New Creek is wetlands that had existed for centuries and will be restored as a new waterway. After many years of this land being used as an illegal landfill and residential and commercial development, it is going to become a man-made wetland, bringing the wetlands to the 21st Century with drainage, basins, and sewer infrastructure to help handle flooding from 2,200 acres of land surrounding the New Creek Bluebelt.

Settled by the Dutch, the branches of the land still retain their rural, small town roots, isolated houses, and open marshlands. New Creek was given its name around 1797 by the Dutch Village of Oude Dorpe, making it Europe's first permanent settlement on Staten Island. The name was created due to its exit points out to the ocean. Each branch had its own titled: Perine's Creek, Old Town Creek (also known as Pole Creek), Barton's Creek (also known as Seaver's Creek), and Barne's Creek. The DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) has simplified the names, now calling them West Branch, Main Channel, and the East Branch.

The marshlands of New Creek were used towards creating roads and homes, giving it centuries of residents that shaped and reshaped the landscape. Today, many of the branches of New Creek are hidden behind fences or submerged underground.

The New Creek has been an issue to surrounding communities. Floodings is a constant problem, especially as houses are being built out onto the marshlands, creating water build-up in the street in areas such as Grimsby Street in Midland Beach. While years of this problem are getting worse, residents are hopeful that the New Creek Bluebelt project will fix the floodwater.

The Main Channel of New creek begins in Grant City and Dongan Hills. In this area, the streets are lined with apartment buildings, strip malls, and ballfields, all built on the marshlands. The homes built along New Creek face Last Chance Pond, a New York City Park that hides the headwaters of the New Creek branch. The park will be the next project for the New Creek Bluebelt site.

The creek itself is dirty and filled with trash. The creek is not accessible to the public at the moment but the DEP are planning to have a walkway once the project is complete. This new waterway will beautify the wetlands in an extreme way.  

The first phases of this project began last year in West Branch, clearing out several sections of the water clogged with debris and silt. The waters in the West Branch were cleared of abandoned cars and illegal dumping and a new system will be able to hold basins, weirs, and culverts, all constructed to manage it. The water for West Branch is currently being routed through a narrow aboveground pathway.

A second construction site is on Olympia Avenue. This section is being built for a culvert that will route the New Creek under the roadway. Once this section is complete, it will contain weirs, walls, and culverts that will be lined with fieldstone to look like old walls from Staten Island Historic Farms. There will also be 31,500 wildflowers and plants planted, as well as 1,570 native shrubs and 195 trees.

The third construction site is located on Graham Boulevard. Timber piles are being driven into the soft and marshy soil to create a solid foundation. On the fourth construction site, which will be underway on the West Branch as well, will involve rerouting the creek through the large wetlands northeast of Graham Blvd. This is the Main Channel and West Branch will meet at New Creek. From here. it will flow out to the Atlantic Ocean.

When completed, the highly engineered and man-made waterway will resemble the land that existed years ago.


Posted by Anthony Licciardello on
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