NYDEP: Breathing New Life Into Flushing Bay by Dredging
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner, Vincent Sapienza, joined with community leaders and environmental advocates last week to announce substantial progress on more than $200 million in ecological improvements for Flushing Bay.
Work includes the ongoing construction of more than three acres of new wetlands that will naturally filter the water in the Bay, the recently completed dredging of 89,000 cubic yards of sediment, and an upgrade of the sewer system that is preventing 225 million gallons of pollution from being discharged into the Bay each year.
Reducing the volume of sewer overflows, removing built-up sediment that would become exposed during low tide and create nuisance odors, and restoring the natural wetlands to help filter impurities from the water has resulted in a visibly healthier waterway for residents to enjoy and a more hospitable habitat for fish and wildlife.
“Investing more than $200 million in environmental upgrades has allowed us to significantly improve the health of Flushing Bay while also providing a breath of fresh air for residents and businesses in northern Queens,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Removing historical pollution, increasing the capacity of the sewer system to reduce overflows, and building new wetlands that will filter the water and provide a habitat for wildlife has created a new start for the ecological health of Flushing Bay.”
“As our community continues to evolve and develop, there is an immediate opportunity to transform the polluted waterways surrounding Flushing into an accessible, fishable, swimmable community resource, but this cannot be done without sufficient investment by our local governments and property owners,” said Council Member Peter Koo.
“This investment in Flushing Bay represents a good first step to reclaiming our waterfront, and I thank DEP for working in good faith with our community. I look forward to continuing these important efforts together to seek new ways to make sure Flushing Bay and Creek are able to live up to their currently unrealized potential as sources of environmental pride.”
In an effort to return some of these natural functions to Flushing Bay, in 2017 DEP began a $19.2 million project to construct more than three acres of new wetlands along the southern shore.
This work included the placement of more than 53,000 cubic yards of wetland sand, shoreline embankment material and granular filter, as well as the planting of more than 110,000 plugs of Switchgrass, Saltgrass, Seaside Goldenrod, Smooth Cordgrass, Saltmeadow Cordgrass and Common Three Square.
The planting and monitoring of the wetlands will continue for the next several years.