The Tibbets Brook Revival: An Environmental Triumph in the Bronx
Much of New York City’s ecosystem has been paved, reconfigured and destroyed. But nature is still there, and sometimes, it tells us it’s best to live in harmony with it and truly “go with the flow.” For a time, water from Tibbetts Creek drained into the Harlem River, but for land development in the Bronx, it was placed underground and drained into the New York City sewer system. On days of heavy rain, the water from the creek combined with sewage exceeds the capacity of the city’s sewage treatment plant, and raw sewage is discharged into the Harlem River. One solution is to alter or “brighten” the creek so that, because its water is so clean, it can bypass the sewage system and discharge directly into the Harlem River. Van Cortlandt Park Alliance The website provides a detailed description of the problem:
“Tibbetts Brook is a body of water that flows from the Yonkers into the Bronx at Van Cortlandt Park. Part of this water currently flows in pipes below the road, while other parts are visible within Yonkers and Van Cortlandt Park. The creek terminates at Hester & Piero’s Mill Pond (formerly known as Van Cortlandt Lake) and enters the sewer system for unnecessary treatment. On dry days, 4 to 5 million gallons of water flow from the creek into the sewer system. When it rains, The combination of water from the creek and water from the sewer system can cause overflow problems in the sewer system; these are also known as Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) events… Tibbetts Brook is added unnecessarily to the sewer system [since it is not sewage], so environmentalists have been advocating for it to be removed from the sewer system and “lighted”. Daylighting water bodies is the process of moving water transferred to underground pipes above ground and adding components to enhance the space.
Community groups in the Bronx have been advocating the project since the 1990s, and last week the Adams administration removed the final hurdles to light the creek and extend the greenway around the new waterway.according to Gotham PieSecond Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky:
“The city will pay freight rail company CSX Transportation more than $11 million for the strip of disused rail that the “daytime” waterway will flow through, Announcement said. The project has been stalled for years while the two sides argue back and forth over the cost of the property…Tibbetts Brook, known as Mosholu of the Lenape people, once flowed freely through the Bronx and into the Harlem River. Over the centuries, parts of the waterway have been dammed, buried and diverted through the sewer system… Local advocates are also calling for the city to create a park along the newly lit creek bank, linking Putnam Greenway and Van Cortlandt special park. plan The City Parks and Conservation Department showcases paths residents can walk, run and bike, flanked by pocket wetlands and waterway features. “
The event that helped turn this green infrastructure dream into reality was the rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which hit New York City in September 2021. The city experienced an intense downpour that not only overloaded the sewage system with water, it also flooded the main Deegan highway, crippling car and truck traffic for hours.Report on the Tibbetts Proposal New York Times By the end of 2021, journalists Winnie Hugh and James Thomas observed:
“Tibbetts Brook Daylighting will be one of the city’s most ambitious green infrastructure projects. The creek will be re-routed for a mile above ground – including along a former railway line that will be turned into a new greenway – before passing through a The new dedicated pipeline is sent back a half mile underground to the Harlem River.”
The project’s $130 million price tag wasn’t the biggest problem with the launch. The problem is the price of the abandoned tracks owned by CSX Transportation. Due to the overwhelming logic of the plan, the Adams administration decided to pay CSX most of what they wanted, and I think the project would have fairly positive economic benefits even after accounting for the additional cost of land acquisition. CSX should be ashamed of holding the Bronx environment hostage, especially given these their website:
“CSX positively impacts the communities in which we operate by operating responsibly, creating economic opportunity and giving back. Each year, CSX provides millions of dollars in grants and in-kind donations to nonprofit organizations. We also provide employees with and their families with community service opportunities.”
They are proud to announce that they are on Newsweek’s “Most Responsible Companies List”.Yes they are responsible Billed New York City $11M for Abandoned Train Tracks.The company’s actions were detailed in a November filing Riverdale Press one by one Lucy McClendon.
On our warming planet, New York City is likely to see more extreme weather events. Due to the impervious nature of most surfaces in cities, more needs to be done to absorb, hold and divert water away from where flooding will do the most damage. Not only did Ida flood the Bronx, but in Queens, where a dozen people died in an illegally converted basement apartment, five inches of rain fell in an hour. The project is one of many efforts to develop green infrastructure projects that will strengthen New York City’s resilience to the damage caused by climate change.according to NYC EPA 2021 Green Infrastructure Report:
“In 2021, DEP submits inventory of construction assets 1,181 total green acres and 507 million gallons Yearly (MGY) CSO volume reduction of 1.5% green infrastructure adoption milestone certification.More than 9,100 assets built through more than 50 separate construction contracts have reached certification, demonstrating a significant effort to achieve the goal… As of early 2022, the program has committed more than $1.09 billion in capital funding since FY 2012 , and have Current budget is around $771 million Fiscal Year 2032. ”
The city’s Department of Transportation, Parks and Recreation and private developers are also working to reduce the amount of paved surfaces in the five boroughs. These projects reduce the risk of flooding but also add green space and carbon-absorbing plants that help mitigate climate change. They also provide park land to communities traditionally underserved by our park system. One of the goals of the Bloomberg-era sustainability plan was to ensure that every New Yorker lived within a ten-minute walk of a park.according to public land trust:
“New York City is home to some of the most iconic parks in the world. From NYC’s Central Park to the federal government’s Gateway National Recreation Area—and every neighborhood park in between—home to 99 percent of New Yorkers Public green spaces within a 10-minute walk. Residents visit parks more than 527 million times a year…”
While no one would confuse New York City with an urban eco-utopia, 21Yingshi Century has made great strides in understanding the importance of increasing green spaces and utilizing ecosystem services in New York City. Mayor Adams is addressing enormous fiscal challenges, from the post-pandemic economic recovery to the cost of absorbing thousands of immigrants. In this environment, however, he somehow managed to provide the funding needed to get the Tibbettsbrook project back on track. It will keep our water cleaner and provide a new mile-long green space in the South Bronx. Thirty years of advocacy by the Bronx community-based environmental and parks group has brought about this wonderful victory for people and the planet. Mayor Adams deserves credit for deciding to make this investment in the Bronx and its bright future.