream areas. Existing wetlands were restored and, in certain cases, preceded by a stormwater treatment system to remove sediments. For example, a long flow path through a constructed wetland (channeling) can aid in pollutant removal and stormwater attenuation. To decide which BMPs should be used, extensive hydrologic, hydraulic, water-quality modeling of the streams occurred, along with wetland evaluation and analysis, sanitary/storm sewer system layout, and topographic surveys. There was a screening process that limited the number of BMP designed, narrowing it down from more than 100 used nationally. Effective use of the criteria in this selection process allowed for a more precise listing of BMPs suitable to the watershed. Suitable retrofit sites were identified after the selection of appropriate BMPs. Some retrofit techniques include:
a. Retrofit Existing Older Stormwater Management Facilities: involves converting existing detention facilities into multifunctional stormwater BMPs. This is easy because stormwater is already managed in a distinct location, and modifying existing facilities usually involves minimal impacts to secondary environmental resources such as wetlands and forest cover. Excavation of the pond bottom results in additional storage for extended detention. The use of baffles, earthen berms, and pod microtopography all result in enhanced pollutant removal. The BMP known as RC-4 at Richmond Creek has this type of retrofit technique, which uses a pocket wetland with a marsh and a combination of a forebay and micropool to enhance pollutant removal from the stormwater flows before these waters enter the creek via the natural wetland. At Lighthouse Avenue in this area, an undersized culvert was constantly flooding into regulated wetland. It was enlarged to maximize its capacity for stormwater, and hence had the potential to drain the adjacent natural wetland—however, the construction of a BMP preserved the wetland. The BMP design uses pocket wetlands to attenuate small storms and provide pollutant removal; the pocket wetlands then drain into the existing wetland and replace the loss of water caused by the redesign of the culvert.
b. Construction of New BMPs at Storm Drainage Pipe Outfalls: This type of retrofit entails constructing a BMP at the immediate terminus of the storm drainage system. Flow splitters can be used to convey water-quality treatment volumes to a BMP. The BMP RC-5 at Richmond Creek watershed uses a constructed wetland with a marsh and a forebay and a micropool to attenuate peak flows, reduce pollutant loading to the creek, and diversify and enhance the impacted wetlands. This is larger than a pocket wetland and can handle larger flows—the extended detention provides the ability to control larger flows while the marshes provide pollutant removal capacities.
c. Instream Practices in Channels: Previously channelized streams can be sites for small instream detention structures. These structures consist of small weir walls or check dams placed within the channels. A small ponding area is provided upstream of the structures for establishing wetland areas. This method is very easy to install and can provide moderate pollutant removal benefits but can have potentially adverse impacts on the floodplain. Careful analysis of existing floodplain levels compared to those with the BMPs in place are important in planning this construction.

The completed project within the Richmond Creek Bluebelt included extensive landscaping and specialized construction techniques not typically used for sewer projects. The BMPs include shallow marsh wetlands to filter stormwater, retention basins to reduce water velocity before the water discharges into the stream, and sand filters to remove pollutants. Constructing these BMPs involved soil excavation, pipe installation, site work, grading, and implementing planting plans. Natural products, native plants, and stone facing were used to enhance the BMPs and also to add to the aesthetic nature of the site. The installation of coconut fiber rolls along the stream’s edges to anchor plants, and the planting of at least 25 species of trees, shrubs, and ground cover were a few of the main features adopted to enhance the aesthetic quality of the constructed elements. Carefully planned landscape zones were designed and implemented, all areas were diversely vegetated to maintain biodiversity and support a wide variety of wildlife.

Soil erosion and sediment control plans were developed to protect adjacent natural areas like streams and wetlands from the effects of soil erosion and sediment accumulation during construction. The plans aimed to minimize runoff into the wetlands and reduce the amount of sediment accumulation that might occur, which reduces the carrying capacity of streams and reduces the stormwater storage capacity of wetlands and ponds. This plan included: reinforced slit fencing, surface-water collectors, portable sediment tanks, and crushed-stone-lined sediment traps. The sediment tanks treat the water pumped from construction trenches, which passes through sediment-trapping baffles within these tanks, and then continues into the adjacent pit lined with crushed stone where the water then permeates the ground. Turbidity levels are mentioned and if they exceed the established limit, the discharge undergoes further treatment or is disposed of off-site. All the soil and sediment control features and temporary and must be removed prior to the end of the project.

The urbanization of watersheds causes flood peaks to be quicker, higher, and more frequent, and base flows to be generally lower than before urbanization. To regulate these levels, streambank stabilization techniques have been employed to minimize erosion, sediment transport, and flooding. To minimize erosion, the maximum allowable stream velocity is restricted to 3-5 ft./sec. If the rate exceeds this, then there are methods that can either reduce this velocity or protect the streambank from erosion. The use of riprap is employed to protect the streambank from high velocity water—most effective method when velocity cannot be reduced. Another technique is undercut stabilization, where a small amount of rirap is placed at the water line along the edge of the stream, and a coconut-fiber roll is staked above it. The area behind the roll is backfilled to meet the existing grade, and then the area is planted. The riprap and roll absorb much of the erosive energy from the storm, allowing the streambank vegetation to survive and reducing erosion.

