The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers are dedicated to the preservation, protection, enhancement and restoration of the fragile ecosystem of Jamaica Bay. We have been and will continue to serve as the advocacy organization for the environmental concerns for Jamaica Bay.
Jamaica Bay Task Force Zoom Meeting,
6:30-6:40pm – Welcome and opening remarks; Dan Mundy, sr., Don Riepe (co-chairs)
6:40-7pm – A New Management Plan for the Jamaica Bay Refuge (Don Riepe, ALS)
7pm- 7:20pm – Jamaica Bay Ribbed Mussel Study Update – (John McLaughlin, NYCDEP)
7:20-7:40 – Jamaica Bay Living Shoreline (Alex Zablocki, JBRPC)
7:40- 8:00pm – Jamaica Bay Wetland Restoration Update (Lisa Baron, USACE)
8:00pm-8:20pm – Adjacent Sediment Slurry for Marsh Restoration (Dan Mundy, Jr. JBEW)
April 1 2022
ANNOUNCEMENT: SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER SECURES RECORD BREAKING $18.91M FOR JAMAICA BAY !
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s joins the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and the American Littoral Society and partners in congratulating and thanking U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, staff, and all federal partners, for their advocacy on behalf of the Jamaica Bay Stony Creek Marsh Restoration, and the entire Hudson Raritan Estuary Project, securing much needed design and construction funding for this important restoration project. Assemblywoman Stacey Amato has been critical to this effort in hosting a monthly task force meeting to put a focus on this project and how to achieve it.
This latest batch of funding, secured in two major bipartisan pieces of legislation—the recently passed 2022 Omnibus, and the infrastructure bill—brought in $27.2M to the Hudson Raritan Estuary Project, which includes other sites in New York region, with $18.91M directly for the Jamaica Bay Stony Creek Marsh Restoration project. This funding covers both the kick-off of the design phase and continues to cover the full federal construction costs.
Stony Creek Marsh is an important marsh island in Jamaica Bay that has been degraded and fragmented over time. Once completed, this project will lead to over 50-acres of restored marsh in the bay, creating important habitat, helping clean our waterways, and provide protection to local communities from extreme weather events.
Senator Schumer, along with Senator Gillibrand, recently wrote a letter to the Office of Management and Budget calling for full federal funding to be allocated by the US Army Corps of Engineers to this project, and they came through big time. As a longtime friend of the Conservancy and Jamaica Bay, and a tireless fighter for New York, Senator Schumer has always delivered for us, and now, as Majority Leader, Senator Schumer as secured hundreds of billions of dollars for New York and this vital restoration project.
This critical funding will restore the ecosystem in Jamaica Bay and protect Southern Brooklyn and Southern Queens from extreme weather events, and builds on prior investments by the city, state and federal government to restore and clean the bay – efforts first led by the coastal communities of Jamaica Bay and championed by Senator Schumer and other elected officials.
This is a Huge Win for Jamaica Bay !
Derelict Vessels being removed from Jamaica Bay Tributaries !
Great to see these long abandoned vessels finally being removed from Jamaica Bay! A big Thank you to former Councilman Eric Ulrich for funding this effort and to our new Councilwoman Joanne Ariolla who was able to secure an additional funds to assist in the removal of two other vessels in this creek. Senator Addabbo and his team has been a huge advocate as well in getting focus on the issue of Marine Debris and working to have it removed.
January 1 2022
HAPPY NEW YEAR !
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s would like to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year !
2021 was a productive year for the Ecowatcher’s in which we were able to accomplish:
December 12 2021
Another round of Abandoned Vessel removal from Jamaica Bay this is great for the bay to get these boats out of the bay where they harm the wetlands and become eyesores on the shoreline–see story here
November 12 2021
MORE GREAT NEWS FROM Jamaica Bay !!
OUR RESIDENT SEAL “RUFFLES” HAS A BABY !!
READ NEWS ACCOUNT HERE. _______________________________________________________________________
September 10 2021
West Pond Volunteer Planting Day !
the west pond restoration project at the wildlife refuge is nearing completion for the first phase , placement and grading of sand. We are now getting ready to perform planting of wetlands plants ( spartina) and are asking that any interested volunteers sign up if interested in helping out. The date is September 18th at 10 am and this is the LINK TO SIGN UP
August 31 2021
SIGN THE PETITION AND PROTECT Jamaica Bay !!
Help us to protect Jamaica Bay from plans to fill in the deep portions of the bay. This plan has been proposed by the NYS DEC and would in effect destroy Jamaica Bay. We need Governor Hochul to sign this bill that is on her desk that would only allow federally approved fill to be brought into Jamaica Bay. YOU CAN SIGN THE PETITION HERE
June 8 2021
June 5 2021
Poaching in Jamaica Bay !!
Poaching in Jamaica Bay is becoming a big problem as we see large groups coming in late at night to take turtles, horseshoe crabs, clams and crabs. This appears to be a lucrative market as the number of people involved is quite large. We are working to notify and work with the enforcement agencies to get them to take action
December 10th 2020
Jamaica Bay Task Force Summary
Last night was a first for the Jamaica Bay Task Force as the annual Fall meeting was held as a virtual Zoom Meeting. We were not sure what to expect but the outcome was extremely successful. Over 95 people joined us on zoom and another dozen watched via a facebook link!
Great night and here below is a summary and links to the individual presentations
The first presentation was given by Leslie Wright director of New York State Parks NYC OPERATIONS . Leslie discussed the new amenities coming to the Shirley Chisholm state park .This park has transformed the two former landfills, at Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue, into amazing nature centers. The height of the parks is amazing and allow for unbelievable views of Jamaica Bay. The state has put in over 50 million dollars and the results show it. There will now be parking at the Fountain avenue side as well and an entire campus center for park workers. The presentation shows the impressive progress that has been made and can be seen in its entirety here.
The second presentation of the night was made by Don Riepe of the American Littoral Society. Don spoke of his years of Raptor Management in and around Jamaica Bay . Amazing bird life from around the bay ! Owls, Osprey, falcons and even Bald Eagles have all been captured by Don in stunning photos that can be seen here.
Alex Zablocki of the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy was the next presenter and Alex discussed the plan that the Conservancy has developed to create a wetland protection for the west pond. The west pond breached after Hurricane Sandy and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers led the effort to have this amazing resource repaired and the pond restored. However it is in danger of breaching again due to erosion and this plan will see a wetlands created to act as a natural buffer to the pond. The project is almost shovel ready and will be a big asset to the bay. view Alex’s presentation HERE.
Fourth presentation of the night saw Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s discuss the deep areas of Jamaica Bay. The Ecowatchers have been at the lead in observations around the bay over the last 20 years. They were the first to recognize the wetland marsh loss occurring and fought to see funding directed to address that through restoration projects. They were also the first to identify the huge impact that the NYC waste water treatment plants were having when they changed their method for sludge disposal and massively increased the nitrogen loading to the bay and brought a legal challenge against the city that ultimately led to tremendous upgrades at the waste treatment plants. Dan discussed the fact that there is a misunderstanding regarding the deep areas, among scientists and agencies, of the bay and that the Ecowatchers along with their stakeholders consider the deep areas extremely productive and that any connects or proposals to fill these areas would be extremely harmful to the bay. The Ecowatchers produced a dive video of a massive shipwreck that they explored in one of the deepest areas of the bay and one that supports their position of how much life resides at the bottom of these areas. Dans Presentation can be seen here .
AND THE DIVE VIDEO OF THE JAMAIA BAY SHIP WRECK CAN BE SEEN HERE
A VIDEO TO THE FULL MEETING CAN BE VIEWED BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK HERE_
The next presentation was given by Nate Grove of the NYC Parks Department. Nate has had a huge and positive impact on the waters of Jamaica Bay and around the city through his operations involving marine debris removal. Nate has been able to create a DCAS approved standing contract to remove abandoned docks , boats and all sorts of marine debris that litters the water ways and damages the environment. Hundreds of abandoned vessels have been removed by Nate and his marine contractor. The Ecowatchers are working with State Senator Addabbo and Assemblywoman Amato to try to seek a permanent source of funding for this effort. Nate’s presentation and photos can be seen here.
The final Presentation of the night was made by Alexandra Koenig of the American Littoral society . Alexandra led the volunteer planting effort at Sunset Cove for the Littoral Society. The site is an amazing example of wetlands restoration and the volunteer planting aspect is successful in many ways including the educational aspect that sees young children involved in the planting and in understanding the full value of this type of natural resource. Alexandra’s full presentation can be seen here.
OCTOBER 23 2020
MARINE DEBRIS REMOVAL IN JAMAICA BAY
THE Ecowatchers want to thank Councilm Eric Ulrich for funding another successful abandoned vessel removal operation in Jamaica Bay today. At this time there is no designated agency that addresses these environmental hazards. Great to see the councilman allocate his discretionary funding to make this happen . Good day for Jamaica Bay !!
link to full story HERE
Sign the Petition to Protect Jamaica Bay!
No Contaminated Fill to be placed in the deep portions of Jamaica Bay . The link below will allow you to sign petition to Governor Cuomo asking that he sign the bill that is before him which will prohibit contaminated fill from being placed into the deep portions of Jamaica Bay. This has been a horrible idea that is repeatedly brought up over the years and one that would destroy the great progress that the bay has seen. We need to pass this legislation and once and for all put this ridiculous concept to rest.
August 1 2020
Progress on plan to protect the west Pond
This photo from the Rockaway Wave article ( see link to article here) shows the issue that he Ecowatchers have been trying to raise awareness about for a number of years and that is that the famed west pond is in danger of breaching , again, if something is not done to protect its southern edge. After years of pushing for action we are pleased to see the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy JPRPC step up and fund a design that will accomplish this goal. The JPRPC is also obtaining all permits to allow this to proceed. The working group on this consists of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, the JPRPC, the NYS DEC, the National Parks Service , the Littoral Society, the NYC DEP. The plan is to create a “soft” wetland edge on the southern side of the pathway using volunteers to plant the spartina as was done at sunset cove and at the Rulers Bar and Blackwall Islands. It is critical that we save this amazing resource that allows for so many migratory birds to stop over on their migration.
