Newtown Creek SAMPLES: Studying Water Quality for Public Learning and Ecological Services 2019-06-05T22:17:34+00:00

Project Description

Newtown Creek SAMPLES: Studying Water Quality for Public Learning and Ecological Services

Project Lead: Newtown Creek Alliance
2015 Project Partners: LaGuardia Community College; North Brooklyn Boat Club (formerly North Brooklyn Community Boathouse)
2018 Project Partners: Environmental Science Department at LaGuardia Community College; and North Brooklyn Boat Club
Project Location: Portions of Newtown Creek and the East River, with educational programming throughout Greenpoint
2015 GCEF Grant: $34,985
2015 Matching Contribution: $31,936
2018 GCEF Grant: $27,962
2018 Matching Contribution: $52,000
2019 Budget Addition: $6,325
Fact Sheet: Newtown Creek SAMPLES PDF
2015 Project Status: Completed (June 2017)
2018 Project Status: Ongoing

In 2015, Newtown Creek Alliance received a $34,985 GCEF grant (and provided $31,936 in matching funds) to deliver an intensive half-year period of collecting and analyzing water quality samples from locations surrounding Greenpoint, primarily in Newtown Creek. Major activities of the GCEF-funded project included:

  • Measuring water quality parameters including Enterococcus (a sewage indicating bacteria), nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature
  • Using a hands-on monitoring program and data from the program to engage the local community, and educate them about local geographic and environmental conditions, the effect of human activities on waterways, city infrastructure, and the combined impact of these factors on local water quality
  • Completed water quality testing from 8 predetermined sampling sites over a 39-week period for a total of 312 total samples.
  • Partnered with North Brooklyn Boat Club to run three intensive on-water field trips in the fall of 2016 in which approximately 50 people participated.
  • Shared the collected information with city and state agencies as part of the Long-Term Control Plan for Newtown Creek.
  • Created and printed a water quality booklet explaining the project, available at
  • Held a public event on April 25, 2017 to provide information about the SAMPLES project and give out copies of the water quality booklet – approximately 50 people attended.
  • Set up framework and strengthened relationships with existing partners, including LaGuardia Community College, to expand the life of the project and continue similar sampling programs each year.

Newtown Creek SAMPLES – II

In 2018, through a competitive process, the Newtown Creek Alliance was awarded $27,962 in additional funding to conduct one season of water quality monitoring of the surface waters in Newtown Creek. NCA will also conduct a public education campaign about its monitoring efforts, and how Greenpoint residents can help improve water quality in Newtown Creek.


February 2019:In 2018, 37 total days of sampling were conducted and over 3,000 points of data collected. 28 volunteers joined the project coordinator on Newtown Creek for water sample collection outings. Newtown Creek Alliance tracked the location and substance of debris in the creek, including plastic bottles, bags, and other refuse, and is planning collection outings for the spring of 2019. The 2018 summary water quality booklet for the project – which will present the results of 2018 water quality monitoring of Newtown Creek – will be released at a public symposium in April 2019. This symposium, co-hosted by community and academic partners, will feature presentations on various Newtown Creek-based research and monitoring projects.