BGI is pleased to announce that West Street Watershed Stormwater Project” has been selected as a recipient of the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund’s 2015 Large & Legacy Grants.

The West Street Watershed Stormwater Project  will design and install 54 right-of-way bioswales and greenstreets covering 4,845 sq. ft. on the ten streets that slope toward the East River between  Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street.  Major project activities include:

• community engagement in site selection and project
• site assessments and selection;
• design, construction, and planting of bioswales and
greenstreets; and
• performing maintenance of plantings.

The project will result in a substantial decrease in the volume and frequency of raw sewage releases from the city’s combined sewer system by installing bioswales and  greenstreets “bulb outs” on sidewalks and streets in the area bounded by Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue, and Green and Calyer Streets. This green infrastructure will capture and treat over 6 million gallons of stormwater annually, or 35% of the stormwater from the project area that otherwise would contribute to  sewer overflows and pollute the East River.

Bioswales (sometimes referred to as garden swales) will  be installed on each block in places where they meet the guidelines for setbacks from buildings, driveways, street trees and other street infrastructure. Garden swales resemble long tree pits that are intensively planted with salt tolerant, hardy, and attractive, perennial plants, native grasses, shrubs, and trees.

Greenstreet “bulb outs” will be installed at the Franklin Street end of all blocks and on Franklin Street itself, in places where they will not conflict with existing street trees, hydrants, bus stops, etc. Bulb outs are curb extensions that curve out into the roadway to create a wider planting area. They provide for enhanced stormwater capture and treatment. Bulb outs will have the additional benefit of making crossing distances shorter for pedestrians on Franklin Street.

Bioswales and greenstreets offer benefits beyond capture and treatment of stormwater. The trees and other vegetation in them will improve local air quality by storing and capturing carbon dioxide and other types of air pollution, and will lower ambient temperatures by reducing the retention and radiation of heat from paved surfaces. This green infrastructure will also create spaces for the restoration of native plant communities in areas that have become devoid of native flora.

About the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF)
The GCEF is a $19.5 million grant program created by the New York State Office of the Attorney General and Department of Environmental Conservation with monies obtained through a settlement with ExxonMobil over its Greenpoint oil spill. The GCEF’s goal is to fund projects that will address the Greenpoint community’s environmental priorities through a process that is open, transparent, and ensures ongoing engagement and partnership with the community.


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