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DEP to extend stormwater outfall pipe to protect thriving oyster reef at MacNeil Park in College Point

At the beginning of November, the Department of Environmental Protection revealed that it would soon extend a stormwater outfall pipe which faces the East River in College Point‘s MacNeil Park.

According to Councilman Paul Vallone, who had gotten word from DEP, the agency would extend the pipe 200 feet beyond the shoreline in order to protect a restored oyster reef at the formerly polluted cove.

In the early 2000s, the state Department of Environmental Conservation granted a permit to College Point resident Dr. James Cervino and fellow marine biologists to establish and restore the oyster reef, sea grass and other marine life at the MacNeil Park waterfront.

DEP’s proposal to install the outfall pipe at the MacNeil Park cove in 2016 sparked outrage and concern within the community. Dr. Cervino and his wife Kat Cervino, president of the Coastal Preservation Network (CPN) and a vice president of the College Point Civic Association, brought their concerns to Vallone. The pair highlighted the planned pipe’s proximity to the salt marsh oyster reef and potential reversal of over a decade of hard work.

“Our wetlands are a critical part of our natural ecosystem and play a key role in fostering a healthy marine environment for future generations,” said Vallone. “I am relieved to learn that the outfall pipe at MacNeil Park will be extended and relocated away from this thriving ecosystem, which activists like the Cervinos have worked so hard to protect. I thank the Cervinos for their continued advocacy and the DEP for listening to the community’s concerns and revisiting this project.”

Read More: QNS