From the Daily News:
FOR THE first time in decades, egrets and horseshoe crabs have been spotted in the northern section of Alley Pond Park.
The 16-acre spot, once clogged with construction debris and invasive plants, has been restored to its natural wetland state under a $20 million project recently completed by the city Department of Environmental Protection.
The dense field of trees and shrubs at the northeast corner of Northern Blvd. and the Cross Island Parkway was cleared to make way for a rolling meadow of wildflowers and a large tidal pool filled with ducks and birds.
The city took on the project as part of a larger plan to battle flooding woes in the area. A combined sewer overflow tank is being installed in the park to help catch stormwater runoff.
Since a portion of the wetlands was being disturbed for that project, the DEP agreed to restore the adjacent piece of park.
Crews started excavating the site and eventually removed 7,500 cubic yards of construction debris that had been used to fill the ground over the years.
Buildings existed on the land in the 1920s and 1930s, but were razed over time. Nature took over, filling the field with poplars, mulberry and black locust trees as well as phragmites.
And while it may have appeared to be a pristine field of green, the invasive plants were actually choking the land, blocking the tidal flow and discouraging wildlife.
During the restoration process, workers made an important discovery - water bubbling up through the soil.
City officials hope to open up the site to the public in a few years, after the plants, grass and trees have time to establish themselves and grow.
But osprey, hawks and kestrels have already flocked to the area, along with the egrets and crabs, to make nests and take advantage of the fish-rich tidal pool.