AES provided ecological expertise and technical services as part of the original international design team chosen to convert the 2,200-acre Freshkills Landfill on Staten Island into a new public park three times the size of Central Park.

Ecological leadership was critical to redevelopment of the massive site which covers 25% of Staten Island, and receives 3/4 of the island’s drainage. The salt marshes on the site are remnants of the vast freshwater and tidal wetlands that once covered the Fresh Kills area as one of the largest, most productive marshes in the Hudson River Estuary.

AES evaluated the technical issues with soils, vegetation, wildlife and hydrology necessary to evaluate design and construction strategies for park development. We also conducted comprehensive evaluations of the rooting medium and soils used on the landfill.

This led to a better understanding of soil chemistry that would allow a feasible and cost-effective ecological restoration. Analysis of several thousand soil samples revealed that significant soil amendment or remediation would be needed to provide a successful rooting medium for vegetation suitable to a public park.

AES’ technical report recommended solutions including the use of high-yielding and high lignin-producing green manures, which could be grown on the landfill cap. These plants would manufacture adequate organic matter that could hold and contain the measured contaminants. They would also be able to endure the stressful conditions caused by the underlying landfill heat generated from the internal decomposition of landfill wastes.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, AES also did quantitative evaluations of regional natural areas to establish reference sites that would inform the restoration plan. As part of this work, we documented plant community structure, habitats composition, soil types and chemistry and hydrology in fifteen different reference remnant natural areas on Staten Island.

  • Landfill Closure Planning
  • Natural Resource Inventory
  • Ecological Investigations
  • Soils Sampling + Analysis
  • Closure Design + Vegetation Strategies
  • Technical Reporting

Freshkills Landfill Technical Services
Staten Island, New York City, New York
2,200 acres