July 23 2020
Ecowatchers work to create task force to address mass pollution at Joseph Addabbo Bridge
The Jamaica bay eco-watchers are working with Senator Addabbo ,Assemblywoman Amato and Councilman Ulrich to come up with a plan to stop the cars and trucks that are illegally driving under the Addabbo Bridge as well as to the clean up the pollution that these people are leaving behind . At this time is the largest single source point for pollution entering Jamaica bay
link to article on this issue
January 10 2020
Press conference to highlight Governor Cuomo’s veto of the legislation to Protect Jamaica Bay from Contaminated Fill. Senator Addabbo, Assemblywoman Amato, Assemblywoman Williams , the American Littoral Society, The Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy, Rockaway Beach Civic Association, NY Audobon, concerned citizens and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers all turned out to blast Governor Cuomo’s decision to veto this bill . It is ironic that the main agency that has been the Governor to veto this bill has been the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as they site the fact that they want to keep their options open for getting rid of Hudson River dredge material ( which just happens to be contaminated ) We will be organizing a campaign going forward to let the Governor know that he needs to change his position on this and live up to his claim to be the environmental Governor!
additional news coverage of the press conference
December 21 2019
Governor Cuomo has vetoed the bill that would have protected Jamaica Bay from contaminated dredge fill. This was done at the urging of the NYS DEC Dredge materials management team. Amazing that the DEC which is supposed to be the Department of Environmental Conservation and the protectors of our Environment would be the catalyst behind this veto. This is due to their desire to bring contaminated dredge fill from the Hudson River into the bay and dump it into the deeper portions of the bay that they have conveniently named ” borrow pits”. The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers will be working with Senator Addabbo and Assemblywoman Amato to reintroduce this legislation. We will be looking for support next year when we will begin a sign on campaign to get the Governors attention and let him know that we need him to step up and protect Jamaica Bay!
The area that they have identified for the dumping of this contaminated fill is shown in the photo below.
When the DEC Dredge team last proposed their plan it was to first fill int he areas in red and then the area in yellow and then the massive area in green.
Horrible plan driven by economics and not by science and we will certainly educate folks and oppose any such plan
JAMAICA BAY TASK FORCE MEETING
Last nights Jamaica Bay Task Force meeting was an example of why this organization has been the leading venue for planning for Jamaica Bay for the last 30 years. Great presentations on plans that are in the works for the bay as well as recent scientific studies and their findings. The room was filled with interested bay enthusiasits who represent groups from around the bay.
The first presentation of the night was by Peter Webbler chief of planning at the army corps of engineers. Peter explained the plans that have been in the works for ten years and noted in the Hudson Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan. ( HRE-CRP) That will see five additional wetland islands created in Jamaica Bay. This has been an extremely complicated process and one that the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers have been directly involved in including in obtaining necessary legislative support form Senator Gillibrands office. You can see Peters Full Presentation Here.
The next presentation was given by John Mcloughlin ( Managing Director planning NYC DEP Natural Resources) John presented on the NYC DEP plan under the CSO Long term control plan to address pathogen removal using ribbed mussels . The presentation showed the cumulative value of ribbed mussels in performing this function and the benefit of using natural features to address this issue. Full presentation can be viewed here
Next up was Alex Zablocki of the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy who discussed the plan developed by his organization to protect the south shore of the west pond ( which has been experiencing erosion) This plan would see a wetland restoration project created along the shore to dissipate wave energy and protect the west pond from future potential breaching . view Alex’s presentation here
The next presentation was by NYC DEP senior adviser for strategic planning, Dimitrios Katehis who discussed the study that the NYC DEP has undertaken to review all state of the art technologies that may be applicable for the four waste water treatment plants that affect the bay. This study was mandated by the nitrogen agreement of 2008 which the Ecowatchers were instrumental in achieving and which mandated upgrades to all of the waste water treatment plants and which has had a tremendous positive effect on the water quality of the bus waters. You can see the full presentation here.
The fifth presentation of the night was by Professor Chester Zarnoch who discussed his soon to be published findings on the ability of Ribbed mussels to remove nitrogen from the water. His presentation spoke to the multiple benefits that can be achieved by incorporating ribbed mussels in wetland restoration projects. The information of the ribbed mussels denitrification abilities were extremely interesting given the fact that the one of the challenges for the health of the bay has been the ability to remove and lower the nitrogen levels of the bays waters . see Chesters presentation can be seen here .
The final presentation of the night was given by Leslie Wright director of the New York state Parks. She discussed the plans for Shirley Chisholm state park under phase 2 work which will see additional amenities for both the Penn and Fountain avenue sides of the park. To date the park has already seen 140,000 visitors. see Leslies presentation here .
August 21 2019
SUNSET COVE RIBBON CUTTING
After years of effort by the Broad Channel Civic Association and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers the Sunset Cove Wetlands Park is open to the Public. The work completed to date included:• -*removal of 1,000 cubic yards of debris and nearly 30,000 cubic yards of hazardous and contaminated soil;
• restoration of 4.5 acres of salt marsh and 7 acres of maritime upland;
• construction of a perimeter berm and walking trail;
• installation of 16,000 tons of clean sand;
• planting of 200,000 new plugs to reestablish the salt marsh.
“The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers are excited to see the new Sunset Cove Park officially open to the public. This restored natural area will allow visitors to experience the beauty of Jamaica Bay while providing critical ecological functions such as cleaning the waters of the bay, creating critical habitat for the bays wildlife and sequestering carbon to help with climate change,” said Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers President Dan Mundy. “We commend NYC Parks for their great work in producing this vision that the community has had for this area and we welcome residents from all neighborhoods to come down and enjoy this great resource.”
Phase two work at this park will see a access boardwalk created out over the wetlands to allow for access to a learning center area which will provide amazing views and opportunities for outdoor class instruction.
read article HERE
AUGUST 14 2019
Water Quality Improvements in Jamaica Bay In the News !
The Ecowatchers have been the leading organization over the last 20 years fighting to improve the water quality in Jamaica Bay and we are now seeing the results of that effort . Probably the greatest single step that has been taken to increase water quality is the tremendous upgrades that have been made to the DEP waste treatment plants that empty into Jamaica Bay. This was only done after the Ecowatchers brought a clean water action lawsuit against the city, with the help of the NRDC.
This resulted in one hundred million dollars being spent to upgrade the plants and now the harmful nitrogen loading has been decreased from 54,000 pounds every day to less than 30,000 pounds a day and it will drop even more with additional upgrades that are still ongoing .
see the video story here…
July 15th 2019
Whale in Jamaica Bay !!
There she blows —That is a whale directly off the island of Ruffle bar in Runway Channel inside of the Marine Parkway Bridge. The whale was feeding in the waters of the bay and then headed back out to the ocean. Once again highlighting the point often made by the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers that the deep areas of the bay are the critical ingredient in this estuary that make it so rich in Marine life. It is these deep areas that play host to such large bio mass of marine life. It is also the area that so many times is identified by agencies and scientists ( who have no clue about the bay) for their misguided plans to fill in and “shallow”. A plan that we will continue to fight against
JULY 3RD 2019
LARGE POD OF DOLPHINS IN JAMAICA BAY
In the photos below a few of the over 30 dolphins that were in the bay today can bee seen. This is one of the largest pods we have seen this far into the bay and it speaks volumes to the water quality of the bay and the amount of bait, Bunker ( menhaden) that are available for them to feed on.
JULY 2nd 2019
Great article on the efforts of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers to address the issue of Marine Debris in Jamaica Bay and other coastal areas around New York
read full article HERE
SUNSET COVE VOLUNTEERS PLANT WETLANDS ! —
VOLUNTEERS ARE NOW ACTIVELY WORKING TO PLANT OVER 70,000 PLUGS OF WETLAND GRASS AT SUNSET COVE. Great to see the progress already made. Great effort from : Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy, John Lepore Allstate team, NYC Parks Department, American Littoral Society R- Corps group !!
June 7 2019
School Children Explore Jamaica Bay on large Research Vessel-CUNY-1
Ps 47 from Broad Channel and PS122 Astoria spent a day each out on the 63 foot research vessel CUNY-1 last week. The 5 million dollar research vessel which is owned by Brooklyn College and associated with the SRIJB ( Science and Resiliency Institute and Jamaica Bay ) has been docked at Kingsborough Community College and not being used due to operating costs. The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchersapproached Councilman Costa Constantinides who is the chair of the NYC Council Environmental Committee and asked that he fund two trips this spring to see if this could be a successful way to get nyc school children out on the bay to conduct experiments and to learn about the bay. The trips were a big hit. With a live touch tank at the back filled with oysters, clams , horseshoe crabs and fish the children were able to get their hands on local marine species. In addition plankton nest were hauled in and the catch put under microscopes and water quality tests were conducted. The team from BIO_BOAT had a full curriculum which kept the kids busy the whole three hours. Coucilman Constandide attended the one trip out and was so impressed with the interaction that he has pledged to fund the boat throughout the fall for numerous trips for school interested . Great commitment to the bay and the school children
This will be great way to disconnect children from their tablets and phones and connect them with the environment !!
2019 SPRING Jamaica Bay TASK FORCE MEETING
May 9th 2019
last night saw a great turnout at the wildlife refuge for the spring 2019 Jamaica Bay Task Force meeting below is a recap of the presentations and links to the power points
Earth Day Clean Up 2019
:The Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy did a great job of organizing a large Earth Day Clean Up in Broad Channel on the shores of Jamaica Bay. over175 volunteers joined in, American Littoral Society – Northeast Chapter, Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, Gateway National Recreation Area and New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to clean up marshes and shorelines throughout Jamaica Bay. In honor of Earth Day, these incredible volunteers collected over 200 bags of trash and hundreds of pounds of marine debris from the Bay!
