Gowanus Canal Pilot Street-End Sponge Park™

Brooklyn, NY

Gowanus Canal Pilot Street-end Sponge Park™ will address harmful environmental exposure to the community by directly reducing the source of the current contamination, the storm runoff entering CSOs and direct runoff draining into Gowanus Canal through the Pilot Sponge Park™ system. Once implemented, the stormwater management system will manage approximately 75% of the runoff within the proposed catchment area on 2nd St. Improved water quality will decrease odor emanating from the contaminated water, sediment and visible effluent floatables on the canal. Added benefits with planted retention basins include increased pervious ground cover, promoting micro habitat, potential to reduce air pollution, creation of protected passive recreational space, and opportunities for public education regarding existing environmental harms and how they can be managed with passive remediation strategies.

The Pilot Sponge Park™ will provide much needed formal public space to the community. A new sidewalk will clearly delineate vehicular and pedestrian circulation creating a safer pedestrian zone for visitors. Benches and a large viewing area with views to the bioretention basin will enable visitors to comfortably spend time adjacent to the canal. The microhabitat created in the street-end will enhance diversity of flora and fauna returning to the canal and create an opportunity for the public to observe nature more safely.  The flexible program provides public spaces that showcase native plants within new waterfront zoning, adapts to site specific program needs, and adds accessible open space to underserved neighborhoods.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant, “Gowanus Canal Pilot Sponge Park™”, 2012


New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission New York & New Jersey Green Infrastructure Grant, “Gowanus Canal Pilot Sponge Park™”, 2010