City finishes $700,000 wetlands restoration project at Hook Creek Park in Rosedale

Hook Creek Park restoration
NYC Parks wrapped up a $700,000 wetlands restoration project at Hook Creek Park in Rosedale.
Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The city has completed a $700,000 restoration project at Hook Creek Park in southeast Queens.

NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue joined officials from the Department of Environmental Protection, National Audubon Society, members of Community Board 13, and Eastern Queens Alliance President Barbara Brown at the park in Rosedale on May 11 to celebrate the completion of the project and help plant the last of the native plants being added to the marsh.

NYC Parks wrapped up a $700,000 wetlands restoration project at Hook Creek Park in Rosedale.Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

“Our wetlands are of vital importance to our city, and their protection and restoration is a crucial part of our efforts to make our city resilient in the face of climate change,” Donoghue said. “Through this important work, the wetlands in Hook Creek Park have been thoughtfully restored to preserve the saltmarsh for the benefit of southeast Queens for decades to come.”

NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue delivered remarks on May 11.Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The project replenished sand, installed temporary guards and added native plants to restore breeding habitats in the wetlands adjoining JFK Airport.

“Protecting and expanding the salt marshes and wetlands that surround New York City are critical to our efforts to protect the five boroughs from rising sea levels as well as improving the health of our waterways,” said NYC Chief Climate Officer and DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “Thanks to our partners at NYC Parks for doing terrific work to utilize marshes and wetlands at many of their properties and to include robust public engagement so that all New Yorkers can join in these important efforts.”

Hook Creek Park has been restored to preserve salt marsh from sea level rise and provide new habitat for breeding birds. Hook Creek Park was identified as one of the critical sites for restoration in order to preserve salt marshes.

“As climate change continues to leave its damaging and deadly mark on Queens, efforts like restoring our wetlands to guard against sea level rise and protect animal species who call them home have never been more critical,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Hook Creek Park is a key piece of our borough’s natural infrastructure and I commend all our state, city, and community partners for their dedication in preserving and protecting this beautiful and vital space.”

The first phase of the restoration project consisted of a first-ever pilot project, using equipment to shoot sand from the hard non-marsh surface into the wetlands. The second phase of the project added native plants to the marsh to restore breeding bird habitat in the salt marsh.

“Community members in my district know how important resiliency is for the health and wealth of our neighborhoods,” Councilwoman Selvena N. Brooks-Powers said. “Projects like the restoration of Hook Creek Park’s wetlands help preserve natural habitats and help ensure long-term community sustainability.”

The Hook Creek Wetlands Restoration project was made possible with $500k from the NYS Department of State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, $125k from NYC DEP and $100k from Audubon New York.

“Audubon was thrilled to support the revitalization of habitat at Hook Creek Park. Because healthy salt marshes can protect our communities from storm impacts, improve air and water quality, and reduce flooding, it is essential that we build resilience across key coastal areas,” Audubon New York Senior Manager for Coastal Resilience Phoebe Clark said. “Keeping Idlewild healthy is also vital for wildlife, like the rapidly-declining Saltmarsh Sparrow. This bird will benefit from the restoration as it struggles to keep up with sea level rise, and our hope is that Hook Creek Park will become a valuable nesting habitat.”