With the support of the Broad Channel Civic Association, 40 volunteers cleaned the NYC Park properties on West 16th and West 18th Rd in Broad Channel. Volunteers removed 6,380 lbs of debris, dismantling abandoned docks and construction materials and prepping the shoreline for an upcoming community planting.
GREAT EFFORT BY ALL !!
April 25 2019
GOVERNOR SIGNS MENHADEN BILL !
Great news for the Marine waters of Jamaica Bay and the NY Bight. Governor Cuomo has signed the bill into law prohibiting the taking of Menhaden (bunker) with purse seine nets. This Bill was Co sponsored by Senator Joe Addabbo and the Ecowatchers worked closely with the Senator to make this happen. Menhaden are the single most important fish in the sea and are the food source for Whales, Dolphins, seals , blue fish, striped bass and many more. Dan Mundy from the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers was quoted in the press release-““The Jamaica bay Ecowatcher’s commend Senator Addabbo for this critical piece of legislation. The waters of Jamaica Bay and the New York Bight are finally seeing the results of years of hard work in restoring the water quality and habitat of this area,” said Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. “This has led to a remarkable increase in the presence of whales, dolphins and seals all who feed on the Menhaden fish. Menhaden has been recognized as the most critical species of fish for this very reason and the vacuum ships that seek them out do irreparable harm to the ecosystem. It is great to see that they will finally be banned from New York waters.”–see the entire press release here.
March 28 2019
Ecowatcher’s Support NYC Council Bill to address Marine Debris
Dan Mundy Jr , flanked by Dan Mundy Sr, Councilman Constandide. Councilman Ulrich, Don Riepe (ALS) and Alex Zablocki (JBRP conservancy) at press conference to support Bill to create city agency to address Marine Debris that has become a major environmental concern. Read full news story HERE
February 11 2019
Most critical fish in the sea must be protected!
Ecowatcher’s work with Senator Addabbo to push for law to protect Menhadden from Omega Protein and their vacuum ships
see press release herehttp://jamaicabayecowatchers.org/?p=1564
December 30 2018
Seals Enjoying the Waters and Wetlands of Jamaica Bay Today
While it may be winter the Ecowatchers continue to conduct surveys in and around the bay. Today that survey revealed the presence of Seals out on the wetlands to the west of Broad Channel Island. It is great to see these large Marine Mammals enjoying the bay and it speaks volumes to the improvements in water quality that we have been able to achieve over the last decade. It also shows how critical the DEEP AREAS of Jamaica Bay are. While they were created thru dredge activity years ago they have since become home to tremendous amounts of marine life throughout the year. During this period we see large schools of Herring taking advantage of these areas which in turn bring in the seals. There is a big disconnect with some academics and some agencies who do not realize how much spatial mass these deep areas add to the habitat of the bay and how much they contribute to the marine life that calls them home
…“Mundy says a big contributing factor to seeing more seals is the unique depths of Jamaica Bay. “Jamaica Bay isn’t like the Long Island Sound with shallow waters. We have some areas that are 60 feet deep and these areas support this massive amount of bio-life like herring and large mammals that come into the area like seals. This is a great indicator for the bay and the health of the water, but it’s also possible because of the deep areas,” Mundy said.
However Mundy added that there has been an ongoing battle to keep it that way as various government agencies and scientists have frequently proposed filling in the deep portions. “We’re trying to make scientists and agencies more aware of the critical importance of the deep areas of the bay. These deep areas were dug out by man, but our local organizations and fishermen that have a pulse on the area realize that it was a great thing. If the whole bay was 10-feet deep, you’d never have the amount of fish or marine mammals that we have here,” Mundy said. “There’s a lack of understanding when it comes to agencies and scientists. Sometimes they’ll suggest that it be refilled, which is horrifying to us. Some scientists mean well and some agencies listen, but some love the idea of making the bay more shallow, which would be a very bad idea. Seeing those seals on Sunday just highlights how well the bay is doing because the water is deep enough for those mammals to come and feed and relax here. It really is a great sign.”
November 18 2018
Ecowatchers work to make Research Vessel Available for NYC School Children
The vessel above is the CUNY-1 which is the research vessel built for the SRIJB-( Science and Resiliency Institute at Jamaica Bay) and is used at times for scientists to conduct research on.However much of the time it sits idle. The Ecowatchers have partnered with Adam Parris , SRIJB Director, and Councilman Constandide NYC Councilman -Astoria ( and chair of the NYC Council Environmental Committee) to propose having the NYC Council fund operational costs so that it could be used to take out classes of school children to explore the bay and conduct research experiments. There is not such opportunity at this time and it would be a wonderful experience for children to partake in. We will be conducting a pilot trip this spring and then hoping to go full scale over the summer and then into the fall. Great way to educate children and create our future Environmentalists!!
November 1 2018
JAMAICA BAY TASK FORCE MEETING FALL 2018
The fall Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting saw a full house attendance for a number of very interesting presentations about Jamaica Bay. Below is a summary of the night with links to most of the presentations.
FIrst presentation of the night was by Major Amelia A. Smith USPS, Commander, NY. Field office . Major Smith along with Capt Closs gave an update on the overall operations and focus of the NPS police in Jamaica Bay. They highlighted the actions that they have taken over the last year in particular with a focus on poaching activities , a big concern for environmental stakeholders. Different feed back was obtained from those present about particular areas that needed attention in regards to this issue. They assured all that they would take this information back and act on it. In addition the contact phone number for their dispatch station was noted…it is 7`8-338-3988. They urge anyone who notes illegal behavior to call in and report it. The issue of Seine Netting from the shoreline with very large nets was brought up as an activity that is having a very negative impact on marine life.
Peter Weppler, Chief Environmental Planning Branch U.S. ACOE gave the second presentation of the night focusing on the future ACOE plans for storm protection for Jamaica Bay and the communities that surround this estuary . As Pete noted the plan has changed since its first draft and now has a nuumber of potential proposals from on action to a storm gate only for Jamaica Bay ( located just east of the Marine Parkway Bridge) to a massive plan that would see a storm gate from Breezy Point all the way to Sandy Hook New Jersey. The full plan can be reviewed HERE.
NYCDEP – Update on Head of Bay Oyster project was the third presentation of the night and was given by David Linn NYCDEP. Very interesting Presentation of the efforts of the DEP to create an oyster reef at the head of bay. Oysters are growing and seem to be thriving with little infestation of DMX or Dermo ( the normal culprits) but recruitment to date has not been noted on the substrate placed below the cages. Question is where is the spat going ? read full presentation HERE
August 10 2018
Ecowatcher’s involvement in NY State Largest Artificial Reef Program
Today the Ecowatcher’s were invited to join Governor Cuomo and small group of environmentalists, divers and fishermen as the state deployed more material from the Tappan Zee Bridge in the waters off of Long Island as part of the largest artificial reef enhancement in state History. After the Governor spoke of the amazing positive impact this type of reef building has on the marine waters the group was shown a video of the goals of this program. This included video and still photos from artiifical reefs. Most of that video was taken by the Ecowatcher’s during their dive operations conducted off of the coast of Rockaway Beach. The full presentation can be seen here.
August 1 2018
SUNSET COVE PROJECT IS UNDERWAY !!
The Sunset Cove project is fully underway after many years of effort to get it funded , designed and approved.!
— When completed the 15 acre site will see an entrance plaza, walking trail along a raised berm, a maritime forest,restored wetlands and wetlands creek, and finally a boardwalk out over the wetlands created out of the restored Rockaway Boardwalk Lumber. The Boardwalk will lead to a covered viewing/outdoor classroom area.
This project, at the southern end of Broad Channel, will provide access and views that do not exist anywhere in the city. The area will also host an Eco dock for local school children to visit and conduct studies. BIg thanks to Borough President Melinda Katz, Dan Brown, Assemblywoman Amato, Senator Addabbo, and Councilman Ulrich for all of your support on this project and to Mayor Deblassio for the commitment of the additional and crucial funds of 7 million dollars!!
July 30 2018
NYC Councilman Constantinides ( 22nd District) serves as chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee he has a long history of fighting for environmental protections. Today the Councilman took a tour of Jamaica Bay with the Ecowatcher’s to get an up close look at the bay and to see the progress and learn of the outstanding issues affecting this great natural resource. Great to see chair of the environmental committee giving up his time to get the local stakeholder perspective on Jamaica Bay !
FOUR HUNDRED MILLION FOR JAMAICA BAY
city to approach water quality issues for state mandates thru the use of natural based features. The Ecowatcher’s were directly involved in negotiations with the NYC DEP on this and due to our demands additional Wetland restoration will be incorporated into this plan. See full press release here
Dan Mundy Sr and Jr with DEP Commissioner Sapienza and elected officials gathered to announce funding for Jamaica Bay
June 5th 2018
In 2010 the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers reached an agreement with the city of new york to see all of the waste water treatment plants around Jamaica Bay ( there are four of them ) upgraded to reduce their nitrogen output. The next phase of that is about to take place on the Rockaway Plant. This is great news for the Bay as the Nitrogen loading was extremely harmful affecting the wetlands and causing harmful algae blooms
Healthy Jamaica Bay: $23 Million Nitrogen Reduction Project Commences at Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant to Improve the Health of Jamaica Bay
Reducing Nitrogen Discharges into Jamaica Bay will Increase Dissolved Oxygen Levels and Improve the Overall Ecology of the Waterway
$460 Million in Similar Upgrades at Jamaica and 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plants Have Already Significantly Reduced Nitrogen Discharges
Photos and a Map are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that work began this month on a $23 million upgrade to the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant that will reduce the amount of nitrogen released into Jamaica Bay and help to improve the overall ecology of the waterway. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2020. This project complements the $460 million in upgrades that have already been completed to reduce nitrogen discharges from the Jamaica and 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plants, which similarly drain to Jamaica Bay.
