By David Brand
Good news for Queens critters.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officially designated the Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park as a wetland in late 2018, which means the site will enjoy special protections and remain a preserve for native plants and animals.
The designation comes after 11 years of advocacy by a coalition of environmental and historic preservation activists, including the Newtown Historical Society.
The DEC specifically designated the site a Class 1 wetland because it contains at least one endangered or protected species. The reservoir is, in fact, home to at least five endangered or protected species, including the short-eared owl, the pied-billed grebe, the late-flowering boneset, the fringed boneset and globe-fruited ludwigia.
The decision, which was signed in October and disclosed to the Queens Parks Commissioner and the coalition of environmental advocates on Dec. 23, 2018, received praise from local leaders.
“The Ridgewood Reservoir is a local ecological gem and this new designation will ensure it is preserved for future generations,” said U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez. “Not only will this mean recreational opportunities for New Yorkers to enjoy the outdoors, but also hundreds of plant and animal species will be protected.”