The MARSHES Initiative

  • Current conditions at Saw Mill Creek Marsh on Staten Island
  • Rendering of Restored Saw Mill Creek Marsh on Staten Island
Last Updated June 30, 2017

The City’s first wetland mitigation bank to help clean up and restore the Saw Mill Creek Marsh on Staten Island. 

Project Overview

Mitigation and Restoration Strategies for Habitat and Ecological Sustainability (MARSHES) is a vital initiative that will help restore and protect New York City’s valuable wetlands.

The Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank on the West Shore of Staten Island is the first MARSHES initiatives were a degraded wetland will being re-established and restored into a high functioning restored natural ecosystem. The Saw Mill Creek wetland complex is city-owned. Over last century, before the site came under City ownership, it suffered from illegal dumping and filling of tidal wetland channels.

While parts of the Saw Mill Creek habitat complex have been restored by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, there remain substantial areas where tidal flow in the marsh ecosystem remains obstructed, resulting in substantial areas of the site being overrun by invasive weeds. These conditions impede a healthy ecosystem and limit the types of fish, birds, and mammals that inhabit the area. 

NYCEDC is piloting the implementation of the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank as the first New York State and Federally approved wetland mitigation banking in New York City. Mitigation banking is a nationally proven model for balancing economic initiatives with wetlands restoration. In addition to environmental uplift to a degraded environment, the bank creates mitigation "credits" to be used to offset unavoidable in-water construction impacts.

In the coming months, credits will be available for permittees requiring wetland mitigation offsets specified by State and Federal environmental permits.

Project Partners

  • New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • Mayor’s Office
  • Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Department of Environmental Protection
  • Department of City Planning

Project Highlights

  • April 2017 the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank received it Army Corps of Engineers Section 10 and Section 404 permits
  • Spring 2016 the Mitigation Banking Instrument was approved by New Yorks State Department of State and Environmental Conservation and by the Army Corps of Engineers 
  • September 2015 the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank received  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Tidal Wetlands, Excavation and Fill, Water Quality Certificate, and Freshwater Wetlands permits

About Mitigation Banking

  • The Saw Mill Creek Pilot will leverage public and private economic investment to fund healthier wetlands.
  • Nationally, over 960,000 acres have been restored and preserved through 1,000 similar projects in 28 states.
  • The National Research Council, the Society of Wetland Scientists, and the Environmental Law Institute endorse this method as the most successful approach to offset unavoidable wetlands losses.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prioritize this approach over existing methods.

Contact

For more information, email MARSHES@edc.nyc, view the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank Mitigation Banking Instrument or the Saw Mill Creek Pilot’s prospectus.