Newtown Creek SAMPLES: Studying Aquatic Metrics for Public Learning and Ecological Services 2021-04-02T21:08:35+00:00

Project Description

Newtown Creek SAMPLES: Studying Aquatic Metrics 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 program at LaGuardia Community College; and North Brooklyn Community Boathouse
Project Location: Newtown Creek; East River; and Greenpoint-wide
Total GCEF Funding: $76,608
2015 GCEF Grant: $34,985 2018 GCEF Grant: $27,962
2019 Budget Addition: $6,325 2020 GCEF Grant: $7,336
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 the “Studying Aquatic Metrics for Public Learning and Ecological Services” (SAMPLES) project. SAMPLES was an intensive half-year period of collecting and analyzing water quality samples from locations surrounding Greenpoint, primarily in Newtown Creek. The project included measuring such water quality parameters as Enterococcus bacteria, which indicate the presence of sewage, as well as nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature. The project used a hands-on monitoring program and the data collected to engage and educate the local community about area geographic and environmental conditions, the effect of human activities on waterways, city infrastructure, and the combined impact of these factors on local water quality.

NCA continued its SAMPLES project in 2018 and 2019, after undergoing another competitive proposal process and receiving a GCEF grant of $27,962 (with $12,000 in matching funds) in 2018, and a budget addition of $6,325 in 2019. With these additional monies, NCA also conducted a public education campaign on its monitoring efforts and how Greenpoint residents can help improve water quality in Newtown Creek.

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

For more information, visit Newtown Creek Alliance’s website:

  • Completed water-quality testing from 8 sampling sites in local waters over a 26-week period
  • Partnered with North Brooklyn Community Boathouse (NBCB), in 2016, to run 3 intensive on-water field trips with approximately 50 people in total participating
  • Held a public event, in 2017, to share information about the project with approximately 50 people in attendance
  • Completed water-quality testing from 10 sampling sites in local waters over a 26-week period
  • Hosted 38 people for water quality sampling outings
  • Partnered with NBCB, in 2018-2019, to run 3 canoe trips on Newtown Creek with 21 people participating
  • Shared water-quality-related information through social media, and presented project information at a public event with 50 people in attendance
  • Created and distributed a series of booklets explaining the project, as well as water-quality-monitoring results, and observations of shore bird populations, algal blooms, and marine debris
  • Communicated collected information with city and state agencies as part of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection plan, “Combined Sewer Overflow Long-Term Control Plan for Newtown Creek”
  • Established a framework, and strengthened relationships with existing partners, to sustain the project and continue sampling programs into the future