The Living Dock
|Project Lead:||Newtown Creek Alliance|
|Project Partners:||Sarah Durand, Professor, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York; North Brooklyn Boat Club (formerly North Brooklyn Community Boathouse); TMRnyc; Allocco Recycling; New York Harbor School; and Build It Green!NYC|
|Project Location:||Newtown Creek|
|Fact Sheet:||Living Dock PDF|
|Project Status:||Completed (November 2015)|
In 2014, the Newtown Creek Alliance received a GCEF grant of $23,311 (and provided $4,300 in matching funds) to design and build a biological “living dock” as a prototype for combining remediation strategies, education, and public access to Newtown Creek’s aquatic environment. In Spring 2015, a 185-square foot floating dock with space for 18 different plant and habitat units was designed, built, and launched on the eastern shore of the “No Name Inlet” of Newtown Creek near North Henry Street. Three different waste stream products, which included reclaimed cedar (used for decking and structural support), 30-gallon food barrels (used for flotation), and plastic milk crates (used as uniform habitat units) were incorporated into the construction of the dock, as were materials purchased from over ten local businesses. The dock hosted unique habits made from various substrates, including oyster shells, clam shells, clean sediment, synthetic and natural rope, and stone.
After the dock was towed into place, regular surveys were conducted by Newtown Creek Alliance and its partners, documenting animals such as mummichog (a minnow-like fish), American eel, silversides, grass shrimp, sand shrimp, blue crab, mud crab, barnacle, slipper snail, mud snail, ribbed mussel, blue mussel, hard clam, and various species of tunicate, amphipod, anemone, and marine worm. During the project, the dock also functioned as a floating wetland, with successful survival and growth of native salt marsh grasses in many of the dock’s units. Aside from aesthetic function, these grasses help pull excessive nutrients from the water and provide additional habitat for small marine wildlife.
Newtown Creek Alliance conducted tours of the dock with the North Brooklyn Boat Club throughout the project, and in October 2015 hosted a celebration event at the dock for Greenpoint residents to visit and see the plant and animals within the structure. Since the project’s completion, the dock continues to be ecologically-beneficial, as both home to numerous marine organisms as well as salt marsh grasses which came back over the winter and continue to grow. The dock also continues to serve as an educational tool, frequented on canoe trips by the North Brooklyn Boat Club, and Newtown Creek Alliance has had multiple events in 2016 allowing people to visit the dock from land. Structurally, the dock is performing well; NCA keeps a close eye on it and has performed some minor maintenance.
- Created and launched a 185-square foot floating dock as a prototype for studying remediation strategies while providing critical habitat and unique public access to Newtown Creek’s aquatic environment.
- Surveyed a diverse array of indigenous plants and animals that help improve water quality in the creek including salt marsh grasses, mummichog, American eel, silversides, grass shrimp, sand shrimp, blue crab, mud crab, barnacle, slipper snail, mud snail, ribbed mussel, blue mussel, hard clam, and various species of tunicate, amphipod, anemone, and marine worm.
- Created an educational tool about Newtown Creek, serving as a frequent destination of canoe trips conducted by the North Brooklyn Boat Club and by land viewing events hosted the Newtown Creek Alliance.
Toxic shock! Marine life returning to Newtown Creek (The Brooklyn Paper, October 27, 2015)
Life Prospers in this “Living” Nook of the Newtown Creek (Greenpoint Gazette, October 14, 2015)
“Living Dock” Seeks to Aid Struggling Species (News 12 Brooklyn, May 6, 2015)
Sleeping With the Fishes: Group Hopes Man-Made Ecosystem Brings Life Back to Newtown Creek (Brooklyn Paper, April 22, 2015)
Bringing Community, and Nature, Back to the Banks of Newtown Creek (Curbed, April 16, 2015)