Newtown Creek Alliance

Bike Tour, October 19th

October 13th, 2014

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Join NCA, Green Shores NYC, Recycle-A-Bicycle,  and Transportation Alternatives for a bike tour around Newtown Creek.

We will lead this leisurely paced tour which will highlight the current connections and opportunites for improved connections to the Creek and between the Creek neighborhoods of Queens and Brooklyn. Owning a bike is not a pre-requisite BUT knowing how to ride is! Participants needing bikes are able to borrow one for the day from Recycle A Bicycle, where they can also borrow a helmet.

Register for a spot here.

October 19th, 11am to 2pm

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On October 11th, ExxonMobil and Roux Associates opened the gates at 400 Kingsland Avenue to give a behind the scenes tour of the Greenpoint Oil Spill Remediation Project. As part of Open House NY, NCA helped to coordinate the event and provide some information to participants about the larger environmental issues surrounding Newtown Creek. Despite some chilly rain in the morning, the tours were a great success – with many local residents getting a first hand understanding of the background of the spill and how the team is safely recovering millions of gallons of petroleum underground. Participants also got a special post-tour look inside the neighboring Broadway Stages building and the set of TV show Madame Secretary. Thanks to Kevin Thompson and Roux for running this very informative tour – we look forward to offering more to the community going forward.

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Oil Sheens on the Creek

August 9th, 2014

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UPDATE September 15th: 
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.

Relevant Press:

NY Daily News - September 15th
New York Times - September 12th
Queens Brownstoner – September 11th
DNA.info – August 20th

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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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