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Green-Wood Cemetery upgrades infrastructure with stormwater resiliency

Stormwater Resiliency Project emboldens the cemetery as a strategic anti-flood tool that helps dissipate water brought by storms

October 13, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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GREENWOOD HEIGHTS —  On Thursday, Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation announced that the construction of large-scale improvements to the cemetery’s stormwater and runoff infrastructure will be completed by 2024.

The project is the first cooperative product of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s NYC Partners program, designed to engage private property owners in the five boroughs to adopt green property maintenance practices and stormwater management. Green-Wood will receive a $600,000 grant from DEP.

“The dramatic effects of climate change have reached all corners of the globe, and Brooklyn is no exception,” Richard Moylan, President at The Green-Wood Cemetery said.

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“Weather events like Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Isaias, and other major rainfalls are happening on a regular basis, and urban institutions will all have to do their part to mitigate their consequences. This initiative affirms Green-Wood’s commitment to the urban environment and combating climate change, and its impact on our city’s waterways and the water quality of its surrounding neighborhoods will be substantial. As one of the largest bioretention projects in New York City, this project will also serve as an example for public and private urban institutions across our country.”

The 478-acre park will be fitted with a variety of ‘stormwater practices’ such as a pond with smart sensors and bioretention basins, subsurface storage and a new rainwater harvesting system will manage an estimated 51 million gallons of runoff annually. The system will allow the cemetery to control and decrease the amount of water for use of irrigation in the various scenic gardens, as well as reduce local flooding and pollution discharge into New York harbor.

“We have already built more than 11,000 green infrastructure installations, mostly on public property, across the city to soak up stormwater, but in order to make New York City resilient to the severity of storms that climate change is creating, we require better management of the stormwater that falls on private property,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala said.

“This is why we’re so pleased to join forces with New York State, The Nature Conservancy and The Green-Wood Cemetery on this innovative green infrastructure project on private property that will manage enough water to fill more than 77 Olympic-sized swimming pools!”

At first, Green-Wood partnered with URBANSEA to secure state funding for the upgrades. The Nature Conservancy also joined to provide technical consulting and coordination of funding. Brightstorm, an initiative of The Nature Conservancy, will implement the project on behalf of Green-Wood. The procurement process for designs of the project will commence next month.

“More than 90 percent of all urban and suburban lands in the U.S. are privately held, making partnerships with private landowners—like Green-Wood—critical to meeting community water management goals,” said Craig Holland, Senior Director of Investments at The Nature Conservancy.

“The Nature Conservancy and Brightstorm are pleased to help facilitate public-private partnerships that are necessary to achieve success at scale.”


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