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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXVI, Number 5454
Tuesday, Jul 19, 2011

Oakland Lake Bluebelt Project Completed

Last week, Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced the completion of a $2.5 million capital improvement project to restore the 46-acre Oakland Lake Park in Bayside, Queens.

The multi-phase restoration, which is the first project in DEP's newly expanded Bluebelt program in Queens, includes restoration and repair of the park’s perimeters, lake shoreline, ravines and side slopes, the planting of thousands of new trees, new recreational opportunities, and the installation of storm sewers in the streets near the park to better control stormwater runoff and avoid erosion. The restoration will restore the ecological health of Oakland Lake Park, which has endured many years of stormwater runoff that has caused erosion and significant sediment and debris build up. Improving the water quality of the lake will bring new species and enhance the environment for birds, fish and plants, and offers enhanced opportunities for recreational users to more fully enjoy water activities such as fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

The improvement of Oakland Lake Park includes five sites that were in need of a major restoration after years of erosion. At all sites, DEP has re-directed stormwater from peripheral streets that flowed untreated into the park and Oakland Lake. Runoff caused damage and erosion to the park’s ravines and the lake’s water quality. Now, the stormwater from the street overflows is captured by catch basins or by two newly constructed rain gardens. The project includes numerous retrofitted peripheral catch basins with curb pieces, the installation of new French drains and new, higher curbs, all to better intercept street storm flows. The project also included the removal of accumulated debris from four ravines. The ravines were then re-contoured, stabilized, and re-vegetated with trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and ferns. The new vegetation will serve to stabilize surface soils, and prevent them from eroding and being transported to the lake.

The Oakland Lake Park restoration also includes the installment of three paved fishing pads and canoe launches with boulder seating along the lake’s shoreline. The fishing pad installations will improve access to the water. The new railing will reduce trampling of the shoreline and reduce soil compaction and erosion. The restoration will allow public access to the shoreline. The improvement project for Oakland Lake Park is the first Bluebelt project built in Queens to channel stormwater as part of the stormwater runoff control plan that DEP has put in place to help avoid Combine Sewer Overflows into New York Harbor. This project was built in conjunction with Alley Creek CSO Facility, the five-million gallon CSO-retention facility that captures and stores combined stormwater and wastewater that previously was discharged into Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay during heavy rainfall.

Oakland Lake and Ravine is a 15,000-year-old spring-fed glacial kettle pond located in Alley Pond Park. Glacial boulders bank the 13 acres of Oakland Lake. The formation of wetlands can be traced back to the most recent ice age. A massive ice sheet called the Wisconsin Glacier advanced on New York City 75,000 years ago, pushing rock, soil, and boulders ahead. When the ice melted 17,000 years ago, water flowed to the sea, creating streams and rivers that carved through rock. Oakland Lake is home to fish, including bluegill carp, perch, and bass. The natural diversity of the area also attracts birds, such as cardinals, dark-eyed juncos, mallards and scaup ducks, in addition to thousands of migratory birds. For more information, please visit

The award-winning Bluebelt program provides ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management, and preserves natural drainage corridors, including streams, ponds, lakes, and other wetland areas. Preservation of these wetland systems allows them to perform their functions of conveying, storing, and filtering stormwater. In addition, Bluebelt systems provide important community open spaces and diverse wildlife habitats.


“Life itself is a quotation.”

Jorge Luis Borges
(1899 – 1986)

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