Lower East Side Ecology Center


The Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC) is a 28-year-old nonprofit organization offering community based recycling, education and stewardship programs. Located at the East River Park since 1998, LESEC has developed environmental and stewardship programs reflecting their location on the waterfront park at the bank of the estuary. LESEC is a member of the Community Board #3 Waterfront Subcommittee, and as a member of Paths to Pier 42, LESEC brings sustainable design ideas, engaging environmental programming and more awareness about the East River to the community.


TREE STEWARDSHIP: In 2013, when Interboro Partners built Rest Stop, the Ecology Center’s interns, tasked with caring for local street trees, took on the additional role of making sure the trees at Pier 42 made it through the harsh summer with watering and mulching. In 2014, MillionTreesNYC supplied trees destined for nearby parks and streets, and the Ecology Center interns  continued to make sure the trees stay watered.  The Ecology Center continues to care for these trees in their permanent homes in the parks, streets and NYCHA campuses.

FISHING CLINICS: For a third year, the Ecology Center brings free, public fishing clinics to Pier 42, which has long been a place where local people
like to fish. Ecology Center Fishing clinics are an opportunity for the general public to learn to fish while learning about the Hudson River Estuary – including Estuary health, flora and fauna, pollution sources and prevention, health risks associated with eating fish, and how to reduce human impact on the Estuary.

WATER QUALITY TESTING: The future plan for Pier 42 includes the possibility for on-the-water access, so the Ecology Center and the New York City Water Trail Association have been testing the water quality of the East River at Pier 42 for the presence of bacteria that could make paddlers, waders and swimmers sick. A combined sewer outfall (CSO) at the northeast end of the pier, can result in untreated sewage overflow into the East River during periods of rain. Results of the testing can be found at: http://nycwatertrail.org/water_quality.html

FIELD TRIPS: The Ecology Center leads field trips for school and camp groups to educate community members to become stewards of the water that surrounds them. During Pier 42’s open season, the Ecology Center brings these groups to the pier to show them what the artists and designers have created, and to request their input on future uses of the waterfront park.