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Floating Grass Raft Project of LaGuardia College Environmental Science program. 

Image credit M. Mulally 2018


Every year, the City's combined sewer system discharges nearly 200 million gallons of polluted stormwater runoff  mixed with untreated sewage (CSO) into the dutch kills tributary of newtown creek.

SWIM is working with local waterway stewards on a community action plan to catalyze Green Infrastructure projects that will help improve water quality in the Dutch Kills tributary. We've teamed up with several of our member organizations (NYC Soil and Water Conservation District, Newtown Creek Alliance, Green Shores NYC and Riverkeeper), to collaborate on the action plan.


Throughout 2018, our project team met with elected officials, NYC DEP, DOT, Parks departments, NYDEC, LaGuardia College professors, and other key stakeholders to share our plan and build a feasible priority project list that can be implemented over time. 


In 2019 we met with local stakeholders to inventory all the assets and existing conditions in the project area, review and discuss our priority project list, get community input and initiate ideas for how to get to zero CSO's in the Dutch Kills.


In the summer 2019 we worked with two groups of artists on public art projects

to build awareness of the action plan. 


In 2020 we'll publish the proposed plan and share it with stakeholders.

The NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection recently installed a large marshland restoration project along the banks of the tributary to help improve water quality and enhance the natural habitat. They are monitoring the project over the next few years to see how the grasses impact water quality in the Dutch Kills tributary.


Newtown Creek Alliance and LaGuardia College monitor water quality in the Dutch Kills tributary and lead shoreline planting projects along the banks of the Dutch Kills. LaGuardia College professors and students are working on ecological restoration of the waterway by hand-building and installing  floating grass rafts like the one depicted above.  

large nca team at dutch kills.jpg

The Dutch Kills branch of Newtown Creek is a former maritime artery surrounded by residential towers, commercial and industrial businesses,

a community garden, and LaGuardia College; which makes it a perfect spot

for robust educational and recreational activities and opportunities!


But first, water quality in the tributary needs to be improved. The Getting to Zero in Dutch Kills Community Action Plan aims to reduce CSO pollution (to zero ideally!) through citizen-driven green infrastructure projects in the two CSO-sheds that contribute the most

CSO pollution in the waterway. (See link to our CSO-shed map below)

dutch kills boat tourG_3295.jpg

The Getting to Zero in Dutch Kills project is informed by community recommendations in two vision plans published in 2018: Bridging the Creek, and the Dutch Kills section of the Newtown Creek Vision Plan as well as an assets map depicting the project area's capacity to house Green Infrastructure solutions in two CSO-sheds that drain into the Dutch Kills tributary.

analysis map dutch kills.png

The Getting To Zero in Dutch Kills is a project of SWIM Coalition in collaboration with NYC Soil and Water Conservation District, GreenShores NYC, Newtown Creek Alliance and Riverkeeper. The project is funded by a grant from the Hudson River Foundation-Newtown Creek Fund. 

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