Intertidal Wetlands Project 2020-12-10T10:15:31+00:00

Project Description

Intertidal Wetlands Project

Project Lead: Research Foundation of CUNY (LaGuardia Community College)
Project Partners: LaGuardia Community College; New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYDSNY); Newtown Creek Alliance; North Brooklyn Community Boathouse (formerly North Brooklyn Boat Club); Outside New York; and City Parks Foundation
Project Location: Greenpoint shoreline
GCEF Grant: $130,178
Matching Contribution: $91,321
Project Completed: June 2019

In 2014, through a competitive process, the Research Foundation of the City University of New York (LaGuardia Community College) received a $130,178 GCEF grant (and provided $91,321 in matching funds) to assess degraded shorelines along Newtown Creek, currently comprised of rip-rap and eroded bulkheads, as potential sites for installing “constructed” intertidal wetland habitat in order to re-introduce elements of salt marsh habitat back into Newtown Creek. With the assistance of LaGuardia Community College Environmental Science students and trained volunteers from the North Brooklyn Community Boat House, the project increased habitat for native birds, small fish, clams, crabs, and other species, and improved water quality by restoring “ecological services” (such as pollutant filtering) provided by species that inhabit constructed wetlands. Major project activities funded by GCEF included: creating conceptual designs in collaboration with the community and professional contractors for habitat construction at two potential shoreline sites, advancing one of these sites to a fully-engineered design, including construction drawings, cost estimates, and permits, installing “soft” habitat along the walls of existing “hard” bulkheads and expanding habitat already established on bulkhead walls at existing sites.

The success of the project has spurred the creation of additional installations in Newtown Creek and elsewhere. In September 2019, bulkhead core samples were taken from the Newtown Creek near the Kingsland Wildflower rooftop garden in preparation for installing 30 additional marsh units there. Landscape architects working on the Gowanus Canal requested a tour of the basins along the Newtown Creek Nature Walk in order to inform the incorporation of similar structures at the canal. Meanwhile, student interns who have worked on the Intertidal Wetlands project traveled to Baltimore in the fall of 2019 to help inform the construction of grass islands floating in the Chesapeake Estuary.

  • Developed a conceptual design plan for one potential living shoreline site at the North Henry Street site with the assistance of landscape architecture firm TerrainNYC
  • Completed an environmental site assessment of the North Henry Street site with the assistance of Nelson Pope & Voorhis Environmental Planning in association with Buckeye Pipeline consultants
  • Developed a construction plan, including an engineered design for the North Henry Street site
  • Developed a conceptual design plan for a second potential living shoreline site at the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Development Center (GMDC) bulkhead located at the end of Manhattan Avenue
  • Maintained the Whale Creek intertidal basins of salt marsh grasses along the Newtown Creek Nature Walk by removing old growth in the early spring and improving basin drainage
  • Extended the Whale Creek intertidal habitat to high marsh and upland vegetation, thereby creating a living shoreline edge of over 200-feet along the western side of the Whale Creek bulkhead
  • Developed another 200-feet of low marsh grass coverage, including grasses introduced by both suspension and flotation, for the NYDSNY Marine Transfer Station bulkhead along the west shore of No Name Inlet, directly opposite from the proposed North Henry Street restoration site
  • Conducted 6 waterside viewing tours to the salt marsh habitats at Whale Creek and No Name Inlet and to the demonstration salt marsh in the tributary for the public which was attended by approximately 20 peopl