Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc. (ASLF) is a New York chartered not-for-profit corporation founded in 1982 with its purpose being to provide technical, legal, and organizing services to a variety of citizens, citizen groups, local governments, and others on a wide variety of environmental issues. We are creative problem solvers trying to advance environmental sanity through the implementation of projects that in addition to their intrinsic merit, can be prototypes for similar efforts elsewhere by ourselves and others.
ASLF has been involved in a vast spectrum of projects dealing with environmental conservation and stewardship, urban revitalization through green design, public health, water resources, and large-scale collaborative efforts to solve complex multifaceted urban ecological problems. We view ourselves as facilitators of collective impact, in that our management expertise allows for efficient and effective coordinated efforts between the diverse sets of community actors and stakeholders with whom we work. Our proposed projects have received funding and contracts from a number of sources ranging from citizen groups and private foundations to government on all levels. We have also initiated contracts for these entities to carry out their priority projects. Examples of our sponsors range from state-level organizations (Sierra Club Illinois, Georgia Environmental Program, Isaac Walton League Indiana), state agencies (NYS Department of Health, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation), federal agencies (US Department of Commerce, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US EPA, US Forest Service) and foundations (Joyce, Mott, etc.). In all of these cases we have been administrators and project managers in carrying out complex programs with staff, volunteers, and agency personnel.
A major portion of our work relates to the protection, restoration, and conservation of water resources. The largest project we have undertaken has been the resuscitation of Onondaga Lake in Central New York. This rather small body of water was at one point considered the most polluted lake in the Western Hemisphere, and thanks to a decades-long campaign by ASLF, the lake is close to being swimmable again with an already greatly recovered diversity of fish. Most recently we have initiated a change in the court ordered lake cleanup plans for Onondaga County to become the national and state pilot for use of green infrastructure technologies to control stormwater and combined sewer overflow (CSO) events. In Syracuse, as in other cities with older sewer systems, storm and sanitary sewers are one and the same system, which means rainfall events cause overflows of raw sewage to go directly into Onondaga Lake. In addition to providing the rationale to the County government and to New York State that green infrastructure installation was a sensible and enforceable strategy for managing this problem, we are now implementing much of the work under funding from Onondaga County. This involves an expert staff trained and experienced in landscape architecture, community outreach, project management, environmental chemistry and biology, and urban forestry. Our work has earned accolades from a variety of entities, and received awards from the US EPA in 1998 and 2009.
For the past thirty years ASLF has been a leader in executing complex projects locally, nationally, and internationally. Although we have worked in numerous countries on every populated continent, we recognize the tremendous value in acting locally and thinking globally. Our dedication to the Syracuse and Central New York community has been demonstrated many times in our past local environmental initiatives, and will be demonstrated again in future projects that we are currently planning and are very excited to get started. We look forward to continuing progress on our various programs with community members, government officials, organizations, and private foundations so that our communities become more sustainable, in every sense of the word, every day.