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The above rendering depicts how the wetland marshes could look after restoration work. Image courtesy of the New York Economic Development Corporation. 

The NYC Economic Development Corporation on behalf of the City and in partnership with the NYC Parks Department has announced a project to restore the Saw Mill Creek Marsh on the Western Shore of Staten Island in the City’s first mitigation bank. 

The 68 acres will be restored in two phases: Phase I will begin this Fall and will include about 54 acres. Phase II will begin at a later date to be determined that will restore the remaining 14 acres. The restoration will create a mixture of open water, mudflat, low marsh, high marsh, scrub-shrub wetland, and upland buffer

According to a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) for environmental Credits, “the wetland will function with improvements to hydrology, water quality, plant diversity, wildlife species abundance and diversity, flood attenuation and sediment quality.”

Current existing conditions. Photo courtesy of the New York Economic Development Corporation.

City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo expressed in a press release that “One of the biggest challenges we face in our post-Sandy world is finding a way to protect our communities and our natural environment from future disasters by requiring more resilient development without stunting economic growth. That is why I felt mitigation banking would be a great tool for Staten Island. A mitigation bank will potentially allow us to preserve, protect and enhance our borough’s wetlands, while at the same time make the building process easier, less time consuming and ultimately less expensive for those who want to invest here.”

Current existing conditions. Photo courtesy of the New York Economic Development Corporation.

The adjacent wetland. Photo courtesy of the New York Economic Development Corporation.

The project is slated to begin in November of this year and will play an integral role in the City’s Mitigation and Restoration Strategies for Habitat and Ecological Sustainability (MARSHES) initiative.

This project will be the first of its kind in an urban area as dense as New York City and will help offset the waterfront environmental impacts. Hurricane Sandy revealed to us the many problems that come with living surrounded by water. This project allows the city to move on and embrace the positive environmental differences it can make, and it shows that it is possible to adjust to a greener world.

Next, check out From Trash to Trails: A Boat Tour to Freshkills Park on Staten Island [Photos] and see “Landscape in Motion” Looks at Freshkills Transformation from Landfill to Park

 NYC Department of Parks, nycedc, saw mill creek marsh, staten island

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