Nitrogen is a naturally occurring element that is found in food and other organic materials and is present in wastewater when it enters the treatment plants. Because nitrogen it is not a pathogen and poses no threat to human health, the wastewater treatment plants were not originally designed to remove it from the treated water before it is discharged into a receiving waterbody. However, more recent scientific research has found that high levels of nitrogen can degrade the overall ecology of a waterway by promoting excessive algae growth that can reduce levels of dissolved oxygen, especially in warm weather months.
“Ensuring the proper collection and treatment of wastewater is essential to protecting public health and Jamaica Bay,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Working with environmental groups and local partners we have seen tremendous improvements in the ecology of Jamaica Bay over the last 20 years and reducing nitrogen levels is one of many fronts we continue to push forward on.”
“Jamaica Bay is a vitally important ecological and recreational resource for the borough of Queens, and the improvement of its overall health is a priority,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “DEP’s efforts to reduce the amount of nitrogen released into Jamaica Bay will do a great deal to enhance the bay’s water quality, promote a cleaner environment and improve public health. The DEP, led by Commissioner Vincent Sapienza, deserves to be commended for its dedicated work to improve the health of Jamaica Bay and our City’s waterbodies.”
“Although nitrogen wasn’t originally removed from the water being released into Jamaica Bay, I am happy to see that DEP is following up on further research that shows how harmful nitrogen can be to the health of the bay,” said State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “With this $23 million investment, the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant can better protect not only Jamaica Bay and the public, but it also shows that the agency understands the concerns of my Rockaway constituency.”
“We, as citizens of this planet, have an obligation to protect the earth for future generations, and a big part of that is protecting our waterways from toxins,” said State Senator James Sanders, Jr. “I commend DEP for their continued efforts in upgrading the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant, thereby reducing the nitrogen discharge that is released into Jamaica Bay, and promoting a healthier ecosystem.”
“Jamaica Bay is home to hundreds of plant and wildlife species. I applaud DEP for making this investment, which will protect the bay’s ecosystem and ensure that visitors can enjoy this local treasure for years to come,” said Council Member Eric A. Ulrich.
“This nitrogen reduction project at the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant will be a big boost to the health of Jamaica Bay,” said Dan Mundy, Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. “This project will continue to build on the success DEP has achieved at their other wastewater treatment plants around the bay in reducing the nitrogen load that is discharged into the bay. These reductions are resulting in cleaner waters and a healthy ecosystem – this is great news for Jamaica Bay!”
In total, New York City produces, and DEP collects and treats, an average of 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater each day. The wastewater travels through the City’s 7,500-mile sewer system until it reaches one of 14 wastewater treatment plants, where it is treated to federal and New York State water quality standards in accordance with the Clean Water Act, before it is discharged into local waterways.
The Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant currently removes approximately 45 percent of the nitrogen present in the treated water. The introduction of new, enhanced nitrogen removal technology, which converts the organic nitrogen present in wastewater into inert nitrogen gas that is released harmlessly into the atmosphere, requires significant upgrades to much of the plants’ supporting infrastructure. Work at the Rockaway plant will include the installation of baffles and hyperbolic mixers, new process air distribution piping and local isolation valves, new foam spray pumps and strainers, a new polymer feed system and storage, the repair of existing concrete and tank joints, and replacement of tank ground water pressure relief valves as well as the electrical support system.
As part of an agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Attorney General, DEP has reduced the combined nitrogen discharges from its wastewater treatment plants located along the East River by approximately 61 percent. The capital investments include:
- $277 million at the Hunts Point Wastewater Treatment Plant
- $388 million at the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant
- $209 million at the Tallman Island Wastewater Treatment Plant
- $161 million at the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9.6 million residents, including 8.6 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $19.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
April 17th 2018
Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting
Great discussion at the task force meeting tonight with a full room of folks representing so many groups that are working hard around the bay to protect this great natural resource. Thank you to the presenters who worked hard to put together these presentations and to all who came out to listen and participate.
Below is a summary with links to the full presentations–
After a brief introduction of groups represented we heard from the Superintendent of the Gateway National Park-Jen Neresian of the recently announced plan to see the National Parks Service and the NY state parks co manage the Penn and Fountain avenue landfill parks as they are now looking to bring amenities to the parks and make them accessible to visitors who would like to hike or bike ride thru this unique area that offers spectacular views of Jamaica Bay.Exciting renditions of what the park will look like were offered and the full presentation can be seen here.
The second presentation of the night was made by Steve Zahn the NYSDEC region 2 director. His presentation was an update on the plan to implement the HMGP-federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to conduct an environmental restoration project at Spring Creek south which will double as a storm resiliency project to protect the Howard Beach neighborhood.Steve’s presentation can be viewed here .
The third presentation was made by Distinguished professor Jeff Levinton of Stony Brook University . Professor Levinton has been conducting studies in the bay for years focused around Oyster restoration and water quality. Professor Levintons presentation titled- Nitrogen Input and Spatial and Historical Variation in Water Quality can be seen here.
Elizabeth Jordan, Ecological Restoration Manager, NYC Parks was the fourth presenter of the night . Elizabeth presented details on the next major restoration project to take place in Jamaica Bay.. the Sunset Cove wetland and maritime forest project. Tremendous interest involves this 14 million dollar restoration project which is set to break ground next month. See Elizabeth’s presentation here.
The final presentation of the night was made by Adam Parris who is currently Executive Director at the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay- Adam spoke on the Status and trends in Jamaica Bay: Building a unified assessment. Focusing on planning for the future of the bay and doing so in light of climate change and identifying which projects and concepts may survive sea level rise threats. Adams presentation will be posted shortly
It was a great night with a number of interesting q and a sessions. The meeting highlighted the tremendous interest in Jamaica Bay and the progress that is being made in protecting and understanding this unique natural resource.
February 5 2018
DEEP AREAS OF JAMAICA BAY-HARMFUL OR BENEFICIAL TO THE BAY ?
The history of accurately understanding Jamaica Bay as well as recognizing critical changes to the bay is one where the local knowledge and input has far outpaced that of Academics and Agencies. When the Marsh loss was occurring throughout the bay at a rate of 40 acres per year it was not the agencies tasked with managing or protecting the bay, namely the National Parks Service or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, that first recognized this. Rather it was the local fisherman, divers, kayaker’s and bay enthusiast’s who make up the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s who identified and documented this occurrence. The exact same thing happened when the city began to discharge massive amounts of nitrogen into the waters of the bay and fish die offs and “brown tides” were observed …again it was this local group that led the warning cry on what had happened. Time and again it is local knowledge that is first to identify a change or concern or to better understand what takes place in the bay throughout the various changing seasons. Ask a local fisherman and he can tell you when the striped bass will move in and when they move out and why that occurs when it does .
This history is important to understand as we move to a new conversation on the bay which is the deep portions of the bay, often called borrow pits or borrow areas, which can be as deep as 60 foot and which were created when those areas were dredged to fill in adjacent upland areas such as JFK airport, New Howard Beach , Or Floyd Bennett Field .
Lately there have been many in the academic area , and the agencies as well, who point to these areas and note the occasional low dissolved oxygen periods ( usually short periods of time during the high heat periods in the summer) as well as the benthic habitat present ( some areas soft mud) and see a “dead” or “low value area” . There have been some who support filling in these areas with massive amounts of fill ( that is another topic as some of that discussion focused on contaminated fill) and think that the result will be a much more productive marine environment.
To many of the active local groups such as the Ecowatcher’s this is in a word…Horrifying! it appears to shows a lack of understanding of the VALUE of these areas.
First lets talk VOLUME. Many academics see the bay , incorrectly, as a one dimensional area, such as it is portrayed on the map. You have land, marsh and then water areas. This fails to understand the massive cubic volume that the deep areas contain. These areas in essence multiply many times over the size of the park. They are noted for the presence of massive schools of fish at different times of the year. The different schools of fish, from Menhaden ( bunker) ,to Striped bass, weak fish, Blue fish all are noted , again by locals, in different depths of these “holes”. These deep areas have created a habitat opportunity for millions of fish. It is one reason why Jamaica Bay is noted for its tremendous fish life in both diversity and volume. This would not be possible without these deep areas.
Second lets talk talk Heat and Temperature. These areas act as “Heat Sinks” in that they absorb the high heat that occurs during heat waves in the summer when we see, in the shallow areas , water temperatures approaching 86 degrees ( f) . When that occurs in the shallow areas we see hydrogen sulfide conditions from the off gassing of the ulva and a big exit of marine life from those areas. In contrast the deep areas seem to present a live able habitat for many of the smaller species of fish ( that do not exit out to the ocean when the tide drops) and in these areas we see water temperatures that are much cooler.
The bottom line is that while not natural these deep areas of the bay are a tremendous benefit to the marine life of the bay and have created a situation where the bay has much more volume then if it were shallow and that volume provides both habitat and heat absorption value that is critical. This is recognized by local groups like the Ecowatchers and must be both understood and recognized by the “experts” in both academia and the agencies if they are going to fully understand what is occurring in Jamaica Bay.
We will have more in the future on this topic
January 10 2017
Recent Cold Snap Freezes Jamaica Bay.
The recent record setting cold has frozen Jamaica Bay over as has not been seen in years
January 5th 2018
Land Fills on Jamaica Bay to be funded by Governor Cuomo to help turn them into Parks
Interesting development as Governor Cuomo promises to fund the two landfills ( Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue ) that are in Brooklyn on the shores of Jamaica Bay in an effort to develop them for public park use and enjoyment. It will be a joint venture/management as the land belongs to the National Parks Service . The issue will be discussed at the next meeting of the Jamaica Bay Task Force this spring. Read article on this development Here
November 4 2017
Last Nights Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting
Great meeting last night of the Jamaica Bay Task Force. Full house turned out to hear Six presentations about great projects going on in Jamaica Bay. Below is a brief summary of those presentations with a link to the power point.
