Water Monitoring Continues with Consistent Results
For the past two years, NYC Parks staff have partnered with the College of Staten Island (CSI) and the Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC) to monitor the water quality within Freshkills Park and study the health of the waterways. This year’s results were consistent with data from last year, which shows great progress in the remediation and restoration of the park.
Freshkills Park’s waterways are one of its most distinctive qualities. Several creeks span miles, delicately separating the site’s engineered hills and connecting once-forgotten wetland marshes with the Arthur Kill. Since the landfill closed in 2001, these waterways have become a place for wildlife as well as kayaking, boat tours, and research.
Between June and September 2018, staff conducted weekly water tests along Richmond Creek and Main Creek. The creeks are brackish, with a salt content of 19 parts per thousand. This is an intermediate amount of salt between fresh water and oceanic waters. The creeks also have a healthy average dissolved oxygen level of 6.3 mg/l, and a pH of 7.3. For these reasons the creeks are able to support a wide variety of fish, invertebrates, shellfish, plants, and birds specially adapted to these brackish waters.
Water samples were also collected and then turned over to the IEC lab at CSI to test for Fecal coliform and Enterococcus bacteria. Concentrations again met safe boating and fishing standards set by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and often met swimmable standards, at levels comparable to other NYC waterways.
This research initiative is focused on tracking the park’s restoration from an ecological perspective. NYC Sanitation also conducts tests to monitor qualities important to landfill infrastructure, such as groundwater, surface water and air quality. The data collected will go on to inform future studies concerning the health of the creeks. The research also allows staff to continue to propose and enact new initiatives to improve the water quality even further over the span of the park’s continual construction, development, and vision for an ecologically balanced reclaimed land.
This project is a partnership with the College of Staten Island and the Interstate Environmental Commission. To receive updates on ongoing research projects, join the newsletter and follow @freshkillspark on social media.