NYCDEP has a strong partnership with the community to educate people about the nature of the program and keep them informed of progressive developments. The NYCDEP implemented a comprehensive public participation program that maintains dialog regarding the projects purpose and objectives and involves citizens in the decision-making process. There is the Citizens’ Advisory Committee, which is a group of approximately 30 citizens representing diverse interests that range from environmental, civic, and homeowners associations to builders’ organizations. The CAC’s role is to act as a liaison to the broader community and to assist the NYCDEP in developing an effective program.

Because of the success of the Bluebelt system, more are being developed, such as the New Creek Bluebelt, draining a watershed of 1,700 acres which is being acquired currently by the DEP, in addition to bluebelts in South Beach and Oakwood Beach. The Bluebelt Program saves tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure costs when compared to just conventional storm ewers for the same lad area, demonstrating how wetland preservation can be economically prudent and environmentally responsible. In addition to restoring formerly degraded wetlands, it creates enhanced natural areas that inspire community pride, which leads to volunteers organizing cleanup campaigns.

• 1996, American Rivers, Urban River Restoration Award for Staten Island Bluebelt Project
• 1997, New York Association of Consulting Engineers, Platinum Award for Richmond Creek Drainage Plan
• 2003, American Council of Consulting Engineers, National Recognition Award
• 2003, American Academy of Environmental Engineers, Honor Award
• 2003, New York Association of Consulting Engineers, Diamond Award for Blue Heron Drainage Plan

Poster Presentation & Class Follow-Up Tue, 06 Nov 2007 00:52:27 +0000 gdonovan Hello everyone - attached is the PowerPoint from today in pdf. It is about 4mb so if you have a slow connection it may take a few minutes.

Just to summarize a few of the things we discussed today in class:

  • Email me your posters a few days prior to the printing deadline so I can make sure everything will be compatible. I should know the details on printing this Friday and will pass that information along.
  • Each poster group should post their abstract to the blog sometime in the next week so I can get a sense of each project. Each group should probably just designate one person to post this on behalf of the group.
  • Each group should post their ideas for the oral assignment and which format they will be using (i.e. panel, ad campaign, etc…). Again, each group should just designate one person to post this on behalf of the group. Once this info is up we can start sorting out how to incorporate multimedia into specific projects and how to put everyone’s project together in one online public service announcement.
  • See the post below for poster presentation references and directions on how to setup a poster in PowerPoint.
scientific posters Fri, 02 Nov 2007 15:39:04 +0000 gdonovan I’ll be in class on Monday (11/05) to do an overview of conceptualizing and creating a scientific poster. In order maximize our time together, I thought it would be a good idea to create this post (as well as an accompanying blog page) to provide you with a general overview of conceptualizing and organizing a scientific poster as well as to provide you with a basic guide for creating a poster with PowerPoint.

After reviewing the materials please use the comments section of this post for any questions or concerns you may have. I will cover these materials in class as well as present some posters from years past. We’ll also discuss good/bad design, informational crowding, flow/navigation and presentation practices.

Reviewing these materials in advance of our class and using our time together on Monday to clarify anything which you feel is not sufficiently addressed or clarified by these materials would be in everyone’s best interest. Feel free to bring your questions to class, but posting them here on the blog prior to Monday would be ideal in that it will help me to tailor my presentation to better fit your concerns.


  • The Biology Department at Swarthmore College has developed a web site for designing scientific posters: Advice on designing scientific posters. The web site covers motivational advice, poster layout (Title, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, References, Acknowledgments, etc…), avoiding common mistakes, and presenting your poster. The sections on poster layout and avoiding common mistakes are particularly helpful.
  • A collection of scientific posters has been organized on Flickr, here. Each picture includes a blurb by the poster’s creator discussing the poster. This could be useful for design ideas.
  • I’ve created a page within the blog and posted a general ‘how to’ guide for creating posters with PowerPoint: Creating A Poster With PowerPoint. It would be good to review these steps and see if they make sense to you. Let me know if anything is unclear or if you feel any ’steps’ are missing so that I can fine-tune this guide for you.

Again, please use the comment section of this post for your questions/concerns. See everyone on Monday.

Welcome to the class blog Thu, 06 Sep 2007 15:13:41 +0000 gdonovan To setup your user account click on the “register” link at the top of the right hand column. You will then be asked to enter a username and email. Its best if you make your username your first initial and last name (i.e. “gdonovan”). Once you’ve entered this information, click the “Register >>” button.

A password will be automatically generated and sent to your email account. Once you’ve received your password you are ready to log in. If you have any trouble or have any questions feel free to send me an email — gregory (at) gregorydonovan (dot) org — or stop by during my office hours (M 9:30-1:00; F 9:30-11:30).

FAQ :: Log in to the blog Thu, 06 Sep 2007 15:11:10 +0000 gdonovan Click on the title of this post (”FAQ :: Log in to the blog”), or on the “Readmore” link below, to see the full post with directions and images.


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