Tags: ecology

The Staten Island Bluebelt Expands Again

Image: NYC Department of Design and Construction.

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) recently completed the Sweet Brook system, the largest expansion to date of the Staten Island Bluebelt. The Bluebelt is an innovative, ecologically protective and cost-effective stormwater management system that minimizes flooding and improves water quality in 16 watersheds on Staten Island.

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Restoring Natural Habitats, One Goat at a Time

Goat at Freshkills Park, 2012.

As invasive species become a greater problem and harder to deal with, New Yorkers are looking to more creative solutions to control their presence. Parks in the area incorporate a wide array of methods to control invasives including manual removal, pesticides and even controlled burnings.

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Panel Discussion: Re-envisioning Post-Industrial Public Landscapes

Freshkills Park’s Manager for Science & Research Development Dr. Cait Field will participate in a panel discussion at Rutgers University on Wednesday, April 27th. Called Re-envisioning Post-Industrial Public Landscapes, the discussion will include panelists from Freshkills Park and Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Happy National Invasive Species Awareness Week! An “invasive species” is a plant, animal, or other organism that’s not native to the ecosystem under consideration whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

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Saw Mill Creek and the First NYC Wetlands Mitigation Bank

New York City is in the process of creating its first wetland mitigation bank in the marshlands surrounding Saw Mill Creek on Staten Island.  Saw Mill Creek, a tributary to Prall’s Creek and the Arthur Kill, is encircled by the largest expanse of remaining salt marsh along Staten Island’s west shore. 

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Citizen Science: Water Monitoring Project for Students

 

This spring, 6th-12th grade students in Staten Island will have the chance to participate in a Citizen Science water monitoring project at Freshkills Park. The project will be overseen by Manager of Science and Research Development Cait Field and fellow NYC Department of Parks and Recreation staff.

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Swainson’s Hawk Sighting at East Mound

Photo: Seth Wollney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Researchers found a rare Swainson’s hawk at Freshkills Park’s East Mound on Tuesday morning. Dr. Richard Veit of The College of Staten Island described the hawk as a western North American grasslands specialist bird.

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From Behind the Mounds: Highlights from BioBlitz! at Freshkills Park

On August 29th and 30th, Freshkills Park teamed up with CUNY Macaulay Honors College to conduct a BioBlitz of North Park. A BioBlitz is a 24-hr biological survey event aimed at developing a snapshot of as much biodiversity as possible in a given area at a particular time of year.

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Tweeting Bird Boxes at Freshkills Park

Freshkills Park is developing a unique digital app that will broadcast the ongoing ecological restoration of the Park and create new potentials in the field of scientific research. The launch of the app will highlight a research project investigating the health of the Park’s cavity nesting birds like tree swallows and house wrens.

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From Behind the Mounds: Summertime in the Salt Marsh

2,200 total acres. 990 acres of former landfill. Last garbage barge in 2001. 150 million tons of garbage. Located along the Arthur Kill, Great Fresh Kill, Richmond Creek and Main Creek.

No, it didn’t matter how many facts I tried to memorize in preparation for my internship with Freshkills Park, because nothing can really prepare you for your first site visit.

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Rare Grasshopper Sparrow Discovered at Freshkills Park

The grasslands of East Park.

Most visitors to Freshkills Park usually get excited when they see the ospreys in their nest, or a bald eagle fly by, or a red-tailed hawk overhead… but scientists and bird enthusiasts are most excited about all of the grasslands within the park.

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Farther Afield: A visit to the Black Rock Forest Consortium

In mid-December, the Freshkills Park Development Team took a trip to visit the Black Rock Forest Consortium in Cornwall, NY. The Consortium manages 3,838 acres of forest with a scientific research field station on site. The team met with Dr. Bill Schuster, Black Rock’s Executive Director, who gave an overview of the facilities at the station and the research and scientific programming taking place, and led the team on a tour into the forest to visit some of the current research sites towards fostering ideas for the future of the scientific research program at Freshkills Park.

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Gowanus Canal Cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its cleanup plan for Gowanus Canal. The Brooklyn Canal, bound by Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, was declared a Superfund site in 2010 and communities have long been pushing for its cleanup.

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Bird Breeding at Freshkills

House Wren eggs in a bird nestbox.

Last week several members of the Freshkills team assisted Dr. Mark Hauber, a professor of Psychology at Hunter College, in checking bird nestboxes in the park. Dr. Hauber is gathering data on the bird populations and breeding success at Freshkills Park, a site which has acted as a stopover for bird species along the Atlantic Migratory Flyway since the closure of the landfill.

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London’s Olympic Park features ecologically-based design approach

Olympic Park in London

Though the 2012 Olympic Games have come to a close, the landscape of London’s East End has been dramatically transformed for the long-term utilizing a ecologically-based design approach that has much in common with the Freshkills Park master plan.

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The Undeniable Benefits of Urban Trees

Trees in bloom at Freshkills Park.

It is inarguable that trees are an integral component of a healthy life. Despite this fact, the case for trees in urban environments needs to be continually proven in order to prevent their elimination. As Atlantic Cities reports, the City of San Diego is setting an excellent precedent by collecting data which demonstrates the overwhelmingly positive mental and physical effects of trees on densely populated environments.

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‘Mussel Raft’ aides water filtration

Mussel Raft, South Bronx estuary, NY. Courtesy: Lisa Graham, Long Island Sound Study via The New York Times

An interesting experiment in water pollution management is taking place in the Bronx River estuary near Hunts Point in New York City. Scientists are testing the use of a ‘Mussel Raft’ for addressing nitrogen pollution from treated sewage that ends up in the water from a nearby treatment facility.

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New smartphone app tracks invasive plant species

Recently, UK scientists and environmental organizations teamed up to create a smartphone app that allows users to track invasive plant species. PlantTracker “tells people how to spot invasive plants and lets them snap geo-tagged pictures of the species and submit them to the organizations to better help them manage the populations.” This crowd-sourced tool was developed by the UK’s Environment Agency, along with the Nature Locator project at Bristol University and the National Environmental Research Council’s Center for Hydrology and Ecology.

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Threatened coastal seagrasses supply more carbon storage than forests

New research shows coastal seagrass store up to twice the amount of carbon as above-ground forests, but are being threatened by dredging and water pollution, among other factors. Treehugger reports on the global analysis by Nature Geoscience showing seagrass can store “83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, versus 30,000 tons for a typical forest” and “29% of all historic seagrass meadows have been destroyed, primarily due to dredging and water pollution, with 1.5% of seagrass meadows destroyed each year.” The recent release of the New York City Wetland Strategy appears particularly timely in light of these findings.

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City outlines strategy to protect and create wetlands

Mayor Bloomberg and several City of New York agencies recently released The Wetland Strategy report, which outlines plans to protect and improve city waterways. The report contains strategies to address goals in PlaNYC 2030. Among the 12 initiatives are plans to:

  • invest $48 million in projects that restore and enhance nearly 127 acres of wetlands and neighboring areas,
  • add 75 acres of wetland to the New York City Parks system,
  • create the natural areas conservancy to encourage a public-private partnership for wetlands management,
  • create a wetlands mitigation banking or in-lieu fee mechanism for public projects.
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