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You are here: HomeCommitteesFlushing Bay Committee

Flushing Bay Committee

About the Flushing Bay Committee

Click photo for detailed,
interactive map of the bay.
Flushing Bay and LaGuardia Airport provide the northern border to community district 3. As a result of water pollution flowing into the bay and inadequate tidal flow, silting and odors mar the bay and its environment. Since the administration of President Nixon, it has been our nation's policy to clean the waters. And since that time local residents in East Elmhurst have sought remedies for Flushing Bay's problems.

The photo is of Flushing Bay as seen from 5,000 feet. Note the two freshwater feeder lakes to the south, part of the bay's ecosystem. The East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights neighborhoods border the bay to the south, with College Point and Flushing to the east. LaGuardia Airport is set on landfill in the southwest section of the bay.

The NYC Parks Department writeup on Flushing Meadows Corona Park, its lakes, the creek, and the bay is available here.

The Flushing Bay Committee's primary focus is restoring Flushing Bay to a healthy condition. The bay suffers from two problems: silting, which is shrinking the bay, and an odor that emits during low tide. The silting is thought to originate from poor water flow caused by various landfills, and the odor from sewerage discharges and catch basins which discharge methane gas.

The Flushing Bay Committee is an active participant on the Flushing Bay & Creek Stakeholder Team, a multi-agency entity seeking solutions to the bay's pollution problems. See its meeting reports here. Community Boards 3, 6, and 7 share governance responsibility for Flushing Bay & Creek.

Responsible Parties for Flushing Bay

A variety of city, state, federal, and quasi-governmental organizations are responsible for the condition of Flushing Bay. The Flushing Bay Task Force was created to coordinate the activities of these organizations.

Ground Water & Flushing Bay

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) published USGS Water Resources Investigations Report 98-4069 by Buxton and Smolensky in 1999. The report describes the projected increase in baseflow to Flushing Creek by 2020. (Baseflow is the portion of waterflow into the bay and creek that comes from groundwater and not surface runoff.) A general description of the publication is found here, and a direct link to the huge file, here.

The report presents a computer flow model describing the historic decrease in baseflow to Flushing Creek and all streams in western Long Island. They basically dried up due to the groundwater pumping for water supply in Brooklyn and Queens, that peaked in the 1980s.

Since then, the city has converted basically all of its water supply to the upstate reservoir system and the water table has been recovering. (See report, p.47.) The study projected this trend out to 2020, and used the model to calculate the resulting baseflow to Flushing Creek and other streams. (See Table 13, p.48) These data show a dip from pre-development flow into Flushing Creek of 21.5 ft3/s to 7.8 ft3/s in 1968-1983, and back up to 15.5 ft3/s by 2020. This calculation provides the basis for the predicted doubling in baseflow.

Beyond Flushing Bay, does this report provide insight into possible water problems in our community as the water table rises, e.g., flooding basements?

Members of the Committee

Community Board committee members are of two types: Board Members and Public Members. Board Members request committee assignments and are appointed to a committee by the Board’s Chair. Public Members are local residents with an interest in a committee’s work who have applied to the Board’s Chair requesting membership. The Committee's Chair is also a founding member of the Flushing Bay Task Force headed by Borough President.

The following are the members of Queens Community Board 3’s Flushing Bay Committee.

Board Members
  • Renetta English, Ex-Officio
  • Ann Brown
  • Vivian Dock
  • Margaret Dozier
  • Larinda Hooks
  • Kevin Hughes-Noboa
  • Nabaraj KC
  • Edward Kiernan
  • Stephen Kulhanek
  • Marta E. Lebreton
  • William Meehan
  • Lisa Mesulam
  • Richard Mullings
  • Dr. Laverne Nimmons
  • Ladisla Perez
  • Leoncio Romero
  • David Rosero
  • Jimmy Smith
  • Marlene Tapper
  • Shanel Thomas
  • Pat Thorpe
  • Hamlett Wallace
  • Edwin Westley
Public Members
  • Thomas Lowenhaupt

Links to Waterfont Websites

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance
The Sewerage Treatment Process
A Multifaceted Policy
Green roofs that reduce runoff.
Gaia Institute (Green roof experts)
Sink food disposals and bay pollution
NRDC Report: Green Roofs to Rivers
Learn to sail in Flushing Bay
Congressmember Ackerman Comments

The above links will take you to websites providing information that will assist residetns understand issues related to Flushing Bay. These websites are maintained by others and, while they offered substance on the date posted, are not guaranteed to do so today.

Silting in Flushing Bay & Creek

The below photos were taken on April 1, 2006. They show the siltation that has taken place near the Promenade. In the background are College Point and LaGuardia Airport.

New Bay Signage

Mysterious New Sign in Flushing Bay
This is one of three signs placed in Flushing Bay during 2006. They state "Security" but might as well have said "Safety" as the bay's depth in this area is significantly diminished due to silting.

Concern has been expressed that the signs, and the posts supporting them, will further contribute to the silting.

The sensitivity of bay's ecology and the delicate nature of community-airport relations make it important that the provenance of all bay activities, such as these signs be clearly indicated. There is no indication on the signs as to the person or organization responsible for installing them.

