Programs/ Ridgewood Reservoir

Ridgewood Reservoir

Returning to Nature, Ridgewood Reservoir

In 1858, The Ridgewood Reservoir was built on the Brooklyn-Queens border to hold the fresh water supply for the once independent City of Brooklyn. Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st Century traces the 160-year transformation of the site from the construction of its three water basins to its invaluable role today as a 50 acre open space in Highland Park, a green oasis allowing for close encounters with nature.
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For the last 4 years, a major focus of NYC H2O has been leading a coalition of community groups to protect and preserve the Ridgewood Reservoir. Since 2016, we advanced the cause or health of Ridgewood in the following ways:

  • NYC H2O Virtual Hub to continue educating our students remotely (Spring 2020)
  • Curated Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st Century for the Queens Museum to open on April 5th, 2020, but transitioned to an online exhibit after museum closure for COVID-19. (Spring 2020)
  • Successfully advocated for traffic safety measures from the DOT (pedestrian activated signal installed on Vermont Place, March 26, 2018)
  • Successfully advocated with DEC for wetland delineation(designated on February 22, 2018)
  • Wrote and submitted the Historic Register application (designated on February 2, 2018)
  • Advocated successfully to have the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and NYC Parks & Recreation agree to reclassify the walls of the Reservoir as a non-hazardous dam, thereby avoiding demolition. This had been an impasse for a decade.
  • Advocated successfully for the DEC to designate the Reservoir as a Critical Environmental Area—one of only two in NYC (the other is Jamaica Bay)
  • Successfully lobbied the Parks Department to cancel its plan to put turf fields in Basin 3