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NYC DEP Press Conference on Water Quality Basin at NYBG

Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland and New York Botanical Garden Chief Executive Officer Gregory Long today announced the completion of the first Bluebelt stormwater detention wetland in the Bronx. A recurrent flooding condition along Southern Boulevard has been alleviated through the construction of a stormwater wetland that both stores and treats the runoff. Implementing green infrastructure principles, the stormwater from Southern Boulevard is collected in newly installed catch basins and discharged into a wetland where the water is naturally filtered. The wetland, which is now a permanent feature at the Garden, was funded by DEP and cost approximately $500,000. The Bluebelt program preserves and optimizes natural drainage corridors including streams, ponds and lakes. Stormwater is directed to the wetlands where it is stored and naturally filtered. In addition, the Bluebelts provide important open spaces and diverse wildlife habitats. Over the last ten years DEP has built Bluebelts for approximately one third of Staten Island's land area. In the South Richmond and mid-Island areas, the City has purchased approximately 400 acres of wetland property for Bluebelts that provide drainage for 19 watersheds, covering about 14,000 acres. Expanding the use of Bluebelts to reduce flooding and improve the water quality of New York Harbor is one of the Operational goals outlined in Strategy 2011-2014, a far-reaching strategic plan that lays out 100 distinct initiatives to make DEP the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation. The plan is available on DEP's website at
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