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New Study by Lehman Professor Hopes to Make Metropolitan Area Greener

January 20, 2010

Dr. Yuri Gorokhovich

Even in densely populated New York City and its surrounding area, there are thousands of acres of vacant land that could be saved for conservation, according to a new study authored by Lehman College's Dr. Yuri Gorokhovich.

Dr. Gorokhovich, whose findings were published in the December 2009 issue of The Journal of Coastal Conservation, studied the counties bordering Long Island Sound for the last two years after receiving a $74,000 grant from the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.

He identified 744 individual parcels of vacant land at least five acres in size that could be set aside for conservation. In addition, he mapped out 122 contiguous clusters of vacant land—some 14,661 acres in total—in five counties: Westchester (246 acres), the Bronx (247 acres), Queens (1,246 acres), Nassau (2,036 acres) and Suffolk (10,885). Each land cluster, he says, could be used to make New York City and Long Island greener.

According to Dr. Gorokhovich, the report has been submitted to both the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Long Island Sound Study (LISS), and "it's up to them to put these recommendations into action." LISS is a cooperative effort created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the states of Connecticut and New York to protect and improve the health of the Sound. It involves researchers, regulators, user groups and other concerned organizations and individuals.

For Dr. Gorokhovich, the study was an outgrowth of his interest in New York City waters. For nine years, he worked for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, managing the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) group in charge of mapping the metropolitan area's water supply.

A member of Lehman's Department of Environmental, Geographic and Geological Sciences, he earned a master's in engineering and marine geology from Odessa State University (Ukraine) and his doctorate in earth and environmental sciences from the CUNY Graduate Center. He also was an associate research scientist for the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University.