More from SUSTAINABLE SYSTEMS class at Parsons: the New School April 14-15

On April 14 and 15th the ecological artist, activist, writer and educator Oliver Kellhammer invited me to his class called "Sustainable Systems" held every semester at Parsons: the New School. After talking about the EKP and the mussel habitats experiments I got some of the most interesting concepts and designs.  To access the student designs for new wetlands and public access go to the see the "Design What You Want to See in English Kills” page on this site. I post the mussel habitat designs here:

EKP WORKSHOP DESIGNS at Lantern Hall Feb. 28, 2016.

These are the first submissions for habitat designs from workshop participants. The EKP workshop at Lantern Hall produces some innovative designs for ribbed mussel habitats in the English Kills basin.


              "DESIGN YOUR OWN MUSSEL HABITAT" design template!

Introducing the new design template "DESIGN YOUR OWN MUSSEL HABITAT"!  Now you have the opportunity to create your version of what a mussel habitat should look like. Maybe you want to draw one the shape of an egret? You have to make sure it has sand and other filter feeding organisms to live with. Water and its microscopic life feed the bivalves, therefore making the habitat porous is important. At the same time it is essential to create a design that can protect the mussels from potential predators. Click on the "DESIGN YOUR OWN MUSSEL HABITAT" to download the template. Draw your idea on the "template place-mat". Be sure to sign and write your name, email and date. Email it back to me and Ill post it online!


4 Hour Mussel Water Test

This is a sped up video of 2 samples of water from English Kills (Newtown Creek - Brooklyn, NY). One vessel is left as is, the other has three mussels submerged for 4 hours. Examine the clarity of the water with the mussels after the end of the experiment. 


The 2nd Mussel Habitat Installation

The first mussel habitat installation in English Kills was rendered as a failure due to the fact that mammals (raccoons probably) attacked the installation and ate the mussels. This is the second attempt, however with a protective dome made from marine board strips. The crown is a weaved basket of non-leaching polythylene strips that will allow sunlight and water penetration but resists the reach of other animals living in the creek.

Here is Elizabeth and a new volunteer David Victor Rose installing the new population of mussels.

Here is Elizabeth and a new volunteer David Victor Rose installing the new population of mussels.

Here is the new crown for the habitat.


I was assisted by my first volunteer, Elizabeth Skolnick. The installation took 45 minutes during lowtide.



Ribbed mussels are native to Newtown Creek. Many can be found embedded in the bulkhead of the creek, especially around the Greenpoint area near the mouth of the creek. Dr. Durand and I conducted experiments with mussels collected from the Nature Walk in front of the Greenpoint Water Treatment facility. Our visual information  and data from Dr. Durand's lab are below. This summer the EKP will commence with introducing these mussels to English Kills. First to see how they fare under the extreme conditions of English Kills. If there is  high survivability rate then a larger scale project to bring mussel habitats will be brought to areas around the CSO of English Kills.

Ribbed mussels captured from Newtown Creek along the Nature Walk in Greeenpoint, Brooklyn. They were placed in identical water samples from Newtown Creek. (Left) Control sample. (Right) Sample with 2 mussels, two hours after submersion.