Dutch Kills.

Dutch Kills is the name of a tidal tributary of Newtown Creek which flows into New York City’s East River. Dutch Kills and Newtown Creek are two heavily urbanized estuaries that have suffered from decades of devastating pollution. In 2010 Newtown Creek was designated a Superfund Site by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2015, Newtown Creek Alliance created a pilot project to install native salt marsh habitat on Dutch Kills. In partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Newtown Creek Alliance expanded their Dutch Kills salt marsh habitat project in 2018, adding 11,000 square feet of native salt marsh habitat at the head of Dutch Kills and areas up against Hunters Point Avenue Bridge.

Native salt marsh grasses help improve the health of the watershed by producing oxygen, nutrient uptake and by creating habitat for ribbed mussels. Like oysters, ribbed mussels are filter feeders that clean the water and reduce pathogens.

Despite the irony of its Anglicized name, the word kill in Dutch Kills is derived from an old Dutch word ‘kille” which means riverbed or water channel. The names of several rivers, creeks and tidal inlets in New York still echo Dutch colonization including Fresh Kill, Bronx Kill and Fishkill.

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