Dear Newtown Creek Alliance Friends,
As 2014 comes to a close, we take this opportunity and reflect on what the year has meant for the vibrancy of Newtown Creek and to invite you to make a contribution and support our work going forward.
It has been a year of success for the creek, due to the efforts of NCA and active community members like yourself. We launched our #CSOalert system and held workshops in library branches surrounding the creek as part of our Weather in the Watershed program; received $50,000 in small grants from the GCEF to create restored access and habitat in the creek; and completed work in transforming the Plank Road site in Maspeth from an over-grown and muddy street-end to an inviting public waterfront for neighboring workers. And as in the previous years we offered a number of diverse tours of the creek, partnering with a variety of organizations including Greenshores NYC, Recycle-A-Bicycle, Transportation Alternatives, The North Brooklyn Boat Club and Open House NY.
Perhaps the best indicator of improvements to Newtown Creek transpired this fall. On September 9th, 2014 the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation received an anonymous tip of someone dumping thousands of gallons of waste oil into the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek. This was a major break in an ongoing investigation spurred by months of reports from community members alerting the DEC to an influx of rainbow petroleum sheens seen on the creek (see our August coverage of the sheens here). A suspect was identified, the oil was cleaned up, a number of media outlets covered the story (NYTimes, NY Daily News, Gothamist) and since that day in September large petroleum slicks have ceased being a regular occurrence on the creek. Two months later the creek’s surface was again home to a remarkable scene. However, this time instead of thousands of gallons of oil, the creek was filled with thousands (and thousands) of menhaden fish, feeding near the surface for a number of consecutive days. The correlation between these two events – a waterway freed of petroleum and return of massive schools of fish unseen in recent memory – was evident. As captain John Lipscomb put it “Riverkeeper has patrolled Newtown Creek since 2002. I’ve never seen this before. It’s so wonderful to see life returning.” Or as a menhaden fishery organization helped affirm our suspicions, “Reducing the amount of oil previously present in Newtown Creek absolutely seems to be the most viable theory for causing the surge of menhaden.” We tell this story not just because it is a clear sign of the much needed environmental improvements coming to the creek, but because it is how an alliance for Newtown Creek best functions. We raise awareness, build stakeholders and work with appropriate parties to drive tangible improvement. As our mission goes: Reveal, Restore, Revitalize.
Nearly all of NCA funding comes in the form of project specific grants, which are invaluable to our programming but do not cover the general operating costs of the organization, tasks like outreach and communications, website maintenance and reporting on creek-related stories and events. That is why we not only thank you for your engagement with NCA to-date but ask that you consider a donation to help sustain and grow the reach and effectiveness of the organization*. Any donation, large or small, makes a difference.
We look forward to having you join us in 2015 for more exciting programs!
Bill, Christine, Dewey, Dorothy, Laura, Michael, Phillip, Steve and Tom
NCA Board of Directors
Or mail a check to:
Newtown Creek Alliance
45-18 Skillman Avenue
Sunnyside, NY 11104
*Newtown Creek Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. NCA qualifies for matching donations, if your company matches your donation.