Fishing in Flushing Bay

Enter fishing area via Ditmars Boulevard pedestrian bridge [A]
or parking lot [B]. Click map for more details.
Despite its problems, there are many good things about Flushing Bay: a tree-lined promenade, boating, and many pleasant fishing spots along the Flushing Bay Promenade, which stretches from LaGuardia Airport to Shea Stadium. Many choose to fish near the parking area adjacent to the World’s Fair Marina [B]. One angler reported catching a 25 pound striped bass in 2004. And in October 2005, a Community Board 3 member watched as good sized blue claw crabs were pulled out. (Asked about the quality of the food provided, they suggested that a moderate amount was not detrimental, and that the quality was improving all the time.)

Take the #7 train to Willets Point to get within 1/4 mile. If you’re arriving by car, entry is most easily achieved from Shea Stadium, driving west under the parkways. It’s a bit tricky and you’ll probably go in a circle a time or two on your first visit. But be persistent, it’s worth it.

There are also a good number of people fishing near the LaGuardia Airport end of the Promenade. It's easiest to use the pedestrian bridge on Ditmars Boulevard to access this spot. The 23 and 48 city buss routes will drops you off right at the corner of 27th Avenue and Ditmars. A 24 hour donut shop just opened at this end of the Promenade. NOTE: Fishing is BYOB - bring your own bait, no shops are nearby. For the best time to fish, you might want to check the Willets Point Tide Information.

Beyond fishing, the view of nature is bountiful. Much wildlife can be spotted here. The white swans are my favorite. In 2004 a young hooded seal was glimpsed at the Flushing Bay Marina. But there’s some people watching here too with bicycles, joggers, skaters, and strollers passing every few minutes. Numerous benches and 17 water fountains make this easy.

Depending upon the wind direction, you might see the jets coming and going from LaGuardia Airport. Interestingly, you’ll find jet noise providing an occasional low roar, with a consistent light roar from the adjacent Grand Central Parkway more bothersome – but bearable.

Flushing Bay also offers a history lesson. It’s here that Nathan Hale was captured on September 21, 1776 by Roger's Rangers (also known as the "Queens Rangers").

The one downside to the spot is a strong odor that sometimes presents itself at low tide. Caused by a poorly designed sewerage system and the "finger," a water calming feature built for the 1964 World's Fair, this problem has been a priority of Queens Community Board 3 for many years. Some progress will arrive with the opening of a new sewerage system in late 2006. But a lot more work needs to be done before the Bay returns to the way Nathan Hale experienced it. If you’d like to join the effort to clean the Bay, a good place to start is with the Community Board’s Flushing Bay Committee.

Fish Found in Fluhing Bay - 2001

From a 2007 NYC Department of Environmental report on the Flshhing Bay Watershed. Note: The table and report text do not match as the table was simplified to provide general information for prospective fishers.

"The fish community of Flushing Bay was sampled in July and August 2001, when bottom water DO concentrations are at their lowest, and in April and August 2002. Sampling was conducted with an otter trawl to catch bottom oriented species and a gill net suspended in the water column to capture pelagic species.

A total of 17 taxa and 837 individuals were collected from both Flushing Bay stations combined (14 taxa, 797 individuals from the south station; 3 taxa, 40 individuals from the north station; Table 4-11). Weakfish and Bluefish were the most abundant species at the south (FLSHF01) station in July and August 2001, respectively. Striped bass dominated the catch in April 2002 and weakfish and winter flounder were the most abundant species in August 2002.

The north station (FLSHF02) catch was dominated by weakfish in July 2001. No fish were caught in August 2001 and sampling was not conducted in 2002."

April through August 2001

Pier 3

How Long Will Pier Function?

CSO Facility & Related Projects

Fowler Avenue, Queens, N.Y.

The 43 million gallon (MG) Flushing Bay Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Retention Facility, currently under construction, will capture CSOs that currently discharge to Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay through CSO Outfall TI-010. TI-010, a 55 ft x 10 ft outfall sewer, currently contributes 60% of the CSO discharges to Flushing Creek and Bay, and 50% of the pollutant load.

The facility will improve water quality and increase dissolved oxygen in Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay. The facility has been designed to provide 100% capture of CSOs for up to a ½ inch (6-week) rainstorm. The annual number of CSO events will be reduced from 120 events to 8 events; the annual CSO capture will be approximately 800 MG.

The 43 MG storage volume will be provided by a 28.4 MG underground storage tank, and 15 MG of in-system CSO storage. The CSO storage tank will be 500 ft x 450 ft x 20 ft deep, and is designed to allow CSO volumes in excess of 43 MG to flow through it and receive a measure of treatment. The CSO storage tank will be provided with mechanical bar screens, an air treatment system, and a 40 mgd pumping station to pump stored combined sewage back to the existing Main Interceptor sewer after rain storms. Pumped combined sewage will flow to the Tallman Island Water Pollution Control Plant where it will be treated.

Amenities for the community include a 40,000 square foot multi-use NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Building with:
  • Basketball court with a running track
  • Racquetball courts
  • Dance/aerobics room
  • Exercise room
  • Computer room
  • Lunch room
  • Pre-school/day care room
  • Two artificial turf soccer fields atop the CSO storage tank
  • Comfort Station scheduled to be complete in September 2004
  • $14 million Promenade along Flushing Bay completed in November 2002 (Wheelchair access remains problematic.)
The CSO storage tank and the multi-use NYCDPR building will cost $300 million, and is scheduled for completion by November 2006.

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