From the NY Times:
For more than a decade, workers using giant digging machines have scooped up enormous mounds of rock, clay, sand and silt from the waters around New York to deepen the shipping channels to accommodate giant cargo vessels that will navigate the widened Panama Canal starting in the middle of the decade.
The dredging has produced millions of cubic yards of muck.
“What do you do with all that stuff?” said Col. John R. Boulé II, commander of the New York District of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the dredging. “Some of it we’re using to restore the islands in Jamaica Bay.” Recalling the lush “Mannahatta” that Henry Hudson encountered when he sailed into New York Harbor 400 years ago, Colonel Boulé added: “We want to put a little more of 1609 back into 2010.”
The Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service are the primary partners in a collaboration of city, state and federal environmental, parks and port agencies and private partners to revitalize what is known as the Hudson-Raritan Estuary, focusing primarily on Upper and Lower New York Bay. Eventually, oyster beds will be restored to serve as living water filters, and shellfish may someday be harvested commercially again.
Jamaica Bay is part of the park service’s Gateway National Recreation Area, which spans the harbor and will be expanded by hundreds of acres when the city’s former Fountain and Pennsylvania Avenue landfills in Brooklyn, recently forested with 35,000 trees, are incorporated as parkland in a few years.