Tags: reclamation

A century of wetland restoration efforts

A recent analysis of wetland restoration efforts sheds new light on the success of a 100-year history of such work to reclaim these highly important ecosystems. Restoration has been a major undertaking in recent decades as development has damaged and otherwise claimed over half of the wetlands in areas like North America, Europe, Australia, and China.


Progress at Brookfield, Staten Island’s other landfill

Progress continues at Staten Island’s Brookfield Avenue Landfill, a 132-acre site in the Great Kills neighborhood, just east of the Freshkills Park site. The second phase of construction is under way and should be complete by 2013. As with other landfill remediation projects in New York City, the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will oversee completion of the cap, barrier walls and leachate collection system.


Floyd Bennett Field to become major urban campsite

Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, a former civilian and military airport on the Jamaica Bay coast, is now poised to become New York City’s largest campground. The site was taken over by the National Park Service (NPS) in 1971 after being decommissioned for aircraft, and as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area has since played host to a variety of activities: organized sports, model and full-scale airplane hobbyism, motorcycle practice and Brooklyn’s largest community garden. 


Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, June 14th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues next Tuesday with a presentation by elementary school science teacher Howard Warren.  Out of sheer interest and commitment, Howard has become one of the City’s leading experts on the history and present condition of Barren Island and Dead Horse Bay, at the southeastern corner of Brooklyn. 


Another landfill-park coming, just across the Hudson

32.5 acres of Jersey City’s 87-acre PJP Landfill, situated on the Hackensack River, is slated to be transformed into Marion Greenway Park, a passive recreational space, over the next two years.  The former Superfund site received chemical and industrial waste as early as 1968, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection assumed stewardship of the site in 1985, extinguishing landfill fires, installing a landfill cap and a landfill gas venting system. 


The Society for Ecological Restoration speaks

The Dirt recently provided a thorough review of presentations made at this year’s Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) conference.  The conference focused on “novel ecosystems”—new combinations of species that result from the influence of people—and the issues restoration ecologists must consider in the face of unrelenting urbanization. 


Mel Chin’s ‘Revival Field’

Vulgare recently highlighted artist Mel Chin’s Revival Field: Projection & Procedure (1990-1993), a 60 square foot phytoremedation test plot at the Pig’s Eye Landfill in St. Paul, Minnesota. While in residence at the Walker Art Center, Chin worked with scientists at the USDA to design gardens of hyperaccumulators—plants that can uptake heavy metals from contaminated soil (at Pig’s Eye, the soil was contaminated with cadmium, zinc and lead).


New solutions for contaminated harbor sediments

A problem faced by many industrial ports is what to do with contaminated marine sediment that is regularly dredged from the sea floor—sediment that often contains high levels of carcinogenic PCBs, cadmium, lead and mercury.  In the past, these polluted soils were dumped further out to sea or transported to inland landfills, both fiscally and environmentally costly options.


Reusing building materials in park construction

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/18507807 w=500&h=300]

Another animated video in the American Society for Landscape Architects (ASLA)’s sustainable design series demonstrates how to sustainably reclaim building materials for use in new park construction.  The clip highlights ways to convert a former building site into a new open space while minimizing waste and maximizing use of recycled materials.


Waste Management enhances wildlife habitat

Waste Management, Inc. (WM) recently reached a company goal of supporting at least 25,000 acres of wildlife habitat across 100 of its properties, most of which are landfill sites.  Environmental projects on WM land vary  from pollinator gardens and birdhouses to wetland creation and native habitat enhancement, with many projects involving community involvement and environmental education components. 


Study investigates plant-based landfill caps

Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), an arm of the US Department of Agriculture, have been working with the US Environmental Protection Agency and private consultants to develop a new method of landfill capping in which vegetation and compost replace conventional geomembrane and clay materials.  


Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, January 25th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues at the Arsenal on Tuesday, January 25th, with a talk by Dana Gumb, Director of the Staten Island Bluebelt at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.  Dana will be talking about sustainable and ecologically sound approaches urban stormwater management, through the lens of the Bluebelt, one of the most ambitious stormwater management efforts in the northeastern United States.


Brownfield remediation: a three-minute primer

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/17292335 w=500&h=400]

A simple video called From Industrial Wasteland to Community Park, produced by the American Society of Landscape Architects, demonstrates how contaminated brownfield sites can be returned to productive and public use through site clearance and phytoremediation of contaminated soils. 


Guidelines for sustainable NYC parks released

The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the Fellows of the Design Trust for Public Space have prepared and released a manual called “High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC.”  It’s a comprehensive design and construction manual for sustainable parks and open spaces and will henceforth guide the design, construction and maintenance of New York City parks, in alignment with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030.


Iconic Berlin airport to be reimagined as park

A beloved cultural landmark, Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport was the world’s first passenger airport and the site of airlifts during the Berlin Blockade.  After the site was closed to air traffic in 2008, the city held a design competition to solicit proposals reimagining the site as a public space incorporating the existing runways and beautiful terminal buildings


Dr. Steven Handel on urban ecological restoration

We’re playing catch-up recapping some of our recent events.  Last month’s talk by Dr. Steven Handel, Director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE) at Rutgers University, was an informative and engaging overview of Dr. Handel’s work, including a discussion of ‘ecological services’ and why urban ecology is so important. 


From pavement barrens to solar groves

Parking lots typically conjure up images of vast plains of asphalt half-full with vehicles baking in the sun.  But a handful of energy companies have begun to capitalize on these sun-drenched spaces without compromising their base utility.  Modular installations like EEPro’s Solar Carport and Envision Solar’s Solar Grove turn barren lots into solar farms via photovoltaic shade structures, generating energy while keeping cars cool and, in some cases, providing charging stations for electric vehicles


Next Freshkills Park Talk: Monday, November 22nd

After a late summer hiatus, our Freshkills Park Talks lecture series resumes next Monday with a talk by Dr. Steven Handel, Director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE) at Rutgers University.  CURE’s research and practice focuses on ‘ecological services’ provided by patches of native habitat in urban and other degraded areas, and how to ensure the sustainability of those services with relatively low maintenance costs.


ASLA features sustainable landscapes

The American Society of Landscape Architects has put together an online exhibition called Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes.

[The exhibition] highlights real-life examples of sustainable landscape design and its positive effects on the environment and quality of life. These spaces use natural systems to clean the air and water, restore habitats, create healthy communities, and ultimately provide significant economic, social, and environmental value.


Remediate/Re-vision show, now up at Wave Hill

The new exhibit at Wave Hill in the Bronx, called Remediate/Re-vision: Public Artists Engaging the Environment, opened on Sunday.  It showcases remediation- or sustainability-based public art projects since 2002 that have either been completed or are in the planning stages for parks and gardens. 


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