In 2016 the EKP collaborated with the Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) on a design to bring constructed wetlands to the EK tributary. There are several existing models currently being tried along Newtown Creek: Whale Creek, Dutch Kills and No Name Creek. The EKP-NCA collaboration yielded a design similar to the NCA Living Dock, which continues to exist as both a rare and clean habitat (milk crates) for small marine life and a functional boat dock. http://livingdock.tumblr.com/

The EKP trial will take a different twist to bring wetlands and habitats. A floating island designs brings the same horizontal feature, yet is mobile, modular, maximizes habitat scale and simultaneously serves as a bio-experiment to determine which of 4 different substrates (while carrying living organisms) is most sustainable in English Kills water, the most polluted part of Newtown Creek.

Our version commits more of the basic footprint to constructed wetlands (island or floating wetlands) and minimizes the dock portion. It’s H shape provides 4 bays with trays placed inside each. The experiment consists of utilizing 4 different stretched substrates: Hydroponic felt, polyflo bio-filter material, burlap and polythylene geo-textile. Each bay is a removable lattice of biodegradable materials and substrates that support and contain spartina and ribbed mussels. Spartina plugs would be planted between the lattices. Roots would expand under each tray and provide shelter and microbes for marine life.

The project will test whether one substrate can sustain itself and living organisms best and eventually released to float without being confined in the bay. A successful Floating Island project can be expanded to speculate how wetlands can extend horizontally throughout the length of Newtown Creek’s vertical bulkheads. If it can survive in English Kills’ static and polluted water, then it holds promise for sustainability in the other tributaries.

The east inlet of the EK basin would be the ideal spot for installation. Boat or barge traffic would be unhindered by the position of the Floating Island. Navigate to the Constructed Wetlands page for more detail, principles and background info.

The EKP looks forward to working with the NCA on this project. Fabrication is expected to start in the late spring.