This panel discussion will provide an overview of the watershed that supplies NYC's drinking water, addressing the benefits and joint stewardship required to maintain a public water system. Panelists Rob Hayes, and Erin Morey and Emily Vail will also address the current conditions of pollutants affecting the watershed, coalitions protecting the health of the watershed, and climate changes affecting the future of the watershed.
The panel will be moderated by artist Mary Mattingly.
Rob Hayes is the Director of Clean Water at Environmental Advocates NY. Based in Albany, Rob lobbies for strong legislation in the State Capitol to protect clean water from source to tap. He participates in numerous statewide advocacy coalitions, providing support to residents in communities directly impacted by water pollution. Recent coalition victories include historic levels of state funding for water infrastructure upgrades and the establishment of nation-leading drinking water standards for the toxic chemicals PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-dioxane.
Erin Morey is the Director of Demand Management and Resilience Policy at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where she advances strategic planning and programming for drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater sustainability. Erin manages DEP’s Water Demand Management Program and the Wait… Program, a community engagement initiative that encourages behavior change to improve waterbody quality in New York City. She also manages various studies, including DEP’s Sustainable Rate Structure Analysis, a three-year holistic water rate study that prioritizes multiple goals including customer affordability and equity.
Emily Vail has been the executive director of the Hudson River Watershed Alliance since 2019. She served for eight years as the Watershed Outreach Specialist for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program, in collaboration with the NYS Water Resources Institute at Cornell University. Her work has supported community-based watershed groups, municipalities, and other partners throughout the region to improve water quality in the Hudson Valley.
Moderator Mary Mattingly is a visual artist. She founded Swale, an edible landscape on a barge in New York City. Docked at public piers but following waterways common laws, Swale circumnavigates New York’s public land laws, allowing anyone to pick free fresh food. Swale instigated and co-created the “foodway” in Concrete Plant Park, the Bronx in 2017. She was BPL’s 2020 Katowitz-Radin Artist-in-Residence and has developed PUBLIC WATER with MORE ART.
PUBLIC WATER is produced by MORE ART in partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park Alliance, and the NYC Parks Department. An earlier version of Mary Mattingly’s sculpture originally appeared as “The Parts Never Lead to the Whole” in the exhibition Stars Down to Earth: Mary Mattingly & Dario Robleto (January 13 – March 13, 2020) at the Central Library and was recently installed in Prospect Park.
PUBLIC WATER is supported in part by the Lambent Foundation, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, the Joseph Robert Foundation, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for educational programming has been provided by the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. The walking tour is a project of the Environmental Protection Fund Grant Program for Park Services Administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.