NYC Green Infrastructure Tour at ReLeaf

GI Tour Dan Lambe
Maria Corporan is Gardener/Supervisor for NYC DEP Queens green infrastructure maintenance crews. She discussed the success of different plant species for NYC rain gardens, experimentation with new plants, and how maintenance needs change through the seasons. Photo by Dan Lambe

New York City’s Green Infrastructure Program is a multi-agency effort led by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP and agency partners like NYC Parks design, construct, and maintain a variety of sustainable green infrastructure features such as green roofs and rain gardens on City-owned property such as streets, sidewalks, schools, and public housing. You can see a video about NYC green infrastructure here.

NYCDEP bioswale Karen Emmerich
DEP rain garden in Queens–planted with blue flag irises, swamp rose mallows, and ‘Knockout’ roses–efficiently soaks up stormwater after a rain fall. Photo by Karen Emmerich
How NYC curbside rain gardens are constructed
How NYC curbside rain gardens are constructed and function.

Green infrastructure promotes the natural movement of water by collecting and managing stormwater runoff from streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and rooftops and directing it to engineered systems that typically feature soils, stones, and vegetation. This process prevents stormwater runoff from entering the City’s sewer systems.

GI Tour Retrofit bioretention permeable paveers Dan Lambe
The tour explored permeable pavers and other retrofitted bioretention features on the Queens College Campus. Photo by Dan Lambe

DEP is currently building green infrastructure in compliance with NYSDEC requirements to reduce combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharges into New York City’s waterbodies. DEP is also exploring the use of green infrastructure to reduce polluted runoff from reaching waterbodies through the separate storm sewer system. In addition to the benefits to water quality, green infrastructure also beautifies City streets and neighborhoods while improving air quality.

tourgoers head to GI tour by Zachary Youngerman
The rain eased up just as the green infrastructure tour got underway. Photo by Zachary Youngerman

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