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February 12, 2015

Contact:, (718) 595-6600

Community-based Environmental Projects Receive More Than $3 Million from the Department of Environmental Protection

Projects will Reduce Pollution in the East River, Gowanus Canal and Jamaica Bay

Renderings of the Projects are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today announced that six community-based stormwater management projects have been chosen to receive more than $3 million in funding through the Green Infrastructure Grant program, which will be augmented by nearly $1 million in matching funds from the recipients.  Once completed, the six projects selected for funding today will prevent more than 6 million gallons of stormwater from entering the combined sewer system each year, thereby helping to reduce sewer overflows into local waterways.  The grant program will help meet the goals of the New York City Green Infrastructure Plan, which aims to capture the first inch of rain that falls on 10 percent of the city’s impervious surfaces in combined sewer areas through a combination of City-built projects in streets and sidewalks, regulations for new development and redevelopment, and retrofits of existing development, including through the grant program.  A new round of grant funding will be made available in 2015 for private property owners throughout the city, including commercial buildings, private schools and hospitals, and community and faith-based organizations.  More information can be found on DEP’s website here

“By soaking up rain water these projects will help to reduce pollution in our local waterways, including the East River, Gowanus Canal and Jamaica Bay,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd.  “From Ozone Park to Melrose to Sunset Park, we are thrilled to contribute funding to these projects that will provide many additional benefits for local residents, including a greener landscape and cleaner air.”

"Implementing green roofs and blue roofs clean our air and waterways alike, utilizing the natural power of plant life,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.  “Residents in Fort Greene, Gowanus, Sunset Park and beyond will benefit from these forward-thinking projects, which will handle over 120,000 gallons of combined stormwater.  I thank DEP for their ongoing commitment to improving Brooklyn's environment and advancing my goal for a more sustainable borough."

"We're thrilled to be working with our partners in Gowanus, Sunset Park, and Ozone Park on these projects,” said Chief Operating Officer of Brooklyn Grange Gwen Schantz.  “All together we'll be building over two acres of new green space on New York City rooftops, and we couldn't do it without the incredible support of the DEP Green Infrastructure program."

“Montefiore is very excited about this project and what it means to our Bronx community,” said Edward Pfleging, Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate at Montefiore Medical Center.  “This green roof will help add to our ongoing efforts to design and build sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings that promote healing.  We are very excited to work with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection on this project and hope it can inspire additional green infrastructure projects in the Bronx.”

“Liberty View Industrial Plaza is excited to work with Brooklyn Grange and DEP to further improve New York City’s next hot spot, Sunset Park, Brooklyn,” said Ian R. Siegel, Project Manager for Salmar Properties LLC.  “Having a 60,000 square foot wildflower meadow on our roof further positions our project as the transformative industrial and manufacturing hub of New York City.  It also shows that Liberty View and Sunset Park is the place to be!”

"Madani Halal is excited to be helping the greatest city in the world transform itself into one of the greenest,” said Imran Uddin, partner with Brooklyn Grange and owner of Madani Halal.  “Hopefully, if plans for the QueensWay in Ozone Park continue, this project will also become a destination site."

“We’re thrilled to continue growing this powerful public-private partnership with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection,” said Deborah Marton, New York Restoration Project Executive Director.  “The funding allows us to transform Paradise on Earth, a vital community space in the Morrisania area of the Bronx, increase biodiversity, reduce pollution and protect water quality.”

Elise Long, Artistic/Director of Spoke the Hub Dancing, Inc. said, “Spoke the Hub is delighted to learn that a beautiful, sustainable green roof for Gowanus Arts - our 15,000 square foot community arts building on Douglass Street which has provided a home for Spoke the Hub and thousands of other artists and arts enthusiasts for over three decades --  is in the imminent future!   Special thanks go to Gwen Schantz of Brooklyn Grange and DEP who are making this urban oasis possible for all our local residents and guests from across the nation and around the world.”

“Community partnerships are essential to the success of our BAM South development,” said David Lombino, Director of Special Projects at Two Trees Management Company.  “Investing in green infrastructure that will help our building stand the test of time is an obvious answer to how we can support the growth of Brooklyn’s Cultural District for decades to come.”

2014 was the fourth year of the Green Infrastructure Grant Program.  In total, DEP has committed over $13.2 million in funding to 33 different partners, who in turn have contributed $6.4 million in matching funds.  Notable completed projects include a 43,400 square foot roof top farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and a series of permeable pavers and rain gardens at the Queens College campus.  Preference for grant funding is given to applicants that can provide cost-effective stormwater controls, matching funds or other in-kind contributions, and other community benefits such as increased shade, decreased energy use for cooling buildings, increased awareness about stormwater management and water quality, and opportunities for workforce development and/or community stewardship. 

