EDC announced the completed restoration of 54 acres of wetlands in Staten Island. On October 8, 2019, the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced the completed restoration of damaged coastline of 54 acres of wetlands in Staten Island.
At one time in Staten Island’s history, the Saw Mill Creek area was a resource to the Lenape Native Americans as well as to entrepreneurial colonists. You can read more about the history of Saw Mill Creek . The Saw Mill Creek watershed has suffered severe damage from years of dumping and after the trauma of Hurricane Sandy in 2017, the EDC took action to restore more than 40,000 cubic yards of tidal wetlands, marshlands and mudflats in the Saw Mill Creek area. The project created a net increase of 24 acres of wetlands by removing debris and contaminated sediments to improve water quality and natural habitats.
To accomplish this restoration, the EDC used a first-of-its kind plan called a Mitigation Bank Program. Mitigation banking is a mechanism that provides compensatory mitigation through the sale of credits to applicants in the waterfront permitting process. This program provides the opportunity to use public-private financing to fund large-scale restoration of wetlands while fostering ecologically responsible waterfront construction. The goal is to ensure that the restoration project minimized environmental impact while streamlining restoration.
Project sponsors across multiple sites may buy credits from an approved bank and support the restoration of a larger piece of land to further maritime businesses and coastal resiliency rather than seeking regulatory approval for individual, smaller mitigation projects. Credits generated through the Saw Mill Creek pilot program have been made available to public and private developers of waterfront properties in Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx and portions of the Brooklyn/Queens waterfront. EDC will continue to accept applications to purchase whole or fractions of credits from the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation bank through August 25, 2021.
Interested parties can apply through the Saw Mill Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank RFP.
By: Abby Cannon (Abby is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2020).