GOWANUS — Nearly 100 mini-gardens that double as pollution prevention devices will be built on Brooklyn blocks this summer, the Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday.
Dubbed "curbside gardens" by the DEP, but also called bioswales, the tiny green spots are essentially glorified tree pits dug extra deep then filled with rocks and soil.
The result is pretty — they're topped with flowers and a decorative fence — but the bioswales also suck up rainwater, which makes them an effective tool for keeping pollution out of waterways, in this case, the Gowanus Canal.
"With the arrival of spring it's the perfect time to plant new bioswales to help manage the precipitation that falls on Brooklyn streets, roof tops, parking lots and sidewalks,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said in a statement.
"Investing in green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to improve the health of the Gowanus Canal, green neighborhood streets and clean the air we all breathe," Lloyd added.
Starting this month, DEP will build 90 bioswales in Gowanus, Park Slope, Boerum Hill and Prospect Heights at sites selected for their proximity to the heavily polluted canal.
The new bioswales will keep an estimated eight million gallons of stormwater runoff — a major source of the canal's pollution — out of the city's sewer system each year, according to DEP.
The 90 "curbside gardens" are part of DEP's green infrastructure program, which also includes building rooftop farms and renovating sites like the Gil Hodges Community Garden.
To see a map of where DEP is building the 90 bioswales, check the agency's Flickr page.