Restoration Plan Calls for New Riverfront Park Project Along the Lower Passaic River
August 4, 2021
On July 29, 2021, federal co-trustees, NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the Final Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (PDF, 83 pages) that calls for building a 5-acre park along the Lower Passaic River in East Newark, New Jersey.
The park is anticipated to include forest habitat, pollinator gardens, native grasslands, and wetlands, and public access features. The plan also calls for funding for operations and maintenance for the project for 30 years.
The planned park is in a historically underserved area that was impacted by the hazardous substance releases from various industrial facilities in the area. The trustees are encouraged by the environmental justice benefits that could come from the new park for the local communities where greenspace and public access to the waterfront are lacking.
The park will provides significant environmental and recreational benefits that are lacking in this dense urban area, including:
Meadow and wetland areas
An elevated walkway over water along the Passaic River
Trees and shrubs
Pervious recreational paths that also allow stormwater to flow through
Opportunity for future kayak and small boat launch
Design for the park is expected to take place in 2021 and construction is likely to begin in 2023. The selected early restoration project compensates for the injury to recreational use access to the area and it will be supported by one of the companies potentially responsible for some of the pollution there. The Lower Passaic River and Greater Newark Bay area has a history of industrial contamination. More than 70 facilities have released contaminants, including dioxins/furans, PAHs, PCBs, pesticides, and heavy metals.