Restoration funds: $11.5 million.
Trustees will restore wetlands oiled during the spill and replace injured natural resources in the New York/New
Jersey harbor. Efforts to date have focused on restoring marshes that were
impacted by the oil spill and acquiring wetlands and other critical habitats in
the New York City metropolitan area. The marsh restoration project is
considered ground breaking because the hand-planted native marsh grasses are
rehabilitating and flourishing in the oiled shoreline.
Restoration activities are complimented by a comprehensive monitoring program and a volunteer labor and education
component. The extensive volunteer effort represents a significant savings in
labor costs and allows concerned members of the public to participate in a
"hands-on" effort to speed recovery. The trustees have worked closely
with their advisory committee, comprised of the Safe Harbor Coalition and Exxon
Corporation, to ensure public input in their decision-making. A comprehensive
restoration plan for the NY/NJ Harbor has been developed and guides the Bayway
restoration and projects in the harbor funded by other natural resource damage
Approximately six acres of intertidal salt marsh along the Arthur Kill
shoreline have been restored over the last five years by the New York City
Parks Department's Natural Resources Group. Approximately 250,000 seedlings of Spartina
alterniflora were planted in three different locations (Old Place
Creek, Saw Mill Creek, and Pralls Island). Additional plantings will occur over
the next two years. A comprehensive monitoring program has been ongoing;
measuring vegetative and sedimentary characteristics of the restored marshes
and fish, invertebrate, and bird use of restored and unimpacted marshes.
The trustees have purchased over thirty acres of land in the Goethals Bridge
Pond complex on Staten Island. The acquired lands, which were exposed to oil
during the spill, are a mixture of upland forested habitats and freshwater,
brackish, and salt marsh environments. These lands serve as a buffer to
Goethals Bridge Pond, a brackish water pond that is a critical feeding habitat
for wading birds. The pond and associated wetlands are part of the "Harbor
Herons" complex on the northwest corner of Staten Island, an important
habitat for colonial wading birds such as herons, egrets, and ibises that feed
on the abundant aquatic fauna of the area.
In early 1998, the trustees completed the acquisition of 25 acres of freshwater
wetlands and upland forest habitat in Edison, NJ, at the headwaters of the
Rahway River, a tributary of the Arthur Kill.
The trustees are planning the design of a 25-acre, $1 million wetland
restoration project on the Woodbridge River, a tributary of the Arthur Kill in
Woodbridge, NJ. The 25-acre site is a diked Phragmites wetland that has
been cut off from tidal flow. The project will involve removal of portions of
the dike and the creation of tidal channels throughout the wetland to restore
natural tidal flow. Restoring the natural ebb and flow of the tide should
convert the wetland to a Spartina marsh and provide habitat for
estuarine fish and shellfish species injured by the oil spill.