At a Glance

An actionable master plan reopens New York City public parkland while protecting natural habitats and open space.

Project Description

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) engaged the local community in reimagining two former brownfield sites along the North Shore of Staten Island. Through a master planning process, NYC Parks explored the best and most innovative opportunities to enhance public access and environmental conditions for Mariners Marsh and Arlington Marsh.

As ecological and restoration design consultant on a team led by SWA/Balsley, Biohabitats helped NYC Parks craft a strategic approach to restore and remediate the sites in a way that transforms the land for the benefit of the local ecology and adjacent human community. Balancing the magnitude and impact of interventions, the team developed a phased restoration and remediation strategy and a plan for site-sensitive landscape design that provided safe public access to the site and leveraged its significant ecological assets and improvements to date.

To inform the plan, Biohabitats performed an assessment of the site’s ecology. In addition to studying ecological assets, the team also evaluated factors such as potential coastal resiliency measures, access and circulation, community park needs, and opportunities for integration with regional systems. Using jargon-free language, Biohabitats communicated findings to stakeholders, public agencies, and the local community.

Biohabitats worked with SWA/Balsley to develop holistic design plans that integrate function, maintenance, material, and operations considerations into innovative and sensitive designs. Design plans aim to spark public imagination, foster waterfront access and environmental education, and create opportunities for partnerships and local stewardship. The final result of Biohabitats efforts was an actionable master plan that compiled plan goals, prioritized investments, identified capital inefficiencies, included recommendations for balance of restoration/protection and public access/reactivation, and presented an implementation strategy, phasing plan, and preliminary cost estimate.



Hudson River

Physiographic Province

Atlantic Coastal Plan


Sandy Hook/Staten Island

Expertise Areas

Coastal, Community, Conservation, Ecological Restoration, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology, Water


NYC Department of Parks and Restoration


Staten Island, New York, United States

Project Team
  • SWA/Balsley
  • Matrix New World Engineering