2016 Year in Review

nca_groupphotoBioremediation Workshop #3                                                                                    photo: Mitch Waxman

There is no quick or simple solution for transforming an area as historically polluted and heavily burdened as Newtown Creek into a safe and vibrant resource for the ecology, community and economy. Our path towards revitalization is a marathon, not a sprint. Even the largest steps forward are not singular events but a culmination of tireless planning, organizing and effort. In the 14 years since Newtown Creek Alliance was formed we have achieved some major milestones: the Superfund designation, upgrade of the Newtown Creek Treatment Plant, creation of public access at the Nature Walk and Manhattan Avenue street end and settlement of the ExxonMobil lawsuit to ensure thorough remediation of the 2nd largest oil spill in US history. But more than just the milestones are the hundreds of smaller steps that are often only recognized in hindsight as making the milestones possible. With 2016 coming to an end, we look back to reflect on NCA’s work this year and appreciate how our efforts both big and small are creating a cleaner and more vibrant Newtown Creek for years to come. Here are some of the highlights:

P:1512-No Name Inlet�5-CAD Drawings�1-baseL-Base graphic plaNorth Henry Street Study
In February we completed our project booklet outlining a vision for a restored shoreline and community resource on this degraded city owned site. Since launching the booklet, we have continued to push forward in making the vision a reality working with city and state agencies as well as local partners Allocco recycling and LaGuardia Community College.

dsc00322Plank Road
For the third straight summer we continued restoration work at the Plank Road site in Maspeth. This year’s work included path making, debris removal and the creation of a native pollinator garden. The location continues to grow in popularity for local workers and residents as a peaceful overlook of the Creek and Manhattan skyline. Have you been yet?

dsc00061Bioremediation Workshops
With support from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund we held a series of day long workshops with renowned experts ron various bioremediation topics including soil health and urban toxins, composting and microbes and mycoremediation and water filtration. The workshops were a great success and we will soon be releasing printed materials to engage a wider audience with these important topics.

dsc00119Water Quality Program
Working with our partners at LaGuardia Community College and North Brooklyn Boat Club we completed an extensive 6 month water quality sampling program. We collected over 2,000 points of data and will be releasing a summary booklet in the next few months to engage local communities with water quality issues.

bcnhPatrol: Eyes on the Creek
In addition to water quality sampling, 2016 was a very busy year for NCA in our patrol work. We identified over 24 different sources of pollution directly impacting Newtown Creek and worked with responsible parties, city, state and federal authorities to further investigate and address these problems. Additionally, we continued our wildlife monitoring efforts including our ribbed mussel census and wild bird survey. 
Under leadership of our historian Mitch Waxman, NCA led over 35 separate walking tours, boat tours and outreach events – revealing the Creek, all its history and ongoing issues to over 1,100 people. We are very proud to be engaging more and more people directly with Newtown Creek and look forward to more tours in 2017.

img_5498Kingsland Wildflower Roof
This summer marked the opening of the Kingsland Wildflower roof in Greenpoint. NCA is a proud community partner on the project working with NYC Audubon, Alive Structures and Broadway Stages. Over the next 3 years we will run a number of tours and educational events, engaging the community with this wonderful open space and green infrastructure resource.

It has been a very busy and productive year and there is still tremendous work to be done for NCA in covering administrative needs, dedicating time to working on processes like Superfund cleanup and the Long Term Control Plan as well as expanding operations to increase education, community engagement and on-the-ground projects. While the majority of our funding comes from project specific grants, we also look for individual contributions to help us achieve these outstanding needs. If you believe in NCA’s work and want to support our efforts to transform our local waterway from a toxic burden to an ecological and community resource then please consider making an end of year donation.

Tax-deductible donations can be made online here or by mailing a check to:
Newtown Creek Alliance
45-18 Skillman Avenue
Sunnyside, NY 11104

We are grateful for everyone’s support and contributions towards NCA’s mission. We look forward to continuing this marathon that is Newtown Creek revitalization and working more with allies like yourself along the way.

Bill, Christine, Dewey, Dorothy, Laura, Michael, Sean, Steve and Tom
NCA Board of Directors

Long Term Control Plan Kick-off Meeting

Please join the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection for the kick-off meeting for the Newtown Creek Long Term Control Plan (LTCP).

In short, the LTCP is designed to address Combined Sewer Overflow and bring Newtown Creek into compliance with Clean Water Act standards. The process calls for community feedback and participation, so it is very important for stewards of the Creek to attend meetings, ask questions and submit comments during the process.

Tuesday November 15th
Newtown Creek Treatment Plant Visitor Center
329 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222
see map here

Our partners at the S.W.I.M Coalition have put together a wonderful intro book about the LTCP process, check it out here.

Click here for official Newtown Creek LTCP webpage.

Superfund Meeting October 20th

Please join us for our next Superfund Community Advisory Group (CAG meeting. The EPA will be presenting an update. After the presentation, Judith Enck, our EPA Regional Administrator will be present for an open discussion with the community.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

6:30 to 9 PM

Community Room at McCarren Play Center
776 Lorimer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
map here

Nearest subway stops:
L Train: Bedford Avenue
G Train: Nassau Avenue

The meetings are open to the public and provide opportunity to learn about the latest developments with the Superfund investigation and cleanup of Newtown Creek.

Water Quality Boat Trips


Join the Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) and the North Brooklyn Boat Club for a special series of on-water tours to examine and discuss current water quality trends for Newtown Creek. NCA is soon to complete an intensive 6 month water sampling program in conjunction with LaGuardia Community College. We have been collected data on water quality health for parameters like bacteria, oxygen, and nutrients – all factors that vary in different locations in Newtown Creek as well as factors like temperature and rainfall.

Following an on-land introduction and presentation on water quality issues, the group will take to the Creek with the North Brooklyn Boat Club and paddle to particular areas of interest and conduct live testing.

The event will also help inform local residents about greater water quality themes within NYC and how we can help improve the environmental conditions for ourselves and generations to follow. These events are made possible with funding provided by the New York State Office of the Attorney General and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund.

Dates and times: 
September 18th, CANCELLED (thunderstorms)
September 25th, 11 am to 2pm, Register Here.
October 2nd,  4 to 7pm, Register Here.
October 15th, 3 to 5:30pm, Register Here.*
*Follows GCEF open house event (11 to 3pm at North Brooklyn Boat Club).

Note about boating:
The tour will utilize the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s two 25 foot canoes. No paddling experience is required to join, but we must ask that participants be prepared for physical activity over the course of a few hours outside. We do not anticipate severe contact with the water and a number of safety precautions will be followed to help prevent risk. The trip will be led by highly experienced and trained canoe guides, as per NBBC policy. There are a limited amount of seats available on the canoes, so please only reserve a spot if you are committed to attending. If only interested in attending the on-land presentation please do not reserve a spot. Trips may be canceled or rescheduled depending on weather conditions.

Please email NCA program manager Willis Elkins with any questions of concerns:
welkins at newtowncreekalliance.org