First up was Don Riepe from the American Littoral Society. Don discussed the clean up efforts that his team undertook over the summer including the great work done by his restoration Corps. This was a group of young folks who worked as a group around the bay under Don’s direction conducting cleanups ,planting spartina, and installing Osprey Nests. See full presentation HERE.
Second Presentation was a very comprehensive overview of the Army Corps of Engineers plans for numerous restoration projects in Jamaica Bay. Pete Webbler ,chief of planning, discussed the various options they have identified that are now part of the master plan for the bay. In addition Pete noted that the next round of dredging for the Rockaway Inlet is scheduled for 2018 and that the sand amount produced will be 250,000 CU which is the amount needed for the creation of a wetland island in the bay, based on previous construction techniques. The Ecowatchers have submitted numerous requests for that sand to be considered for the creation of an island near the pumpkin patch channel and they will be following this possible development closely . Pete’s Presentation can be viewed HERE
The next discussion was John Mcloughlin ,NYC DEP, presenting the latest information on the Oyster Cages that they have installed at the head of the bay. The project has shown that the oysters are growing very well and the big question now is will they discover recruitment of oyster spat and new oysters growing in the bay. The project has great implications as the oyster are natural filters and if they can begin to reproduce will have a very positive impact on the waters of the bay, see presentation HERE
The Fourth presentation of the night was Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s giving an update on the next major restoration that will break ground in Jamaica Bay –Sunset Cove. The presentation highlighted the impact that stakeholders can and have played on so many projects in the bay. In this case from the land acquisition to the funding the lead role was from the stakeholders as the ecowatchers have fought for this project for over 9 years. This project when completed will produce a project that is unlike any yet found around the bay. A wetlands, coastal forest restoration that will incorporate a raised berm as both a protective measure and a resiliency feature the project will have the unique concept of a boardwalk , using the restored Rockaway Boardwalk, to allow visitors to walk out over the wetlands to a viewing area that will double as an outdoor classroom. It will offer spectacular views of the bay and will also have an eco dock for school children to participate in studies.Exciting project see presentation here
Next up was Bill Young discussing Ecological Restoration at the Wild life refuge in which tens of thousands of new native tree species are being planted. It will be a huge benefit to the park and to the bird species in particular. In addition Bill discussed numerous projects around the bay that he has been involved with and that have made a huge impact on the Habitat of the Bay. Bill led a very enthusiastic and interesting presentation and the full discussion can be viewed here.
The final discussion of the night was made by Alex Zablocki who is the executive director of the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Park Conservancy. Alex has instilled new energy into the conservancy since taking over and highlighted a number of recent projects around the bay and in the communities around the bay that they have undertaken. See presentation here
Great PBS Story on Rebuilding Efforts Five years after Sandy for those living on Jamaica Bay and in Nyc See story Here
October 6th 2017
Mayor DeBlasio announces that the city will put an additional seven million dollars to ensure the Sunset Cove project will proceed and to close the funding Gap.
The Jamaica Bay Eccowatcher’s are extremely pleased to announce that the tremendous efforts that they have led to see the funding gap closed have been successful… the Mayor has heard us and is stepping up to ensure that this critical and exciting environmental project will be funded.
This project went out for bid in May and the bid proposals all came back far in excess of the 7 million dollars that had been secured for the project. The bids were all double that amount coming in at close to 14 million dollars. The project, which will see a restored wetland and tidal area, a maritime forest and a protective dune that will double as a walking trail, was in jeopardy and immediate action needed. The Ecowatcher’s immediately reached out to Borough President Melinda Katz, Assemblywoman Stacy Amato, State Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilman Eric Ulrich. These elected officials all helped to make the case to the Mayors team that the largest and most exciting environmental project about to take place in the city had to see the additional funds procured . Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen was critical to this effort and the Mayors office of Resiliency, led by Dan Zarilli, helped to identify additional funds in short order to ensure that the bid process would not have to be duplicated and valuable time lost. This additional funding will also ensure that the fully funded phase two portion of the project can proceed as well. That project , in the final stages of design, will then see a unique boardwalk built out of the salvaged Rockaway boardwalk lumber that will allow for an interactive experience as visitors walk out over the wetlands and will also include an eco dock that will allow for visiting school children to conduct oyster studies in the cove.
Rockaway Times Article on the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s
October 5th 2017
Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers Make Tremendous Strides to Protect The Bay
The Rockaway Vollies is a special series by The Rockaway Times highlighting the amazing local nonprofit organizations and volunteers who freely give of their time and resources to help their neighbors, not just across the peninsula and Broad Channel, but beyond.
Jamaica Bay is New York City’s largest open space – larger than Central Park, Prospect Park and Van Cortlandt Park — protected by a local band of citizen scientists. What is a citizen scientist? Just ask, Dan Mundy, Sr. and his son, Dan Mundy, Jr., both lifelong Broad Channel residents, members of the FDNY, leaders of the Broad Channel Civic Association and founders of The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers.
The Ecowatchers is an environmental organization comprised of local fishermen, kayakers, windsurfers, bird watchers, scuba divers and other Bay enthusiasts who came together to fight to preserve and enhance the great natural resources of Jamaica Bay. Though their backgrounds are varied, the members are united in their determination to see the Bay protected for future generations to come.
Mundy, Jr. says “Citizen scientists are the guys like us in Broad Channel (BC), who grew up on the Bay all our lives, swimming, diving, fishing and knowing the ins and outs of the Bay we grew up on and immensely love. We can tell you the changes in water color, temperature, and about the marine and wildlife. You don’t need a PhD for that, just a sensitivity and understanding of something we’ve grown up with all our lives.
“With the Ecowatchers, this is what I am most proud of. When we go out to meetings with scientists and experts who have doctorates, they now respect our local knowledge and sensitivity to the Bay’s needs. In the beginning it was hard to get recognition and respect, but after time, these so-called experts began to turn to us for our local knowledge, and this is why I refer to us as citizen scientists,” Mundy, Jr. said. …..read rest of story HERE
February 16 2017
New Interactive Water Quality Analysis Website
The SRIJB ( Science and Resiliency Institute at Jamaica Bay) in Collaboration with Columbia University, have recently made available access to a new website that pulls together many years of water quality data from numerous sites around the bay. It is a great new resource for both academics and bay enthusiasts alike! The Institute will continue to add more data into this system to expand its parameters. A great example of the benefit of the SRIJB in addressing the lack of coordinated data over the past for critical issues affecting Jamaica Bay. The site can be accessed HERE
January 28 2017
West Pond Breach is finally filled!
Great to report that the breach to the west pond has been finally filled . Additional construction is ongoing to protect the shoreline perimeter before it will be open to the public. This is a great step forward in our ongoing recovery from Hurricane sandy. The repair will once again allow for the west pond to be a critical fresh water water source and also allow visitors to experience the unique and popular loop trail with its fantastic views of fresh water , salt water environments and of course spectacular views of the NYC skyline. The JAMAICA BAY ECOWATHER’S led this effort calling for its repair only days after Hurricane Sandy and petitioned both our elected officials and NPS to get this addressed. National Parks Superintendent Jen Neresian did an outstanding job in procuring funding and making this happen!
DECEMBER 11 2016
SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE MENHADEN !!
Our cleaner waters coupled with the large numbers of Menhaden ( known locally as Bunker) are the reason we have been seeing such an increase in large Marine Life such as Whales and dolphins. The Menhaden are the most important single species in the sea and have been targeted by large corporations such as Omega Protein. Take action to protect them.
sign the petition to save them HERE
NOVEMBER 29 2016
GREAT NEWS THE JAMAICA BAY BILL HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW !!
GREAT NEWS–JAMAICA BAY BILL IS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR !!
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers have been working extremely hard to see that the legislation that they helped author, that would extend out for five more years the protection to the waters of Jamaica Bay, would be passed into law. We are very happy to notify everyone that the bill was signed by Governor Cuomo late yesterday and it is now indeed the law of the land!!.
We want to thank EVERYONE who helped out and called the Governors office non stop to ask that he sign this bill. Of course we also want to thank Assemblyman Goldfeder and State Senator Addabbo. This is great news and below is our release
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s are extremely pleased to learn that Governor Cuomo has signed the Jamaica Bay Borrow Pit Bill which will ensure the Bay is Protected from plans to fill its deeper portions with Contaminated fill ! Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Senator Joe Addabbo championed this effort and pushed hard to ensure its passage. The bill closes a loop hole that allowed for dredge material to be placed in the waters of the bay that would not be approved for open ocean placement due to its contaminated nature. This loop hole coupled with the expensive nature of disposing contaminated fill created a financial incentive for agencies tasked with getting rid of this type of material to look to the deep areas of the bay as attractive alternatives. In recent years they have even used inaccurate scientific basis, such as the deep areas of the bay are devoid of life, to make it seem that it would be a type of restoration effort. Environmental organizations have scoffed at such proposals noting the immense fish and marine life found in these deep areas and pointing out the fact that the dredge material contained PCB’s and heavy metals, not the type of material one would consider putting into a critical estuary.
It is fitting that this will be the final legislative effort of Assemblyman Goldfeder who was a true champion of Jamaica Bay and the efforts to see it protected and restored for future generations. We are extremely pleased to see Phil’s replacement Assemblywoman Elect Stacey Pheffer Amato immediately jump into this fight calling in to Albany in the last few weeks urging the Governor to sign this bill and make it law. She is going to be a great advocate for the Bay and has already been out to tour the bay with the Ecowatchers looking to understand the various projects and challenges that we are involved with. Going forward with great supporters like Senator Addabbo and Assemblywoman Pheffer we feel extremely confident that Jamaica Bay will continue to see great things happening!!
