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Spring Creek South

Storm Resilience and Ecosystem Restoration Project

Project Summary

The Spring Creek South Storm Resilience and Ecosystem Restoration project will reduce the risk of storm damage and flooding in the Howard Beach neighborhood by creating a protective berm and restoring over 225 acres of wetland and coastal forest. By reshaping the landscape and adding nature-based resilience features, Spring Creek South will complement other storm resilience projects in the area to manage this region's vulnerability to coastal storms.

Spring Creek South Project aerial view

Site Description

Spring Creek South is located on the north shore of Jamaica Bay to the south of the Belt Parkway. The neighboring Howard Beach community of Queens, New York, was devastated during Superstorm Sandy with severe floods and damage to property and critical infrastructure. Prior to Superstorm Sandy, historical actions had profoundly degraded the salt marsh community and habitat at Spring Creek and left the site vulnerable to invasive species. Currently, the site is dominated by the common reed Phragmites australis, which poses a fire risk due to its quick growth and dense biomass. Spring Creek South is managed by the National Park Service and is part of Gateway National Recreation Area.


DEC has been awarded a grant from FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (link leaves DEC's website) for the restoration of Spring Creek South. These funds will be used to convert this area from its current conditions to a coastal storm resilience tool using green infrastructure and nature-based features, including salt marshes, wetlands, tidal inlets, and upland forest. The US Army Corps of Engineers is serving as project contractor, and with an architecture and engineering team, is developing the design for this project. This project is designed to complement other flood reduction projects in the Howard Beach and Jamaica Bay areas, and is consistent with the Gateway National Recreation Area General Management Plan. (link leaves DEC's website)

Healthy Salt Marsh

Restoration Benefits

This project will restore native habitat at Spring Creek South to reduce the risk from coastal storms by using green infrastructure and nature-based features to protect neighboring communities. Salt marsh consisting of Spartina alterniflora will stabilize sediment at the shoreline, while berms and coastal forests will provide flood protection and buffer habitat. These habitats will increase the ecological value of the site in addition to providing resilience benefits. Additionally, the removal of Phragmites australis will increase the ability for native vegetation to colonize the site, and reduce fire risk in the park.

Recent Updates

April 2016

  • Representatives from the project team attended the Community Board 10 meeting on April 7th, where they gave an update to the board and received community feedback.
  • DEC hosted a coordination meeting for city, state, and federal agencies to update relevant agencies on project progress and facilitate collaboration on upcoming project milestones.
  • Coordination for upcoming permitting and environmental assessment activities has begun. FEMA has been identified as lead agency for NEPA review.

March 2016

  • Soil sampling was completed in early March, and samples were sent to a laboratory for analysis.

February 2016

  • Soil sampling began on February 1 and is scheduled to continue for 5-6 weeks until mid-March. Samples will be collected to characterize the physical properties of the soil as well as to test for potential contamination from historical filling done on-site. This work will contribute to the refinement of proposed designs to ultimately develop a final site plan for the project.

Crews conducting soil samplingSoil sample undergoing visual analysis

December 2015

  • Spring Creek South project team attended the Community Board 10 meeting on 12/3 to collect community feedback on concept plans.

November 2015

  • Three concept plans have been developed and presented by the project team, and are available in the "Project Documents" section of this webpage.

October 2015

  • Wetland delineation and biological community surveys were conducted to categorize existing ecological conditions at Spring Creek South. This delineation will inform the development of the restoration design. Soil sampling is planned for January and February.
DEC Staff Conducting Wetland DelineationWetland Delineation Project Team
  • Staff from DEC and USACE attended the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association meeting to discuss upcoming work at Spring Creek South and answer community members' questions.

Project Documents

Spring Creek South Preliminary Concept Plans (PDF, 2.6 MB)
Spring Creek South Concept Plans Fact Sheet (PDF, 70 KB)
Spring Creek South Site Sampling and Characterization (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Spring Creek South FAQ's (PDF, 64 KB)

Contact Us

Project Manager: Lisa Baron, US Army Corps of Engineers
(917) 790-8306