The 2014 Green Infrastructure Grant winners are:

Gowanus Arts Rooftop Farm – Park Slope/Gowanus, Brooklyn
The Gowanus Arts Building is a three story former soap factory with a 6,000 square foot roof area.  The building is owned by a small partnership of individuals committed to promoting arts in the neighborhood.  This project will consist of a large green roof installation including vegetable gardens, as well as significant areas of riverstone blue roof to retain and slow the flow of stormwater from the roof.  The vegetable gardens will be used and enjoyed by the building tenants, most notably Spoke the Hub, which has a children's nutrition, healthy eating and cooking program.  The project will manage 6,000 square feet of impervious area and over 9,300 gallons of stormwater during each storm.  It is located within the Gowanus Canal watershed.

Madani Halal Rooftop Farm – Ozone Park, Queens
Madani Halal is an industrial abattoir and meat processing facility located in Ozone Park, Queens.  The proposed project will involve the installation of  intensive green roof vegetable gardens on two of the property’s roofs.  The green roofs will manage 6,400 square feet of impervious area and almost 9,000 gallons of stormwater.  It is located within the Jamaica Bay watershed.

Montefiore Moses Campus – Norwood, Bronx
Montefiore’s green roof project will be constructed atop a parking garage that is located adjacent to a 28-story residential building currently utilized to house Montefiore’s Residents/House Staff.   The design includes both extensive and intensive green roof systems that will be accessible to residents.  The extensive areas will be provided in a pre-planted unitized tray system. The intensive areas will be comprised of custom fabricated planters with integrated seating.  As the largest provider of healthcare in the Bronx, Montefiore is committed to treating their patients and community holistically.  The project is located within the East River watershed and will manage 24,000 square feet of impervious area and over 15,000 gallons of stormwater.

Paradise on Earth Community Garden – Morrisania/Melrose, Bronx
The New York Restoration Project’s (NYRP) Paradise on Earth Community Garden is located within the East River watershed and is comprised of three abutting lots totaling approximately 10,807 square feet.  The garden renovation will include retrofitting existing features into permeable paving and rain gardens/vegetated swales.  NYRP’s goals for the garden renovation include facilitating environmental education, supporting urban agriculture, providing a green oasis for the community, hosting local artist and cultural events, in addition to filtering and reducing stormwater flows.  The project will manage over 6,500 square feet of impervious area and approximately 15,000 gallons of stormwater.

Salmar Building Roof Meadow – Sunset Park, Brooklyn
The Salmar Building is a privately-owned mixed commercial/industrial building wedged between 3rd avenue and the NY Harbor waterfront.  The project is located within the Gowanus Canal watershed and consists of the installation of a semi-intensive green roof, with 5.5" deep green roof media spread across a total area of 61,050 square feet.  The meadow plant mix will be varied to ensure longevity and sustainability, and plants that grow best on the roof will be allowed to flourish as others die back.  The featured plant on the roof will be native blue lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus), which is a common northeastern alpine perennial flower that is known to flourish in harsh climates with mediocre soils.  The lupine flower is also known to attract the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.  The project will manage 150,000 square feet, or almost 3.5 acres, of impervious area and 105,000 gallons of stormwater.

BAM South – Ft. Greene/Downtown, Brooklyn 
BAM South is a new construction project, developed by DUMBO-based Two Trees Management, that will incorporate a green roof on the 3rd floor roof.  The project consists of an extensive green roof system. This space will not be directly accessible to residents or visitors but will be visible from a public lobby and the residential units above. Due to the inaccessible nature of the space, the project will be cultivated as a habitat node for pollinators.  The project will manage 15,500 square feet of impervious area and manage over 9,500 gallons of stormwater within the East River watershed.

New York City, like many older urban communities, is largely serviced by a combined sewer system where stormwater that falls on roofs, streets and sidewalks, and wastewater from homes and businesses are carried through a single sewer line to treatment plants.  The city’s 14 treatment plants can manage and treat to federal Clean Water Act standards all the wastewater created in New York City on a dry weather day, or about 1.3 billion gallons on average.  On a rainy day they have the capacity to clean more than twice the dry weather flows.  However, during intense precipitation events, the stormwater that falls on the city’s impervious surfaces exceeds that capacity and overflows can be discharged into local waterways.  If the overflows were not discharged, the City’s treatment plants would be flooded and severely damaged and wastewater could backup into homes and businesses. 

Over the last decade DEP has invested more than $10 billion in upgrades to wastewater treatment plants and related efforts to reduce combined sewer overflows and testing confirms that the water in New York Harbor is cleaner today than it has been in more than a century.  However, overflows remain the city’s primary harbor water quality challenge.  In 2010, the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan was launched.  An alternative approach to improving harbor water quality, it combines traditional infrastructure projects and the integration of green infrastructure to capture and retain stormwater runoff before it can ever enter the sewer system and contribute to overflows.  The Plan has the ambitious goal of capturing the first inch of rain that falls on 10 percent of the city’s impervious surfaces in combined sewer areas.  Over the next 15 years, DEP is planning for $1.5 billion in public funding, and another $900 million in funding connected to new development or redevelopment, for targeted green infrastructure installations, as well as approximately $2.9 billion in cost-effective grey infrastructure upgrades, to significantly reduce overflows and further improve the health of local waterways. 

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.  This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

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