November 25 2016
West Pond Repair Update
The west pond repair is well underway in the effort to restore this fresh water pond. The project will restore one of the premiere experiences of the wildlife refuge …the loop trail which allows visitors to circle the fresh water pond while enjoying the spectacular views of Jamaica Bay, the fresh water pond, and the Manhattan skyline in the distance.
These photos show progress to date and the large breach already partly filled in with construction continuing . When completed the repairs will also include a water control valve to allow the pond to be drained in the future when needed.
November 16 2016
Great Turnout tonight for the Fall Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting . A full house was presented with a number of interesting presentations on projects and issues currently affecting Jamaica Bay. Below is a brief summary of the presentations and links to the full presentations
FIrst up was Don Riepe of the American Littoral Society who gave a presentation on the impacts of various types of Marine Debris that gets deposited in Jamaica Bay and the negative impacts that it has on the environment and the species that live there. Don also touched on the very big impact that religious ceremonies are having as participants leave massive amounts of debris on the shorelines and in the waters of the bay during the ceremonies and do not attempt to clean it up at the conclusion of the ceremony. Areas such as the North and South sides of the Addabbo Bridge are very popular for this type of activity
Don concluded with recommendations that he felt would be helpful including ; Signage, education, uniformed presence and enforcement. Given Don’s background as a former ranger for the National Parks Service for over 20 years it would seem that this would be a good way to address this issue.–Don’s presentation can be seen here
Next up was NPS Superintendent Jen Neresian who began by addressing the concerns that were highlighted in the first presentation and She told the crowd that they were in the process of hiring an outreach person to reach out to the Hindu Community in order to educate residents of the negative impact of not taking away the ceremonial debris. In addition she stated that NPS would have a greater presence in these areas going forward.
The superintendent then gave a detailed presentation of the current work underway to repair the breach to the west pond that took place during Hurricane Sandy. This has had a very negative impact to park attendance as the visitor experience has not been the same since the looped trail was lost. The work if moving ahead and will be concluded by June , maybe sooner,
Jens entire presentation can be viewed here.
The third presentation was given by Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s on the role of the stakeholders in the new Science and Resiliency Center at Jamaica Bay -SRIJB. Dan , along with Marc Matsil, serves as the stakeholder committee co-chair for the Institute . The focus of the presentation was a brief update on the progress of the new institute as it has now began to have a formal structure, with Adam Parris as the executive director, and is beginning to seek its role in Jamaica Bay. Dan explained that the new institute can be a tremendous positive development for the bay and its surrounding communities. The challenge will be to ensure that the local stakeholders are involved and that the wealth of knowledge that they possess not be ignored. The past history of Academic involvement in Jamaica Bay saw just such instances and it is critical that we ignore the mistakes of the past. Dan indicated that the stakeholders have a receptive ear to these concerns in the Director Adam Parris who has been working to ensure that the stakeholders are completely involved in the formation of the institute and its direction going forward. One very exciting development is the new 1.6 million dollar research vessel that is currently under construction and that will be available in June of 2017 for Institute Research
Dans Full presentation can be found here.
Fourth Presentation of the night was given by John Mcloughlin of the NYC DEP on that agencies large scale oyster project at the head of the bay. This Project seeks to discover if oyster spat from oysters hanging in large scales and suspended by Buoys would settle on substrate dispersed on the bottom below. That substrate was made up of both clam shells as well as crushed recycled porcelain toilets. This is the largest oyster project to take place in the bay to date and will give enormous data when it is concluded. Hopes are it could lead the way to numerous oyster reef creations in areas that have been identified thru modeling as ideal for spat settlement.
Johns Presentation can be viewed here
The final Presentation of the night was given by Dan Falt of the ACOE on the REformulation plan for Rockaway and Jamaica Bay to create storm resilience in the event of future storm events. Dan concentrated on the Surge Barrier that is proposed for Jamaica Bay adjacent to the Gil Hodges Bridge. The ACOE has extended its comment period to December 2nd for those looking to weigh in.
Dans Full presentation can be found here.
August 22 2016
Incorporate local values into flood protection
The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, with Princeton University, wants to understand how flood protection programs can best support the needs and values of your local New York and Jamaica Bay neighborhood.
Please help us by taking a survey at www.coastal-values.org.“
Friday July 22 2016
Williams Artificial Reef Update
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers had worked with the New York State DEC to see that the Williams Rockaway Pipeline project would require offset mitigation in the form of funding for supplemental material to be placed at the designated Rockaway Artificial reef and in the form of wetlands creation at Sunset cove. The Ecowatchers conducted dive surveillance of the reef sites and were very encouraged with what we observed. The reef material , 24 inch concrete tubes, were already covered in mussels and corral and the areas inhabited by large schools of fish including Tautog, sea bass, Fluke, small bait balls, and lobsters. This is only 8 months after the material was placed and the transformation is really amazing to see.
Tuesday July 19 2016
WATER QUALITY ISSUE IN JAMAICA BAY
There was an episode of Hydrogen Sulfide impacted water quality in Jamaica Bay over the last few days that resulted in possible die off or impact to shrimp in that area . In the photos below you can clearly see the green colored water that stands out and then you can see a large number of birds feeding on the shrimp that were alive but swimming very slowly on the surface of the water. The shrimp seemed to be impacted by this water as they were swimming slowly on the surface and you could easily reach in and pick them up—both not normally observed behavior.
Thursday July 14th 2016
LARGE DEAD SEA TURTLE DISCOVERED IN JAMAICA BAY
A local fisherman and member of the Ecowatchers discovered a large dead sea turtle floating in Pumpkin Patch Channel today. It appears to have been healthy but to have sustained some type of boat or jet ski strike to its shell. The turtle was quite large and measured 32 inches long bu 23 inches wide, The Ecowatchers secured the turtle and notified the Riverhead Foundation which sent a team to collect the trutle for a necropsy.
June 27 2016
Colonel Caldwell tours Jamaica Bay with Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers
Colonel Caldwell toured Jamaica Bay with the Ecowatchers reviewing the numerous wetland island projects that the corps has spearheaded as well as the site of the proposed surge barrier gate. The tour included site visits to possible future corps projects that have been identified.
June 21 2016
Assemblyman Goldfeder and Senator Addabbo have passed legislation in Albany to renew the law that protects Jamaica Bay and prohibits the dumping of contaminated material into the deep portions of the Bay. Areas of the Hudson such as the Manhattan Cruise terminal need to be dredged and produce massive amounts of sediment, up to 500,000 cubic yards per year and it has been found to contain PCB’S and heavy metals. Once again there are those who are looking to get rid of this dangerous material and who see the deep portions of the bay as a potential place to put it. This bill will extend the prohibition on this type of proposal for another five years and hopefully by that time we will be able to make it permanent. see entire press release here
May 5th 2016
JAMAICA BAY TASK FORCE MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and the American Littoral Society hosted another Jamaica Bay Taskforce meeting tonight and it was a very interesting evening. Tonight’s meeting saw a great crowd turn out to hear the following presentations
- NPS Superintendent Jen Neresian gave an update on the parks service plan to repair the breach in the west pond that occurred during Hurricane Sandy. The presentation was well received by the various environmental and birding groups who have been pushing hard to see this tremendous natural resource restored. The parks service committed to working with bird and terrapin groups to ensure the least impact to species nesting during the process. The full presentation can be seen here
- Dan Mundy gave an update on the local community advocacy for the Sunset Cove project and in particular phase 2 which will focus on the creation of an interactive boardwalk over the wetlands. The boardwalk will end at on octagonal shaped viewing platform which will double as an outdoor classroom . The views from this area will be spectacular as they will provide a 360 degree view of the restored wetlands and forest as well as Jamaica Bay and the Manhattan skyline. In addition there will be a path that leads down to the shoreline that goes under the boardwalk and leads to an Eco-dock which will be used to allow students the opportunity to conduct oyster studies. Assemblyman Goldfeder, who has been holding regular meetings with involved agencies to ensure a progress, spoke briefly of his commitment to this project including funding of $125,000 . In addition he spoke of his intention to renew the law in albany that prohibits the dumping of contaminated fill in Jamaica Bay, State Senator Addabbo also spoke to the crowd and has also fought to procure funding for the project which at this time appears to be and additional $175,000! Full presentation can be viewed here(state assemblyman Phil Goldfeder addressing meeting (
- The third presentation of the night was made by Patty Raffferty who is in charge of Natural Resource planning for Jamaica Bay. She discussed plans that are underway to remove invasive plants from the North and South gardens of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife and to plant thousands of new trees. This will be a great immprovement not only to the ecology of the park but to the visitor experience. They are looking for assistance in the coming weeks from volunteers and if you want to help out check out the NPS website for more info. presentation can be seen here
- Patti Rafferty then presented a second time on Horseshoe crab spawning and movement within Jamaica Bay. This was an extremely interesting presentation that showed how the NPS is using the latest gps tracking software to understand the movement of horseshoe crabs that was previously a mystery. Patty also discussed the threat of poaches who take thousands of these protected species and notification procedures of park goers should encounter this. Presentation is here
- The fifth presentation of the night was the much awaited Army Corps of Engineers Reformulation Study focusing on the back bay -Jamaica Bay Protection. When we had reached out to Dan and the Corps initially they had expected that he they would be at a point that would allow for a full presentation of this proposal. Particularly in light of the fact that it has been delayed from the initial proposed time frame. However due to internal discussions still underway about key elements of the plan Dan was not allowed to present a final preferred alternative that they had reached. To his credit Dan attempted to discuss the plan without going into full details. Basically the Corps will be choosing the alternative to build a surge barrier/sea gate. It will be proposed to be placed either just east of the Marine Parkway Bridge ( going form Floydd bennet field to the rockaway sea wall) or West of the marine parkway bridge going from Manhattan beach , near Kingsborough Community College, across to Breezy point. The Ecowatchers made the point, along with others, that they were concerned that all available modeling documents were not yet out and that they would be critical to understanding this proposal on water and marine life quality in Jamaica Bay. Also that there needed to be an adequate amount of time to allow for comments and concerns to be registered.
