SWIM Coalition received a grant from the Newtown Creek Fund of the Hudson River Foundation to develop a Community Action Plan for reducing CSO discharges and improving water quality in the Dutch Kills branch of Newtown Creek. We've teamed up with NYC Soil and Water Conservation District, Newtown Creek Alliance, and GreenShores NYC and Riverkeeper to assess the surrounding CSO - shed for its potential to house green infrastructure solutions and to identify a set of the priority projects that the community can help catalyze over the next ten years.
We're working with recommendations from the Newtown Creek Vision Plan produced by Newtown Creek Alliance and Riverkeeper, and the Bridging the Creek Plan produced by GreenShores NYC and GIS analysis of our project area to inform the Action Plan.
On April 26th, several professors from the LaGuardia College Environmental Studies Department hosted our first stakeholder meeting with representatives from NYC Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Environmental Protection, NYC Parks Green Infrastructure Dept., NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and representatives for City Council Member Van Bramer and Assembly Member Nolan. At the meeting, we reviewed the two vision plans, our initial GIS analysis of the project area's potential for stormwater capture through green infrastructure, and the priority projects that stewards would like to initiate in over time. Our goal was to get input from the agencies on which of our projects they think would best align with some of the larger scale municipal projects they are working on in the area and where they can help us further our efforts.
The stakeholder meeting yielded excellent feedback and input from the agencies and we got a good sense of which projects we can work on with them and which of our projects they can provide support for in the years ahead.
Some of the projects on our list are: a La Guardia College/Newtown Creek Alliance project to introduce ribbed mussels in the creek to help filter and clean the water, the removal of an abandoned barge from the head end of the Dutch Kills trib, tree plantings and improvements on Thompson Ave through NYC DOT, a possible green infrastructure system under the LIE to capture stormwater runoff from the bridge, catch basin stenciling projects, and several other greening projects under consideration. Ongoing dialogue has been established with key agencies so that everyone is communicating about our projects and how the City agencies can collaborate with the community stewards to help improve water quality in the Dutch Kills branch of the Creek.
In early 2019, we'll host a community workshop in Queens to review the priorities established at the stakeholder meeting and get community input on the Action Plan and get people out in the project area stenciling catch basins and working with a local artist on a visualization of our green infrastructure dream for the neighborhoods that surround the Dutch Kills tributary.