Jamaica Bay Borrow Pit Evaluation Project
Between 2000 and 2003 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) conducted a study of the potential for environmental restoration of underwater pits in Jamaica Bay using sediments dredged from the New York-New Jersey Harbor. The study stemmed from the 1999 Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) for the Port of New York and New Jersey. The DMMP identified the reclamation of borrow pits as a potential beneficial use of dredged sediment. Borrow pits are depressions on the bay floor that were once mined for fill material to create upland areas such as JFK International Airport.
The study looked at pits in Norton Basin and in Little Bay, two embayments in the southeast corner of Jamaica Bay. NYSDEC and USACOE examined the ecological conditions of these areas as a first step in evaluating the needs and opportunities to bring aquatic life back to these pit areas.
This Phase One study effort culminated in a series of findings and recommendations, which are presented in a formal Findings Statement. A Technical Evaluation Panel, comprised of experts from City, State, and Federal natural resource agencies, found that the pits in Little Bay are substantially impaired below approximately 25 feet, and that two pits in Norton Basin are impaired below a depth of approximately 30 feet. Depressed dissolved oxygen levels, low quality bottom sediments, and low numbers of benthic organisms are characteristics of these pits. Additionally, Little Bay was found to support almost no finfish. Based on the results of the study, the Panel recommended proceeding to an evaluation of alternatives for improving conditions in these pits. Each alternative would necessarily have to improve tidal circulation within the basins to improve water quality and sediment quality. Suggested options included recontouring the pits, improving the existing inlet, and establishing additional inlets.
The Findings Statement and the supporting study reports are available for review. An electronic version is available by clicking the links on the right. Hard copy and CD versions of the documents are also available for review at our Region 2 office (call 718-482-6464 to schedule an appointment), and at the Jamaica Bay Resources Library of the National Park Service (call 718-338-3501 to schedule an appointment).
More about Jamaica Bay Borrow Pit Evaluation Project :
- Jamaica Bay Borrow Pit Project Findings - Between 2000 and 2003, the New York District U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the NYSDEC conducted a series of ecological investigations of subaqueous borrow pits in Norton Basin and Little Bay.
- Jamaica Bay Borrow Pit Project Documents - These reports were reviewed by the Technical Evaluation Panel in development of the Findings Statement.