Under cloudy skies on a rain soaked October 16th, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Soundview Park in the Bronx, New York City celebrating the completion of a $9 million Marsh Ecosystem Restoration Project that was made possible through a cost sharing partnership of federal, state and local agencies.
The rainy weather seemed fitting for a project that contributes to improved water quality by increasing the area of functional salt marsh. The 205-acre park is located in the south central section of the borough that lines a one and one half mile area along the Bronx River. The site was previously used as a landfill that originally consisted of salt marsh, open water, upland meadows and oak-hickory forests.
The project returned some of the park’s lost marshland and created an upland meadow and forest and will provide a healthy ecosystem for wildlife to flourish.
The Corps began construction in 2011, in collaboration with New York City Parks. The project restored aquatic ecosystem resources and adjacent upland habitat in southern Southview Park. This contributes to improved water quality by increasing the area of functional salt marsh that removes nutrients from the water column, traps sediment, and provides habitat for wetland dependent fish and wildlife.
At the opening ceremony, dignitaries assembled under a canopy tent dodging the rain. Bronx Borough Commissioner Hector Aponte made the keynote address followed by brief remarks by Mitchell Silver, FAICP Parks Commissioner; Col. Paul Owen, Army Corps' New York District Commander; Cesar Perales, New York Secretary of State; Aurelia Greene, Deputy Bronx Borough President; New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein; New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz; New York State Assembly Member Marcos Crespo; and Senior Advisor to the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Marianna Koval.
At the podium Owen spoke about the project’s success which spun off a Bronx River Study, and about the agreement execution and the multiple agencies effectively working together and executing a project that is now a model for HRE, Jamaica Bay, and CAP efforts.
“The Corps of Engineers is proud to have worked with our many partners, and especially the local community, on this great ecosystem project in the Bronx,” said Owen.
Mark Lulka, Project Manager along with Corps representatives from the District's Operations and Engineering Divisions looked on as the ribbon cutting ceremony took place which signified the project coming through fruition.
Improving the ecosystem at Soundview Park will improve water quality and provide a habitat for birds and marine life such as egrets, osprey and great blue herrings, and mud snails, fiddler and horseshow crabs.