- Final presentation of the night was by Dan Hendricks who presented a brief trailer of his award winning documentary “Saving Jamaica Bay”. Great movie which highlights not only the amazing beauty of Jamaica bay but also the community and advocacy efforts that have gone on to save and protect it against ongoing threats. If you would like to see this great movie it will be shown on June 8th at the NY aquarium. See here for more details
SPRING ARRIVES IN JAMAICA BAY !!
While spring has not officially arrived yet and large amounts of snow geese are still present in the bay there is no denying the fact that it looks like an early spring in Jamaica Bay. –A quick cruise around the bay today and the osprey and herons are BACK and the Bunker ( Menhadden) are moving in–ALL signs that spring is HERE
Snow Geese In Jamaica Bay
February 20 2016
World Premiere of “JAMAICA BAY LIVES”
JANUARY 28 2016
SUNSET COVE PHASE 2-BOARDWALK AND MARINE SCIENCE ACCESS MOVING FORWARD !!
“When completed, Sunset Cove will present a unique visitor experience that is unmatched anywhere in this area. It will allow visitors to traverse out across and over the wetlands all while taking in the magnificent view of Jamaica bay and the Manhattan skyline. In addition, the project will provide opportunities for local schools to engage in marine science,” Mundy, Jr. said.
READ FULL STORY HERE
December 27 2015
New story on the new Artificial Reef
The Rockaway Wave———By Chris Viaggio
The ongoing civic efforts of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers’ (JBEW) have been met with more great success recently, in the form of underway additions to the Rockaway Reef, a man-made underwater reef structure that lies 1.6 nautical miles off the coast of Rockaway.
A project dating back to the ‘60s, the Rockaway Reef is a submerged linear network of concrete-coated steel piping; it functions similarly to naturally occurring reef formations in that over time it becomes an invaluable habitat teaming with diverse marine life. Over 450 new sections of this faux-rock are to be deployed off the coast of Rockaway, which will produce 16 miniature reefs in the project’s Designated Reef Zone. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has already begun to place new pieces, each 2 feet in diameter and about 15 feet long, onto the ocean floor where they will eventually become covered in northern coral (Astrangia poculata) and inhabited by dozens of species of fish and crustaceans.
Thousands of tons of rock, concrete, and steel, some of which is actually repurposed material from demolished structures like the old West Side Elevated Highway, have been installed here over the past few decades and make-up the reef as it is now. “The most current permit had sunset in 1989, resulting in no new material being added to the reef, and recent reports had indicated much of the previously placed material had silted or collapsed, degrading the habitat created,” according to a statement released by the DEC. What does still exist of these older reef sections are considered (by the DEC) to be “Essential Fish Habitat,” supporting finfish such as tautog, fluke, black sea bass and scup.
The presence of these organisms also has positive economic implications, as the project areas become prime for sport and commercial fishing, as well as recreational diving, which boosts local small businesses.
The Rockaway Reef is one of 11 sites managed by the DEC under their Artificial Reef Program—with two in the Long Island Sound, two in the Great South Bay, and six others in the Atlantic Ocean off the south shore of Long Island.
It is Williams, the natural gas company associated with the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Pipeline Project, who is paying for the $1.6 million revival of Rockaway’s iteration of the project.
Their newly implemented Rockaway Lateral pipeline, which received much contestation during its planning stages and construction, is linked to Williams’ major Transco pipeline, a 10,200-mile interstate transmission pipeline system extending from South Texas to New York City. It connects to a previously existing Lower New York Bay Lateral pipeline, which runs parallel to the coast, and continues through Fort Tilden/Riis Park then up Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, with a metering and regulating facility at Floyd Bennett Field. Rockaway Lateral has commenced with service as of this past May.
But while Williams is providing the funding for Rockaway’s reef project, it was Dan Mundy and Dan Mundy Jr. of the JBEW along with the Broad Channel Civic Association (BCCA) who had a strong hand in influencing them to do this.
Initially opposed to the Rockaway Lateral but faced with an intense bureaucratic process should they have decided to fully pursue their resistance via the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as interveners, the JBEW instead came up with a more constructive approach which pushed for a certain amount of offset mitigation on the part of the corporation proposing the pipeline. As part of this stakeholder “intervention,” the Rockaway Reef project was to be cited as a potentially compromised resource resulting from the pipeline’s construction, which eventually led to the decision to reactivate this project in particular as a required condition. The offices of both Assemblymember Goldfeder and Senator Schumer were vital political forces that converted the JBEW’s offset mitigation idea into a required condition of the project mandated by the DEC.
“We lobbied hard to ensure that this pipeline project would see an environmental ‘give back’ in the form of a $500,000 wetlands restoration project in Jamaica Bay (at the Sunset Cove site) and a $1.6 million reef replenishment project…” wrote the JBEW in a post on their website.
And this has been the case, as in addition to the recent and more forthcoming reef activity, plans and preparation for Sunset Cove’s restoration have been in progress as well—and are moving forward. That project passed one of the final steps in the approval process earlier this month when it was unanimously favored by Community Board 14. It is scheduled to begin construction in June of 2016.
“At the end of the day, I believe that this is an example of how sometimes conflicting interests, environmental groups and corporate interests, can find common ground to allow a necessary project to go forward while ensuring that any impacts of such project are offset with environmental give backs,” explained Mundy Jr. in an email to The Wave. “When completed this will result in 16 new artificial reef sections spread around the designated reef area which will be a tremendous enhancement to this amazing marine habitat and a new wetlands created in Jamaica Bay which will help to sequester and offset carbon while playing host to a large and varied number of bird and marine species.
December 12 2015
Unusually warm December weather allows for some late-season Jamaica Bay Kayaking
DECEMBER 9 2015
SUNSET COVE PROJECT MOVES FORWARD !
With the assistance of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers the Sunset Cove project passed one of the final steps in the approval process last night when it was unanimously approved by Community board 14 . The project is scheduled to begin construction in June of 2016. It is an exciting project that will see restored wetlands, high marsh, coastal forest and a protective dune created at the southern most point on Broad Channel Island in Jamaica Bay. The second phase of this project will include a Boardwalk which will allow visitors to walk out across the wetlands to a viewing platform which will offer spectacular views of Jamaica Bay and the NY skyline. In addition it will include shoreline access where oyster studies will take place with classroom children adding a unique educational component to this project. More information can be seen here
December 5 2015
Unusually large amounts of Seaweed ( ULVA ) still in the bay this late in the season
November 9 2015
Marine Debris in Jamaica Bay is a serious topic that the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers have long sought to bring attention to —it looks like we are finally getting some traction –see link for recent news tv story HERE
in addition Ny times story here
November 2 2015
ARTIFICIAL REEF CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED ON ROCKAWAY REEF !!!
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers led the effort to have Two critical environmental projects funded thru required offset mitigation from the Transco Williams Rockaway Pipeline Project. We lobbied hard to ensure that this pipeline project would see an environmental “give back” in the form of a $500,000 wetlands restoration project in Jamaica Bay (at the Sunset Cove location) and a 1.6 Million dollar Reef Replenishment Project that will see 16 new mini reefs created in the Designated Reef Zone two miles off of the Rockaway coast. The existing Reef is a remarkable ecological resource but has seen no new material placed there in over 25 years. This addition, and the wetland project , will be a huge boost to the local marine waters and shoreline habitat. We could not have accomplished this without the involvement and advocacy of Assemblyman Goldfeder and Senator Schumer. In addition the NYS DEC is to be commended for their great efforts in fast tracking this permit process that spanned the state and federal levels. Finally it is encouraging to see the Trancso Williams corporation live up to their goal of being environmentally conscious and involved and agreeing to see an environmental benefit funded thru their project.
SEE DEC PRESS RELEASE HERE
OCTOBER 30 7 2015
*JAMAICA BAY TASK FORCE MEETING*
Highlights from the Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting
State of the Bay October 29, 2015
GREAT TURNOUT !!– Over 120 people turned out to hear the latest news on the State of Jamaica Bay at the Jamaica Bay Taskforce Meeting. This was a different format as the goal was to give some history and overview to the various issues and concerns affecting the bay and the numerous projects underway and on the planning board. The format was very well received and seemed to be a great way to get folks to understand the history on many of the projects that are going on
* Initial discussion by Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers touched on the 3 Year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and the devastation that it took on all of the bay side neighborhoods as well as the entire eastern seaboard. It then moved to the history that preceded many of the projects that are now going on. This presentation would also segue way throughout all of the other 12 presentation with tie in points as to the reason why and how they became identified and funded. One of the main points was that of the local input. Which has proven critically to every major issue of concern or project that was created in the bay. The format was divided into three main topics–Habitat and wetlands/ Water Quality/ and Fish and wildlife with a number of brief presentations addressing each topic— Full presentation can be found here
* First presentation up was RULERS BAR AND BLACKWALL ISLAND RESTORATION PROJECT UPDATE-BY Elizabeth Manclarke of the American Littoral Society. Elizabeth Updated everyone on the efforts made in the last year in planting the islands with Spartina Altenflora– see her full presentation here.
