The New York City Department of Environmental Protection announced that it will make $5 million available to community groups, property owners, and nonprofit organizations for green projects that “improve the health of local waterways and enhance community life.”

The Green Infrastructure Program, which is entering its fourth year, focuses primarily on projects that address storm water issues and help absorb rainwater that would otherwise contribute to combined sewer overflows into local waterways. This includes the design and construction of green and blue roofs, rain gardens, rain water harvesting or reuse systems, and permeable or porous surface installation.

This funding announcement comes at a time of renewed focus on the impacts of climate change on New York City infrastructure. As NYER has reported previously, climate change will likely cause New York to become a wetter city, subject to more frequent and intense rainfall—and thus, more overloaded sewers and water-related health risks.

“Investing in green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to improve the health of our local waterways, clean the air, green the landscape, increase shade and cool temperatures during the summer while also engaging all New Yorkers in the important work of protecting the environment,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd.

Grant Details

While all private property owners served by combined sewers in NYC are eligible for the Green Infrastructure Program, preference will be given to projects that are located in priority watersheds, are cost-effective, provide matching funds or other contributions, and “include ancillary environmental and community benefits such as increased shade, decreased energy use for cooling buildings, increased awareness about stormwater management, and green jobs development.”

The DEP will host three workshops to explain the eligibility requirements and guide users through the online application, which must be completed by November 13.  A fourth technical workshop will be held at DEP headquarters to provide support in computing stormwater calculations and to review conceptual ideas with DEP engineers prior to submitting an application.

October 16, 6:00-7:30PM
Bronx Courthouse – 265 East 161st Street

October 21, 6:00-7:30PM
High School for the Arts – Auditorium
345 Dean Street

October 22, 6:00-7:30PM
The Horticultural Society of New York
148 West 37th Street – 13th Floor

Queens (Technical Workshop)
October 28, 2:00-5:00PM
DEP Headquarters
59-17 Junction Boulevard – 3rd Floor Cafeteria

Notable Projects

Over the last three years, the DEP says it has committed more than $11 million to fund 29 different green infrastructure projects through this grant program, resulting in the retention of 13 million gallons of stormwater.

Some of the notable projects funded in past years include:

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Brooklyn Grange Photo credit: NYC DEP

Amount: $592,730
Location: 63 Flushing Avenue, Building No. 3, Brooklyn Navy Yard
Description: In partnership with Brooklyn Grange, the Brooklyn Navy Yard constructed a 40,000-square-foot commercial rooftop farm.  The rooftop farm manages over one million gallons of stormwater per year and reduces CSOs to the East River. The production of fresh local produce creates opportunities for urban agriculture jobs training and volunteerism, education and advocacy.

Osborne Association

Photo credit: NYC DEP

Amount: $288,000
Location: 809 Westchester Avenue, Longwood, Bronx
Description: Osborne Association’s project features an alternating blue roof and green roof system on its building in the Bronx. Green roofs are vegetated roof installations that can absorb rain water in the soil and plants. Blue roofs detain stormwater in trays to create temporary storage and gradual release of the stormwater. This project manages over 240,000 gallons of stormwater per year and reduces CSOs to the East River.

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House

Photo credit: Honest Buildings

Amount: $40,000
Location: 331 East 70th Street, Lenox Hill, Manhattan
Description: The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House built two rooftop gardens that manage up to 63,000 gallons of stormwater per year and provide its clients with fresh vegetables. The rooftop gardens capture rain water and reduce CSOs to the East River.