Newtown Creek SAMPLES: Studying Water Quality for Public Learning and Ecological Services 2020-12-14T18:08:11+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 Community Boathouse (formerly North Brooklyn Boat Club)
2018 Project Partners: Environmental Science Department at LaGuardia Community College; and North Brooklyn Community Boathouse
Project Location: Portions of Newtown Creek and the East River, with educational programming throughout Greenpoint
Total GCEF Funding: $69,272
2015 GCEF Grant: $34,985 2018 GCEF Grant: $27,962
2019 Budget Addition: $6,325
Total Matching Contribution: $43,936
2015 Matching Contribution: $31,936 2018 Matching Contribution: $12,000
2015 Project Completed: June 2017 2018 Project Completed: July 2019

In 2015, through a competitive process, Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) 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 and 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.

In 2018, NCA received a competitive $27,962 GCEF grant (and provided $12,000 in matching funds), plus an additional budget addition of $6,325 in 2019, to conduct an extra season of the SAMPLES project. Also, with this additional GCEF funding, NCA conducted a public education campaign about its monitoring efforts, and how Greenpoint residents can help improve water quality in Newtown Creek.

NCA and LaGuardia Community College are continuing regular water quality sampling based on protocols established through the GCEF SAMPLES project in order to gain further understanding of the water quality of Newtown Creek and opportunities for improving it.

More information about the SAMPLES project can be found on the Newtown Creek Alliance website at

  • Completed water quality testing from 8 predetermined sampling sites over a 26-week period in 2016
  • Partnered with North Brooklyn Community Boathouse to run 3 intensive on-water field trips in the fall of 2016 in which approximately 50 people participated
  • Held a public event in 2017 attended by approximately 50 people to provide information about the project
  • Completed water quality testing from 10 predetermined sampling sites over a 26-week period in 2018 and 2019
  • Hosted 38 people during water quality sampling outings
  • Partnered with the North Brooklyn Community Boathouse to run three canoe trips on Newtown Creek in 2019 and attended by 21 people
  • Shared water quality related information and observations through social media
  • Presented project information at a public event in the spring of 2019 with 50 people in attendance
  • Created and distributed to the community a series of water quality booklets explaining the project, as well as water quality monitoring results, and observations of shore bird populations, algal blooms, and marine debris
  • Shared the collected information with city and state agencies as part of the Long-Term Control Plan for Newtown Creek
  • Set up framework and strengthened relationships with existing partners, including LaGuardia Community College, to expand the life of the project and continue an ongoing sampling programs into the future