Today’s news:

A flotilla of fun sails down the Gowanus

Eco−volunteers explored the fetid waters of the Gowanus Canal last weekend for the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy’s 10th Annual Gowanus Canal Earth Day Flotilla Spring Clean−Up. Fifty brave souls from across the city were offered a close and personal perspective into the environmental issues that challenge the water, soil and air quality in and around the canal, which is being considered for inclusion in the federal Superfund program.

Ludger Balan, the conservancy’s executive director, said the canal’s woes are not isolated to the 1.8−mile stretch. “The Gowanus shares the same tidal patterns as of the lower bay. The deadly dioxins and disease−causing pathogens of the canal find their way downstream with every tide exchange, which occurs about once a day,” he said.

“The EPA’s initiative to nominate the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site is the most significant act in 35 years towards attaining a real, viable pathway towards an end, and mean for a long awaited clean−up of one of the most polluted bodies of water and land in the country,” he added. Balan said his group will continue to educate the public about the ecological significance of the urban estuary, and the environmental issues that challenges it, while offering a vision for their future use as a vital and healthy environment.

This summer, in celebration of its 10−year anniversary, the Urban Divers plan to introduce an array of environmental education programs offered at various waterfront parks venues, community festivals, day camps and school visits along South Brooklyn Harbor. More information can be found at the group’s Web site, urbandivers.org, or by calling 347−224−5828.

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