The large scale and accelerated erosion of the islands due to contamination in the bay is currently being combatted by the National Park Service who have since 2006, partnered with the USACE and local non-governmental organizations to reconstruct approximately 154 acres of salt marsh islands using the dredged material from maintenance and deepening operations of the shipping channels that access the New York and New Jersey Harbors.
The shipping channels in the New York Harbor need to maintain their depth because the deeper shipping barge can be submerged in the channel, the more cargo it can carry and the greater economic value the shipment will have.
The byproducts of the wastewater treatment plants and the closed landfills (civic infrastructure) contribute to erosion of land, while the byproducts of the maintenance of ports (commercial infrastructure) contribute to the reconstruction of it. These unintended byproducts and their effects do not negate the effects of each other, but rather serve as two outputs that facilitate (or demand) a cyclical process of reconstruction of the ‘natural environment’ in which nature will continue to be redefined by the entities that are reconstructing them.
The Center for Contaminated Sediment is located at the only Inlet into Jamaica bay. This building has multiple functions:
It serves as a foot and bicycle bridge connecting two parks within the National recreation areas (Barren Island and Fort Tilden);
It processes toxic sediment dredged from the Ambrose Channel, biosolids remnants from the wastewater treatment plants dotting the bay, and potentially recovered material from the fountain avenue and Pennsylvania avenue landfills;
Lastly it acts as a flood gates the inlet to Jamaica bay, thus controlling the water level of the bay to perform controlled experiments or to control experiments within the center of the circular building.
The School of Urban Infrastructure and Environmental Change monitors and studies the effects of sea level rise, warmer waters, increased weather events, and increased nitrogen in water on urban infrastructure, such as subway lines, bridges, docks, streets, stop lights, etc.
The School of NeoGeology and Landfill Mining seeks to create and codify procedures for recovering useable materials from within landfills currently expelling Natural Gas into the atmosphere.
Not only will this school attempt to rediscover valuable resources buried in the ground but to understand settling methods and the geological landform that is the historic city landfill.
The Center for Contaminant Hydrology features a large square frame with twenty-nine underwater laboratories simultaneously and continually testing water at slightly different depths in order to identify both speed of water flow and level of toxicity.
There are two centers, one located near the outlet from the canal to the north of JFK international airport where one of the four wastewater treatment plants lining Jamaica bay outputs its waste water, and one roaming the waters near the deepest part of the bay, just west of the runways for the airport.