USACE to Begin Construction on Restoration Initiative Sites

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District will proceed with the restoration of two intertidal salt marsh sites, the Joseph Medwick Park in Carteret, N.J., and the Brooklyn Union Gas site in Staten Island, N.Y. Both sites were selected as restoration projects to compensate for unavoidable impacts resulting from the dredging and deepening of the Arthur Kill Channel in the New York and New Jersey Harbor. The Corps and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, along with state and local agencies, are deepening the channels in the Port as part of an overall harbor improvement program. In addition to ensuring a safe, efficient Port, the harbor improvement program is designed to maintain a healthy, diverse, and sustainable environment through the creation, enhancement, and restoration of aquatic, wetland, and upland habitat. The program also includes the construction of artificial fishing reefs and the capping of existing brownfields and landfills in the region. As part of the harbor improvement program, the Corps is working in cooperation with the Hudson-Raritan Estuary project to evaluate measures that would address environmental degradation and other related water resource and sediment problems and needs, including environmental restoration and protection. The Corps is also identifying mitigation measures for sites that may be negatively impacted by the channel deepening. "The deepening of the harbor channels is a large scale project that may produce unavoidable environmental impacts," Polo said. "We work hard not only to minimize the impacts, but also to replace the habitat or ecosystem that is affected by the deepening project."

Both the Medwick Park and Brooklyn Union Gas sites involve the clearing, excavation, and disposal of phragmites or common ferns, followed by grading and planting of native wetland species. The goal is to restore the environment by re-establishing tidal flow to both sites thereby improving water and sediment quality and promoting the return of native fish and wildlife. The restoration initiatives will also improve air quality and ultimately improve recreational opportunities for area residents. The Joseph Medwick Park project information: Removal of approximately 29,300 cubic yards of material followed by grading and replanting of approximately 14 acres. Removal of existing phragmites and debris, as well as the removal and disposal of soils. Regrading of the marsh to achieve elevations favorable to the growth of desirable species for the site, such as various Spartina grass. Limited placement of clean soil and the replanting of native wetland species including: 265,000 Spartina Alterniflora bulbs in the low marsh zone 1,200 containers of Ivy Frutescens 2,000 Spartina Patens bulbs in the supratidal zone, as well as many other plantings.

The Brooklyn Union Gas site project information: Removal of approximately 32,200 cubic yards of materials and the grading and replanting of around nine acres. Removal of phragmites and debris, regrading the marsh surface to promote the growth of Spartina grass, and the limited placement of clean soil. Replanting of native wetland species on the site will include: o 196,891 square feet of Spartina Alterniflora in the low marsh area. o 4,175 square feet of shrubs in the high marsh area. o 27,660 square feet of Herbaceous plants in the maritime zone, as well as many other plantings.

The $3.3 million contract for the Joseph Medwick Park project was awarded on Sept. 29, 2005 to the Dawson Corporation of Clarksburg, New Jersey. The construction contract for the Brooklyn Union Gas site was awarded on Sept. 28, 2005 to the New York Concrete Corp in the amount of $5.3 million. Construction for both projects is expected to be completed in the spring of 2006.

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