Newtown Creek Alliance

Join NCA at the Climate March!

September 16th, 2014

Along with hundreds of other organizations, NCA will be marching on Sunday Sept 21st to bring attention to the pressing issue of climate change and need of world leaders to tackle this severe problem head on. Please join us for this historic event.

Meet at:
Columbus ave and 81st Street
11:15 am
Look for the NCA banner!
More info on the march: http://peoplesclimate.org/march/

Oil Sheens on the Creek

August 9th, 2014

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UPDATE SEPTEMBER 10th: 
On September 9th, NYSDEC received an anonymous tip that has led to identifying a responsible party dumping waste oil into a land side drain that leads straight to Dutch Kills. US Coast Guard as well as an environmental services contractor deployed sorbent and containment booms to contain and remove the dumped oil and a full legal investigation is underway. NCA historian Mitch Waxman has documented more details about this incident (with some great photos as well) at Queens Brownstoner. We will report more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE AUGUST 21st:
DNA.info released a great write up of this issue, with interviews with NCA and NYDEC staff. Read it here.

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Since the spring there has been an inordinate amount of petroleum sheens, oil spills if you will, seen on Newtown Creek – specifically the NW section of the creek running from the Pulaski Bridge to Whale Creek and up into Dutch Kills. A number of reports have been filed with the NY State Dept. of Enviornmental Conservation (DEC) who has been working tirelessly to locate the source for these occurrences. It is not clear wether all sightings are related or what the potential source is. AS DEC inspector Randy Austin put it: “We’re trying to figure out whether or not these are the ”routine” sheens we encounter from ebullition and vessel disturbance of the sediments, or if we have a point source responsible for these rainbow sheen events, which have been occurring since early Spring in Newtown Creek.”

We strongly urge people to report similar sightings of large rainbow slicks on the creek to the DEC Spill Hotline (1800-457-7362) as well as take a photograph if possible. NCA looks forward to assisting Randy and his amazingly dedicated team at DEC to identify sources and prevent future events from occurring. Much thanks to our partners at Riverkeeper, North Brooklyn Boat Club and LaGuardia Community College for reporting these spills and providing the photos below.

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Wetland Frames hit the Creek

August 8th, 2014

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Back in 2010 LaGuardia Community College professor, and Newtown Creek enthusiast, Dr. Sarah Durand proposed creating metal frames that could house native salt marsh grasses on the otherwise flat surfaces that line most of Newtown Creek’s shores. These marine planters would be fixed to the bulkheads at the same elevation in the tidal cycle that grasses would exist in a natural intertidal zone, submerged in salt water near high tide and left dry as tides receded twice a day. Such plants have great potential in improving nutrient imbalances that currently have a drastic impact of the quality of water in Newtown Creek. Since then the project was selected by the City Parks Foundation to receive funding (approximately $500,000 total), the firm OutsideNY was selected as program manager and pilot plantings began in 2013.

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This summer saw the fabrication, installation, planting and now monitoring of nearly a dozen of the frames. Durand, Carter Craft (of OutsideNY), a number of LaGuardia environmental science students and trained volunteers from the North Brooklyn Boat Club have helped reintroduce salt marsh grasses that once covered much of area surrounding Newtown Creek. In other words, native species likely not seen on the creek in the past 100 years are back – and they are not just surviving, they are thriving! Many of the Spartina alterniflora species have had tremendous growth since being planted – both near the Pulaski Bridge, Whale Creek and the head of Dutch Kills (where water quality is typically much worse). They even created a nifty little flier about the project.

NCA is very excited to help push this project forward and help bring further ecological restoration to the creek. Stay posted for more updates as the project develops and more planters are installed.

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Living Dock Begins

July 25th, 2014

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Potential substrates and plants to include in the Living Dock.

We have begun work on the first prototype of our Living Dock project (funded by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund). Aimed to provide needed habitat to a variety of flora and fauna native to Newtown Creek, the dock will support small individual units underwater, each with a different substrate material or plant. Living Dock version 1.0 is an EZ-Dock configuration with cavities in the middle for pilot individual units (old milk crates). We will be installing version 1.0 in early August to give time for animals and plants to colonize and grow and continually monitor their progress on a regular basis. Over the winter we will finalize plans for Living Dock 2.0 and transfer the growing units once construction is completed in spring 2015. In the meantime, checkout our Living Dock Tumblr for latest photos of the project as it grows!

photo (10)Living Dock version 1.0 dry-docked.

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