Sustaining the Park's Waterways
Prospect Park is home to an epic watercourse—a series of pools, streams and waterfalls that culminate in Brooklyn's only lake. In recent months, Prospect Park Alliance has undertaken an extensive cleanup of the landscape that sculpts this waterway. Check out this stunning series of before-and-after shots that show the breadth of the work undertaken by Alliance staff and volunteers in the spring and summer of 2019 to revitalize this important natural area.
The public helped us complete this work, cleaning up the landscape around the Lily Pond Pool at Binnen Bridge near the Boathouse. Volunteers donned waders to remove aquatic weeds, clean up the shoreline and perform other tasks to beautify the area in fall 2019.
Over 280 volunteer hours went into projects throughout the watercourse. At various locations, crews of staff and volunteers donned waders to remove garbage, clear downed trees and branches, and weed out invasive species of plants that were clogging the waterway.
Prospect Park Alliance's Volunteer Program engages nearly 3,000 people each year, including volunteers from Goldman Sachs and other corporate partners. These volunteers contribute a combined 18,000 hours annually of work restoring and maintaining Prospect Park.
A view of Fallkill Falls in the winter before the cleanup.
"The watercourse is the lifeblood of the park. It moves. It breathes. It sings," says Marty Woess, the Alliance's Forestry, Wildlife and Aquatic Technician.
Fallkill Falls after the cleanup.
The crew of Alliance staff and volunteers removed 12 bags of debris and 30 logs from the area.
An area near the Music Pagoda before the cleanup.
"Like all living things, [the watercourse] has to stay healthy." says Woess, a member of the Alliance's Natural Resources Crew. Of the positives she has observed in newly cleared areas, Woess says, "Instantly, you could see and hear the difference. Our volunteers were amazed at how much the flow changed. How beautiful it looked."
An area near the Music Pagoda after the cleanup.
The watercourse in Prospect Park is manmade, and was part of the original plan by park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
An area near Binnen Falls before the cleanup.
Today, Prospect Park's watercourse supports a wide array of plant and animal life. The waterway is home to many species of amphibians, reptiles and fish including largemouth bass. Dozens of species of shorebirds and ducks can be spotted enjoying the habitat provided by the watercourse in all four seasons.
A cleared area near Binnen Falls after the cleanup.