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PR- 145-12
April 21, 2012


11 Innovative Projects Advance PlaNYC Goals to Improve Stormwater Management

Key Projects Incorporate Green Infrastructure at Bronx Zoo, The New School, Pratt Institute

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland today awarded $4.6 million in grants to community-based green infrastructure projects that will improve the water quality of New York Harbor by reducing combined sewer overflows. The 11 winners of the Green Infrastructure Grant Program represent a key component of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan – launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2010 to support PlaNYC’s goals for improved waterways. New York City, like other older urban centers, is largely serviced by a combined sewer system carrying stormwater and wastewater through a single pipe. During heavy storms, the system can exceed its capacity, and must discharge a mix of stormwater and wastewater—called a combined sewer overflow, or CSO—into New York Harbor. The winning projects cover nearly seven acres and will help meet the Green Infrastructure Plan’s core target to capture one inch of rainfall on 10 percent of the City’s impervious surfaces in combined sewer watersheds over 20 years. The winners will provide a total of $3.3 million in matching contributions for their selected projects. Key projects that will receive grants include green roofs at The New School’s Gold University Center building and the flagship campus of Pratt Institute, and a porous pavement parking lot at Bronx Zoo.

“New York City’s waterways are a critical resource that we must preserve, and by investing in these impressive projects, we are committing to improving water quality and meeting our PlaNYC sustainability goals,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Through creative, cost-effective approaches, we can better manage our stormwater overflows and the City is proud to have partnerships that make these solutions a priority.”

“The 11 winning projects illustrate how businesses, private citizens and community organizations can come together to improve the environment for the greater good, and there’s no better time than Earth Week to give these projects the green light,” said Commissioner Strickland. “When Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan in 2010, we understood that the bar for success was set very high as we built upon the ambitious goals of PlaNYC. As these winning projects demonstrate, we have successfully engaged communities throughout the city in our critical efforts to manage stormwater runoff. Just last month, our plan was reaffirmed when DEC signed a modified consent agreement incorporating green infrastructure into our compliance with Clean Water Act standards. The plan’s adaptive management approach strikes the perfect balance in improving water quality: gray infrastructure where it is cost effective, and cutting-edge green technologies where it offers a more effective investment. I thank Mayor Bloomberg for his leadership in this vital, vibrant effort.”

“New York’s waterways are among its most defining features, and these projects will help us improve their quality, while also involving community groups in promoting sustainable practices central to our PlaNYC goals,” said David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “The grants announced today will bring us cleaner water and air, enhanced open space and a common-sense approach to climate change.”

Launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2010, the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan lays out a comprehensive strategy to improve harbor water quality by capturing and retaining stormwater runoff before it enters the sewer system. The plan fulfills concepts originally introduced in PlaNYC to capture the first inch of rainfall on 10 percent of the City’s impervious surface area in combined sewer watersheds over 20 years, reducing CSOs by approximately 1.5 billion gallons per year. Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other structural elements to absorb and evaporate water. In March, DEP signed a landmark agreement with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation incorporating the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan into Clean Water Act compliance. Under this agreement, the City will invest approximately $187 million over the next three years and an estimated $2.4 billion in public and private funding over the next 18 years in green infrastructure technologies. Of the $2.4 billion investment, $1.5 billion will come from public funds while $900 million is expected from new development. In total, the agreement will save $3.4 billion through elimination or deferral of gray infrastructure investments while still achieving equivalent water quality benefits. By shifting from the exclusive use of gray infrastructure to green infrastructure, the City will reduce combined sewer overflows by more than 12 billion gallons per year by 2030, a 40 percent reduction.

The grants mark the second round of funding awarded by the Green Infrastructure Grant Program, which last year awarded 13 projects a total of $3.6 million in funds. Preference for grants was given to projects that would provide cost effective stormwater controls, matching funds or other contributions, and other benefits such as increased shade, decreased energy use for cooling buildings, increased awareness about stormwater management, and increased community stewardship. The projects were selected through an interagency Review Committee made up of representatives from the Departments of Transportation, Buildings, Parks and Recreations, Environmental Protection, Design and Construction, and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition to the $3.6 million the City had already allotted for grants, an agreement with the State added an additional $1 million to the program. As described in the Amended Consent Order, $1,000,000 of the total grant award will be funded through the Environmental Benefits Program (EBP) and will be undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action taken by New York State and the Department of Environmental Conservation for violations of New York State law and regulations. These funds will go the following projects proposed by the following winners: The New School, the Ascension School and the Natural Resource Defense Council. Through the EBP program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has worked together with DEP to foster participation by local environmental groups in the design and implementation of cutting-edge green infrastructure technologies.

