Bioswales! Say it out loud a few times! It's not just that it's a really fun word to say—they're totally awesome, and the city is getting around 2,000 more of them.
A bioswale is a curbside garden built to absorb storm water, and it's one of the measures the city is taking to help adapt to the more intense storms we can expect to enjoy thanks to global warming. Smoke a blunt and watch this video, which seems like it might have been shot by a drunk intern:
The bioswales, which will be dispersed throughout Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, will capture an estimated 200 million gallons of storm water each year, and will therefore keep down pollution in the Bronx River, Flushing Bay, Gowanus Canal, Jamaica Bay and Newtown Creek. The city currently only has around 255 bioswales, so the increase will be substantial.
“Bioswales are more than just a community beautification tool; they significantly improve our stormwater management while cleaning our environment," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in a statement. "Some of our most important and at-risk waterways, including the Gowanus Canal, Jamaica Bay and Newtown Creek, will benefit from this effort, which is helping us become a more sustainable and resilient borough.”
Wet weather tends to present a challenge to the city's aging sewer systems, and large quantities of rain sends gross runoff into the waterways, many of which are already filled with more than their share of pollutants and dead bodies. The bioswales are expected to ease that burden considerably.
The DEP worked with various other city agencies to develop designs for the bioswales, which will be filled with "hardy plants." They'll be built in neighborhoods serviced by combined sewers, and most importantly, they will have no impact on parking.
DEP has committed $11 million to fund 29 projects, a sum that has been matched by $5.6 million in private funds.