Flushing Meadows Lakes and Wetland Restoration

Gaia Technologies (formerly The Gaia Institute) recently released its ecologically engineered design of the 2,000-meter rowing course to the 2012 Olympic Proposal Committee. Presently, the Twin Lakes of Flushing Meadows are subject to severe anthropogenic eutrophication and are unable to sustain any sort of biodiversity. Application of this proposed design would create an ecologically sustainable habitat that would support native plant species, migratory birds, and aquatic life within four times the present wetland area.

•The area is ringed by roadways that discharge pollutants into the lakes and cause significant habitat disruption.

•Large quantities of stormwater are diverted out of the watershed, reducing the flow of the “life’s blood” of all natural systems. Less water flowing in means a reduced flushing rate in terms of throughput, as well as less water to support plant communities.

•High nutrient content in the underlying sediments from the historic salt marsh is compounded in Meadow Lake by the grassy water’s edge, which attracts geese that deposit droppings, adding yet more nutrients to the water.

Water and air quality may be enhanced around Flushing Meadows by increasing the structural diversity, area, and mass of natural systems that come into contact with the water and air in this watershed. Therefore, three steps towards the enhancement of ecosystem services are possible: structural diversity, filter area, hydroperiod.

Top Photo: View of Meadow and Willow Lakes in their highly eutrophied state today (2004)

Bottom Photo: Rendering of ecologically restored Twin Lakes, Flushing Meadows Park, and 2,000 meter Olympic rowing course