The winning projects are:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Amount:  $503,470
Location:  1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx
The Falk Recreation Building at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine is located within the Westchester Creek drainage area in the Bronx.  The proposed blue/green roof will showcase innovative, practical, cost effective infrastructure and serve as a model for green infrastructure installations for other buildings, including its seven hospital affiliates throughout New York City.  The proposed project will make the captured water available for reuse on the planted green roof. 

“Installing an innovative blue/green roof at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University campus contributes to our ongoing efforts to design sustainable, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing buildings in the Northeast Bronx,” said Salvatore P. Ciampo, Senior Director of Facilities Management. “We look forward to collaborating with NYC Department of Environmental Protection on this exciting project and hope it can serve as a model for other New York City institutions."

Ascension School
Amount:  $245,213
Location: 220 West 108th Street, Manhattan
Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Ascension School has proposed an educational green roof and vegetable garden that will reduce the amount of runoff entering the East River watershed. The vegetated areas are a combination of a wildflower meadow, raised planter fruit and vegetable gardens. 

“Thanks to receiving a 2012 Green Infrastructure Grant, the Ascension School will now be able to house a state-of-the-art new green roof — reusing rainwater for growing fruits, vegetables, and native plants, all while teaching our schoolchildren about local, sustainable agriculture,” said Project Manager Will Travers. 

Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew
Amount: $289,698
Location:  520 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn
The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew is located in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn within the East River watershed.  Multiple green infrastructure installations are proposed, including rain gardens that will collect water from disconnected roof leaders and permeable pavement near the church entry and rear driveway. 

"The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew is thrilled to move forward with our green infrastructure project made possible by generous funding from the DEP,” said The Reverend Michael Sniffen. “We are confident that this project will become a model for other faith communities and non-profits working to green their neighborhoods and educate Brooklynites about the need for direct action to protect our urban environment."

London Leasing LP (LeFrak City)
Amount:  $279,600
Location:  96-04 57th Avenue, Queens
This proposed project represents an approximately 10,600 square foot area of parking lot within the LeFrak City development in the Flushing Bay watershed.  The porous pavement installation will manage stormwater in excess of the first 1-inch rainfall and thereby delay and reduce the flow of stormwater into the City's combined sewer system. London Leasing is providing $50,400 in matching funds for this project.

“This parking lot resurfacing is part of ‘LeFrak City at 50: A Master Plan for Renewal and Modernization,’ and is an important part of our flood mitigation efforts at LeFrak City,” said Marsilia A. Boyle, Senior Vice President of London Leasing, LP. “We are pleased that the goals of our Master Plan are consistent with the City’s goals for restoring the ecological health of our harbor and that we can partner with the City in this important undertaking.”

Natural Resources Defense Council
Amount: $485,132
Location: 40 West 20th Street, Manhattan
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) headquarters building, located within the East River watershed, proposed a green roof system that includes native plantings and a plot for fruits and vegetables maintained and harvested by NRDC staff.  There will be a viewing platform for visitors to see the green roof, trees, rainwater collection system, beehives, and solar panels. NRDC is providing $346,040 in matching funds for this project.

"We're delighted that the roof of the NRDC building in Chelsea will soon host plots of native plants, flowers for our resident bees and a demonstration of urban agriculture," said Anthony Guerrero, Director of Facilities and Administration for NRDC. "Partnering with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to expand our green roof infrastructure will help NRDC deliver on its goal of advancing sustainable green living for our community and our world."

The New School
Amount: $325,000
Location: 66 West 12th Street, Manhattan
The New School has proposed a green roof as part of a new flagship LEED-certified Gold University Center building currently under construction at 65 Fifth Avenue within the East River watershed. The green roof will reduce stormwater runoff with 13,542 square feet of vegetated surface. The New School is investing $833,735 towards the completion of this project.

“Support from the Department of Environmental Protection means the University Center will be even more environmentally efficient, helping The New School further our flagship building’s value as a teaching tool,” said New School President David Van Zandt.  “Because our students pursue careers in sustainability management, environmental studies, and ‘green’ design, support for the Green Roof will resonate across campus.”

