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Sponge Park: Ecosystem-Based Adaptation

Source: Ángel Franco/The New York Times

Source: Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new park in New York City provides a great example of ecosystem-based adaptation as non-structural flood mitigation.

From The New York Times: 

“Aptly called Sponge Park, the 2,100-square-foot plot will, when it opens next spring, intercept thousands of gallons of storm water, along with pollutants like heavy metals and dog waste, before they can enter the canal. The park’s absorbent qualities come from flood-tolerant plantings like asters, Rosa rugosa and sedge grass, as well as a network of sand beds and soils designed to hold water.

“The park is part of a larger effort in New York City and urban areas across the country to prevent polluted storm water from flowing directly into rivers or overloading sewage treatment plants. With combined storm-sewer systems like New York’s, in which one set of pipes handles both sewage and storm water, even moderate rainfall can overwhelm treatment plants, causing raw sewage to spew into waterways.

“Each year across the city, nearly 30 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted storm water are discharged from hundreds of pipes into local waterways when sewage plants are overwhelmed. Such overflows can occur up to 75 times a year, according to the environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, and are the most serious challenge to water quality in the New York area, preventing rivers and bays from meeting federal standards for swimming, fishing and wildlife habitats.”

Read more from the article here. 

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