Environment & Ecology

Environment & Ecology Committee

With the understanding that vegetation is the most important visible signature of a park system and that vegetation is the most important aspect of a parks system’s ability to contribute to the regional ecosystem through the provision woodlands, copses, meadows, waterways and water features that provide for wildlife habitat, ecosystem services, and human comfort and pleasure.

Tthe purpose of the Environment & Ecology Committee is to monitor the condition of vegetation (canopy, under story, shrub layer, ground layer), soil (especially with regard to erosion), stream corridors and other water features, and wildlife habitats in terms of physical condition and health, the impacts of weather and vandalism, the ability to contribute to park programming and the ability to contribute to neighborhood and district aesthetics.

The Committee should make seasonal observations of each City park, using evaluation sheets that contain a checklist of issues and subjects that can be addressed in terms of “level of condition”, “comments” and “recommendations”.

Recommendations should include immediate action(s), middle and long-term action(s), action(s) possible through volunteers, action(s) possible through funded citizen efforts, and actions only possible through funded professional attention.

The observations results should then be shared with the entire membership of the Syracuse Parks Conservancy, after which the evaluation sheets should be shared with the Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs and include ideas regarding sources of necessary project funding for the Conservancy and the City.

The Committee should also make recommendations to the Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs regarding the value of the parks system in enhancing such ecosystem services as reduction of heat island effect, detention of storm water, and the cleaning and nourishment of air, soil and water.

In light of this, the Committee should work with the City (and the Planning, Design and Preservation Committee) to develop an agenda for planning additional woodlands, copses and gardens and for planting as many rain gardens as possible. This would enrich the parks themselves and the districts and neighborhoods of the City.

It would also contribute to maintaining the health and cleanliness of the Onondaga watershed.