Pratt Area Community Council with Alive Structures
Amount:  $206,207
Location: 15 Quincy Street/17 Monroe Street, Brooklyn
Pratt Area Community Council (PACC) together with Alive Structures proposed green roofs at 15 Quincy Street and 17 Monroe Street, where stormwater drains into the East River. Alive Structures will install an extensive green roof at each location, and one rain garden in the paved terrace at the Quincy Street building.  The roofs will be used as an educational resource. Alive Structures is providing $2,055 in matching funds for this project.

Pratt Area Community Council and Alive Structures are excited to work together with DEP to bring green roofs, rain gardens, and increased awareness about storm water management to affordable housing in our community,” said Deb Howard, Executive Director of Pratt Area Community Council. “The green roofs and rain garden will be great additions to these properties and serve as examples for bringing another sustainable solution to affordable housing.” 

Pratt Institute
Amount:  $475,167
Location:  200 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn
Pratt has proposed a green roof and porous parking lot on their main Clinton Hill campus, which is within the East River watershed. The North Hall green roof, which houses the campus cafeteria as well as classrooms, will be planted with native species and monitored to measure energy efficiency benefits. The Cannoneer Court Permeable Parking Lot will retrofit the 100 parking space lot with bioswales, trench drains and plantings.  Pratt will monitor the effectiveness of this method as a potential model for citywide parking lot design.  Pratt Institute is providing up to $68,910 in matching funds for the projects.

“Pratt Institute is thrilled and proud to have been awarded funding from the Department of Environmental Protection Green Infrastructure Grant Program,” said Pratt Institute President Thomas F. Schutte. “Students, faculty, and staff throughout the Institute as well as Pratt’s local communities will have the opportunity to participate in all phases of these green infrastructure projects—from design and construction to maintenance and monitoring.”

UA Local 1 Plumbers
Amount: $500,000
Location:  50-02 Fifth Street, Queens
The Local 1 Plumbers Union building in the East River watershed, and the union will build a green roof system that simultaneously reduces the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect and reduces stormwater runoff. The project also includes a rainwater collection cistern that will reuse water for supplementary irrigation. With its location at the headquarters of the largest plumbers union in the nation, the project is uniquely positioned to serve as an educational tool for advancing green best practices, reducing the union’s carbon footprint, and promoting energy conservation.  UA Local 1 Plumbers Union is investing $1,504,650 toward the completion of this project.

“For over 120 years, the members of UA Plumbers Local Union No. 1 have remained committed to providing clean drinking water and sanitary systems to the citizens of the City of New York,” said John J. Murphy, Treasurer of UA Plumbers Local No. 1.  The DEP's Green Infrastructure Grant provides us with the necessary support to advance an innovative green roof system that focuses both on energy and water conservation, highlighting the exceptional skills of our trade while preserving our most precious resources.”

Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo)
Amount: $999,470
Location:  2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo has proposed a redesign of the Asia Parking Lot to improve water quality in the Bronx River. One mile of the Bronx River is an important feature of the Zoo and flows through its center.  The project would redesign the parking lot to manage stormwater runoff by including permeable pavement with drainage layers beneath to slowly disperse water to the subsurface.  The Zoo will integrate the project into their education programming and install signage to inform visitors about the importance of stormwater management. 

“The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo takes pride leading by example by incorporating environmentally friendly, green infrastructure into our parks,” said John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “We are grateful to the DEP for recognizing our ongoing efforts and awarding this grant. It will provide an opportunity for us to continue our contribution to the restoration of the Bronx River and safeguard the health of New York City’s only freshwater river.”

Workforce Housing Advisors
Amount: $297,506
Location: 916-935 Kelly Street, Bronx
The Workforce Housing Advisors (WHA), which recently acquired the Kelly Street buildings in the Hunts Point-Longwood section of the Bronx, proposed the Kelly Street Garden to install green roofs, porous pavings, and community green space within the East River watershed. Included in the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP) as one of the City’s worst 200 buildings, WHA and partners have put green infrastructure at the center of the plan to create a livable and sustainable New York City. Workforce Housing is providing $300,000 in matching funds for this project.

"The team is honored and excited to receive this transformational grant. Our rehabilitation projects go beyond just the physical structure of the buildings, we also focus on revitalizing the communities we live and work in,” said John Crotty, Principal of the Kelly Street Redevelopment. “By turning storm water into vegetation, this green alchemy will solidify the successful rehabilitation of this historic area. With this grant we will create a whole new meaning to ‘Kelly Green.’”


Stu Loeser / Lauren Passalacqua   (212) 788-2958

Farrell Sklerov / Corey Chambliss   (DEP)
(718) 595-6600


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