Newtown Creek Alliance

Oil Sheens on the Creek

August 9th, 2014

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.

 photo (24) Screen shot 2014-08-06 at 3.01.24 PM photo (23) photo (21) photo (22)


Living Dock Begins

July 25th, 2014

photo (9)

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.

bird watching

Below are a number of unique Newtown Creek tours happening in the next few days, weeks and months. Some are free, some are low cost. Stay posted for more signup info as it becomes available!

1. Bike Tours with Green Shores
When: Saturday July 26th, 11am-1pm
What: Join Green Shores NYC, Recycle-A-Bicycle, NCA, and Greater Astoria Historic Society’s Richard Melnick for a leisurely paced bike ride through the creek side neighborhoods of Hunters Point, Dutch Kills, Blissville and Greenpoint. Owning a bike is not a pre-requisite for joining, but registering is! Also, if you haven’t taken the Green Shores Newtown Creek survey do so here!
Signup via Eventbrite

2. Mitch and Mai Tours
When: July 26th and 27th
What: Join NCA historian Mitch Waxman for two separate walking tours through neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek. Saturday is a tour through the back tributaries of the creek, run with Atlas Obscura. Sunday is a walk through historic and changing Greenpoint.
Signup: Ticket purchases are required for both. Saturday info here. Sunday info here.

3. Open House NY tours of Exxon remediation site
When: October 11th, times TBA
What: A very unique opportunity to get a first hand tour through the Exxon-Mobil remediation site in Greenpoint. Learn the ins and outs of cleaning up the 2nd largest oil spill in US history and learn more about the brownfields and industrial pollution surrounding much of Newtown Creek.
Signup: Via the OHNY website, stay posted for details.



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.

Living Dock
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.

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