Paerdegat to get cash infusion

Paerdegat Basin is about to be “stimulated” by the feds, city officials said last week.

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection announced the registration of a $15 million contract to restore 38 acres of wetlands and natural grasslands adjacent to the Paerdegat Basin combined sewer overflow facility, a project expected to create a stunning “ecology park” near the shores of Jamaica Bay.

The registration means contractor, Tully/Posillico Civil, can begin to mobilize, allowing the federal stimulus-funded project to get underway, according to the DEP.

“This investment will greatly improve the ecology of the Paerdegat Basin area,” DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway said in a statement after the Jan. 8 announcement. “When finished, the community will be able to enjoy a five-acre ‘ecology park’ teeming with native plant life,” he continued. “The combination of absorbing more stormwater and the creation of tidal wetlands will improve water quality in Paerdegat Basin. This is just one part of DEP’s larger commitment to improving water quality and ecology in Jamaica Bay.”

The project is funded through Clean Water State Revolving Funds, a program administered by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The plan calls for the reintroduction of local vegetation, restoration of the shoreline and construction of a large catch basin to prevent rainwater runoff and street litter from reaching the bay.

Five acres of parkland will become ecology park, offering public access to salt marshes and grassland area and include educational exhibits about coastal habitats.

Construction is expected to begin this spring and completed in January 2012, with public access in 2013.

The restoration complements the $357 million capital investment that the agency is making in building the Paerdegat Basin combined sewer overflow abatement project, which will store 50 million gallons of sewage overflows during storms. During rainstorms, stormwater surging into sewers triggers overflow events once sewers and treatment plants reach capacity. Combined sewage overflow tanks reduce the problem by storing the overflow until storms subside, allowing for release and treatment, the agency said.

The new park, at Bergen Avenue and the bay, will be near the new headquarters of Community Board 18, at Bergen Avenue and Avenue K. The board is expected to move into its new home some time in the summer. “It should be a beautiful area,” District Manager Dorothy Turano has predicted.