2013-08-09 / Community

RWA Floating Wetlands At Marina 59


RWA students construct “floating wetlands” from beverage racks, old soda bottles and other cast off items. RWA students construct “floating wetlands” from beverage racks, old soda bottles and other cast off items. The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA) summer youth program celebrated the completion and launch of their new floating wetlands project at the 59th Street Marina. A concept originally conceived by local architectartist duo Matteo Pinto and Carolina Cisneros, the “floatlands” offered RWA campers the opportunity to learn about the role, benefits, and composition of local salt marsh ecosystems.

The salt marshes that line Jamaica Bay are incredibly important natural resources because of the ecosystem services they provide. While birders enjoy the habitat that the marshes provide to local and migratory birds, wetlands also act as purifying agents, filtering toxins from the water and the surrounding environment. Maybe most importantly for the Rockaways, wetlands act as natural storm buffers, absorbing wave energy and stabilizing shorelines.


Testing the waters by setting the hand-made, manmade salt marshes afloat at the Beach 59th Street Marina. Testing the waters by setting the hand-made, manmade salt marshes afloat at the Beach 59th Street Marina. Except for the plants and soil, RWA’s floating wetlands were constructed almost entirely from rescued recyclable materials that would have been destined for a landfill.

RWA Program Manager Blaze Jones-Yellin commented, “We turned our garbage into greenery, environmental hazards into habitat.

We hope to do and see more hands-on science education that promotes our natural resources in the Rockaway community.”

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