The Newtown Creek Alliance is grateful to have two projects included amongst a pool of 18 that will receive funding from the first round of the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund. We are very excited to get underway with these projects (see descriptions below) that will advance our mission of restoring, revealing and revitalizing Newtown Creek. Both projects will take steps towards improving physical conditions that negatively impact the health of the creek: the lack of proper habitat for native organisms and open green space. More details about these projects will develop in the coming months; if you are interested in receiving updates on the projects please sign up for our newsletter (on the left side of this page).
North Henry Street Planning
Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) will receive $24,735 (and contribute $1,000 in matching funds) to research and develop a plan for transforming the end of NorthHenry Street into a publicly accessible and ecologically beneficial open space and shoreline. Located on the ‘No Name’ tributary of Newtown Creek, the site consists of 20,000 square feet of city-owned upland and degraded shoreline offering open space, public access to the water, and an opportunity to reduce stormwater runoff to the creek. The grant will enable NCA to inventory existing plant and animal species, assess soils, shoreline stability and the hydrodynamics of the property, as well as to research regulatory and access issues related to planning the site’s development.
Newtown Creek Alliance will receive $24,980 (and contribute $4,300 in matching funds) to design and build a biological “living dock” as a prototype for combining remediation strategies, education, and public access to Newtown Creek’s aquatic environment. The 200 square foot dock will be placed on the eastern shore of the ‘No Name’ tributary of Newtown Creek, near North Henry Street. The dock will provide a landing for small boats and critical habitat for indigenous plants and animals that help improve water quality in the creek. The dock will also provide a stage for both research and environmental education.
As part of our Weather in the Watershed program, we are holding a number of public education sessions this winter. We invite you to visit your local library branch to learn more about these weather stations, our CSO notification system and the fascinating answers to questions like: Where does rainwater go? What about the wastewater from my shower/sink/toilet? What is a sewershed? How clean are NYC waterways and what can we do to improve them?
See date and time details below; program is free and open to all!
Greenpoint Branch (Brooklyn) : February 25th, 4pm
Leonard Branch (Brooklyn) : March 5th, 4pm
Ridgewood Branch (Queens) : March 10th, 4pm
Maspeth Branch (Queens) : March 14th, 3:30pm
Sunnyside Branch (Queens) : March 17th, 6:30pm
Glendale Branch (Queens) : March 18th, 4pm
Woodside Branch (Queens) : March 24th, 5:45pm
Dekalb Branch (Brooklyn) : March 25th, 4pm
Central Branch (Queens) : March 29th, 3pm North Brooklyn Boat Club : March 30th, 3pm*
*A special event focussed on the CSO notification portion of the program – as well as presentation of the NBBC 2013 Water Quality Mural, which uses NCA data.
Please join the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) for a meeting regarding the proposed cleanup plan for the Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Site, Former Paragon Oil Terminal and Apollo Street Creek Parcels. Get more background info on their website: nysdecgreenpoint.com
The Department will discuss the proposed cleanup at a public meeting on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 6:00 – 9:00 pm, at Warsaw at the Polish National Home, 261 Driggs Avenue (between Eckford Street and Leonard Street), Brooklyn. A brief presentation will take place at 7pm, followed by Q&A. NYSDEC staff will be available both before and after the presentation to answer questions regarding the cleanup proposed for these sites or other Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation sites.
At the meeting, residents and stakeholders will be able to:
- Speak one-on-one with the Project’s technical team;
- Ask questions about the technical status of the project; and
- Comment on the proposed cleanup of the Former Paragon Oil Company site and Apollo Street Creek Parcels site.
Written comments on the proposed cleanup plan may be submitted at the public meeting or mailed to: NYSDEC Central Office, Attn: Mr. Benjamin Rung, 625 Broadway, 12th Floor, Albany NY 12233. Comments must be received by March 30, 2014.
The winter months provide some of the best times to witness low water conditions in New York harbor. For a few hours each year parts of the creek are exposed, that are otherwise always underwater. This results from falling water levels that result from colder temperatures (more here) as well as new moon cycles, where tides are more extreme due to the combined gravitational pull of the moon and sun. Simply put, if one is interested in seeing the most recessed tides of the year, aim for the new moon low tides during January, February and March. Below are a few themes we took note of this winter during lowest tide observations on Newtown Creek.
While much of the creek contains maritime navigational channels, a number of the tributaries have remained unused and unmaintained for maritime use for a number of years. The shallow features native to the creek are returning, both naturally as well as artificially via heavy deposits from outfalls. Areas like Maspeth creek (above) are a prime example of such, where sediment from a combined sewer outfall have helped fill in most of this tributary. Other shallow areas are exposed throughout the creek, that may otherwise be difficult to see given the high turbidity in much of the creek’s waters.
Fresh Water Sources
Many of the original fresh water inputs into the creek have been covered up and/or diverted into the sewer system. Yet, the natural flow of springs can persist amongst industrial infrastructure and reshaping of the land. Lowest tide events allow the opportunity to spot some of these fresh water sources – which can be vital for future planning and remediation of the creek. Look for images with a yellow box around the spring input in the slideshow above, like this one from English Kills.
We have seen a great increase in the populations of organisms that help filter the water through natural processes. This includes ribbed mussels, oysters and clams. Oysters and clams in particular can be difficult to spot given their preference for staying submerged in water and sediment. This winter we found even more clusters of wild oysters and look forward to ongoing surveying and mapping of these vital organisms as they re-emerge in Newtown Creek.