The Newtown Creek Alliance has learned that the North Brooklyn Boat Club (NBBC) may have found a permanent home on Newtown Creek. The new space will include an environmental education center with facilities for students and scientists studying the ecology and history of the Creek, a boatbuilding and nautical crafts workshop, and boat and safety equipment storage. For more information visit the NBBC website.
The work of the boat club is important for the following reasons:
1) Access: Along Newtown Creek’s 11 miles of waterfront there are only two safe public access points: DEP’s Nature Walk and the Manhattan Ave. Street End park. The new NBBC facility will provide a third much needed public access point.
2) Eyes on the Creek: Dozens of pollution investigations and enforcement actions against Newtown Creek polluters have been set-in motion as a result of the first-hand observations and vigilance of concerned local residents. Waterfront and water access results in more “Eyes on the Creek”, which will ultimately lead to a safer, less polluted Newtown Creek.
3) Education: There is nothing quite like being on the water itself to inspire curiosity about the multifaceted history of the Creek and wonder at the innumerable life forms that call Newtown Creek home. Over the past two years, NBBC has introduced hundreds of people to Newtown Creek for the first time. A permanent home for NBBC that includes an education center will help build a well informed constituency for the Creek that cares about it’s future.
4) Water Quality: How the public uses a waterway informs how clean the government requires it to be. That is to say, if people are swimming in the water, then that body of water must be cleaner than one that is simply used by ships for navigating from point A to point B. Currently, Newtown Creek is misclassified with the lowest water quality designation, a classification that belies the fact that people boat and fish on Newtown Creek. It is our hope that the growing presence of human powered watercraft on Newtown Creek, enabled by a NBBC that teaches safe boating, will force a reclassification of Newtown Creek’s water quality designation so it reflects its actual use as a recreational waterway.