Elizabeth Jordan of NYC PARKS then presented on SUNSET COVE. Elizabeth discussed project to date and timeline going forward on this exciting 15 acre project which will see wetlands/ high marsh/ maritime forest and an educational boardwalk. Great project making great progress see presentation HERE
* Next up was Venetia Lannon -Region 2 director from NYS DEC discussing the latest on the SPRING CREEK RESTORATION PROJECT– This project is moving forward and will be a huge asset to the Bay–Full presentation here
This Segment was concluded with a presentation by Peter Weppler from the Army corps of Engineers who discussed –Project Opportunities moving forward and the challenges in obtaining large sand sources for these types of projects. See Peters presentation here
The meeting then moved to the topic of Water Quality in Jamaica Bay. The background was presented including how the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s first brought up the issue of high nitrogen loading and how after many years it led to clean water lawsuit that ultimately produced the Nitrogen Agreement in 2010 – perhaps one of the most positive impacts in decades for the waters of Jamaica bay
First up under this topic was-NYC DEP OYSTER REEF RESTORATION PROJECT— John Mclaughlin to discuss the additional ways that DEP is working to improve water quality beyond the waste treatment plant upgrades. John’s presentation discussed the exciting oyster reef that will be deployed at the head of the bay . His presentation can be seen here
MARINE DEBRIS and the documentation and hurdles in removing it was the next presentation by Lisa Scheppke of the ALS. She displayed the data she has collated of where all of the marine debris currently exists in Jamaica bay including the very large amount that was created by Hurricane Sandy –See Lisa’s Presentation HERE
Water Quality discussion was concluded with an update by John McLaughlin on the Post Construction Monitoring that was required as part of the Nitrogen Agreement and of the additional data collection that NYC DEP has agreed to undertake . In particular the study of Ulva (seaweed) which will be very helpful as we try to understand the water issues around the Pumpkin patch channel which suffer from the affects of high ulva blooms. See this presentation HERE
FISH AND WILDLIFE was the final topic of the night and the first presentation was by Dan Mundy on current trends of fin fish populations in Jamaica Bay based on surveys of local fisherman. This presentation can be seen in the original one posted or here towards the end.
Venettial Lannon spoke briefly after about the DEC’s attempts to fund a comprehensive trawl study that would attempt to add a large amount of hard data to this complex discussion and one that would shed a lot of light on one of the more difficult aspects of study in the bay
Jen Neresian , the National Parks Service superintendent of the Gateway National Park that manages Jamaica Bay then presented on the parks plan to address the Breach of the west pond . Many in the room were very encouraged to hear the plans to restore this great and critical natural resource. Full presentation HERE
Don Riepe of the American Littoral Society then Presented on CURRENT WILDLIFE POPULATION TRENDS AND CONCERNS. Great Presentation on Birds and mammals within the park with some great photos to see as well. See Dons presentation HERE
The final presentation of the night was on ENGAGING COMMUNITIES IN MAPPING FLOODWATERS- by Brett Branco of the SRIJB who presented on the concept of usiing new technology to help citizens join the effort to map flood events in their neighborhoods. Brett also gave an update on the most recent developments at the SRIJB. see his presentation here
July 18 2015
RECORD NUMBER OF NESTING OSPREY IN JAMAICA BAY!!
This year the number of pairs of Osprey nesting in Jamaica Bay has hit a new record high. The Littoral Society has just conducted their 2015 survey and has concluded that this year their are 26 pairs of nesting osprey with chicks in Jamaica Bay ! This is great news and speaks to the health of the bay!
see more photos here
MAY 18 2015
Senator Schumer calls for funding for Gateway and to fix the West Pond.
“ Senator Schumer has long been an advocate for Jamaica Bay and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers applaud his effort to see this most critical National Urban Park receive the funding that it so rightly deserves. The West Pond has long been the “Crown Jewel” of this park and the only National Wildlife refuge that can be accessed via a subway ride. Once a favorite visiting experience for thousands of New Yorkers it has been mostly off limits since suffering major damage after Hurricane Sandy. The West Pond with its famous “Loop Trail” and critical fresh water environment must be restored as soon as possible. Working with our partners in the National Parks Service and with assistance and leadership of Senator Schumer we believe that the West Pond , and the entire Gateway National Park, can be not only restored but become a symbol of what a great National Urban Park can be for the millions of Americans who live within but a few miles of this National Treasure” said Dan Mundy Jr., Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers
“Having a large freshwater pond in the middle of a saltmarsh estuary has made the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge a mecca for birds and birders alike”, said Don Riepe, Jamaica Bay Guardian for the American Littoral Society. “Repairing the West Pond is critical to maintaining the Refuge’s international reputation as one of the East Coast’s premier urban hot spots for birds and other wildlife
READ ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE HERE
March 19 2015
JAMAICA BAY TASK FORCE MEETING
Great meeting tonight with a standing room only crowd! Turnout included numerous enviro groups, community board representatives, Elected officials, agency Reps and Jamaica Bay Enthusiasts Below is a description of the presentations that were discussed with links to the full presentations:
1) Don Riepe gave an excellent presentation on the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and the history on management strategies that have been implemented over the years
full powerpoint can be viewed here
2) Dan Mundy gave an update on the SRIJB- Science and Resiliency Institute at Jamaica Bay -from the perspective of the stakeholder co chair and how the very involved stakeholder community will play a key role in the work of this institiute
This was followed by an introduction by Adam Parris, who is the recently named first Director of the SRIJB, as to his background and vision for the SRIJB. Adam comes with a tremendous background and experience on resiliency issues , storm threats and Sea Level Rise and will be a huge asset to future work and studies in Jamaica bay
3) NYC DEP presentation ,by Keith Mahoney, discussed the large nitrogen reductions that the bay is now experiencing as a result of the Nitrogen Agreement which mandated upgrades to the four waste treatment plants that discharge into Jamaica bay. Great progress that is already making an impact on the water quality of the bay.
4) Dan Falt , of the Army Core of Engineers, gave a report on the Jamaica Bay Reformulation Study which is seeking the best alternative to choose in methods to keep the communities surrounding Jamaica Bay safe from future storm events such as Hurricane Sandy
5) Elizabeth Jordan of NYC Parks Dept gave an update on the Sunset Cove Wetland Restoration and Resiliency Project. Exciting project which will create one of the most scenic viewing locations along the shores of Jamaica Bay
JANUARY 30 2015
Great Report on Jamaica Bay and possible concepts for future Resiliency and Storm Measures by Catherine Seavitt and her team from CUNY. We appreciate Catherine and her team taking the time to meet with us in order to allow us to provide local knowledge and information — Read report here Here
January 11—-More Deep Freeze Photos of the Bay
see large collection of photos HERE
DEEP FREEZE HITS JAMAICA BAY AND SNOW GEESE ARRIVE
January 6 2015
Important Meeting to Discuss Future of the West Pond At the Jamaica Bay Wild life Refuge–
-all interested should attend this meeting on January 22nd at 6 pm at the wild life refuge. The Ecowatchers along with the American Littoral Society and the NYC Audubon Society have all been urging the National Parks Service to move to repair the pond and recreate the famous “Loop Trail” that was destroyed as well as return the pond to a fresh water source , so critical to the thousands of bird species that depend on it. Hope to see you there more particulars are HERE
JANUARY 3 2015
GREAT VIDEO ON THE IMPACT TO JAMAICA BAY FROM HURRICANE SANDY IN TERMS OF MARINE DEBRIS AND DERELICT VESSELS. SINCE THIS MOVIE WAS PRODUCED THE ECOWATCHERS HAVE WORKED WITH THE NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE AND THE LITTORAL SOCIETY TO SEEK A SOLUTION. LAST FALL THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS AGREED TO ASSIST AND GREAT PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE WITH MORE REMOVALS TO COME THIS SPRING.
December 30 2014
Department of Environmental Protection Completes $83 Million Upgrade to Jamaica Wastewater Treatment Plant That Will Significantly Improve the Health of Local Waterways
“We commend DEP for the tremendous investment they have made to upgrade the Jamaica Wastewater Treatment Plant and the huge nitrogen loading reduction that these upgrades are achieving,” said Daniel Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers. “The high nitrogen loading has long been a cause of water quality problems and we are extremely pleased to report that we are already noticing significant reductions in harmful algae blooms and increases in dissolved oxygen and water clarity due to the activation of this new technology. In addition, the wetland funding that the DEP has provided has already led to the restoration of two wetland islands that are not only critical to the ecology of the bay but also offer protection to the adjacent communities during storms.”
Read Full Press Release HERE
DECEMBER 19 2014
Adam Parris Named Executive Director of
Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay
The former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration division chief
will lead the SRI@JB in initiatives related to environmental protection
and coastal ecosystems in the NYC region, and beyond.
As Co Chair for the stakeholder board we are extremely pleased with the choice of Adam Parris as the first Executive Director of the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. Adam is extremely qualified and we look forward to working with him to ensure that all aspects of work by the new Science Center are done in coordination with the very active stakeholder members that have been working around the bay for over 20 years !
December 16 2014
SRIJB–Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay
The Science and Resilience institute is becoming closer to a reality as the consortium of Academic Institutions has chosen its first director and will announce the winner within the next two weeks. The Ecowatchers will be serving on the institute board as co chair in the capacity of Stakeholder Representative. On Friday December 12th a seminar was held at Brooklyn College and there were a number of presentations to address what will be the formative document that begins the process of laying out some of the history and impacts to Jamaica Bay as well as possible goals that the institution will adopt. The Ecowatchers presented ( presentation can be seen here.) a brief overview of our background and work in the bay, a response to questions posed from the board regarding the initial guiding document they are working on as well as a recommendation as to where the new institution should focus in the bay. Our view is that the new science center should seek to avoid the urge to merely produce reports but to seek to get directly involved with some of the ongoing, as well as planned, ecological projects planned for the bay and to produce studies and reports that revolve around these projects. This would truly help to make the bay and all those who live around it more resilient going forward in the threat of sea level rise and global climate change. We have coined a phrase that we feel should be a guiding principle of the Science and Resilience Center and that is –“Resilience through restoration “. We will seek to report back directly to the stakeholders of this bay thru the medium of the Jamaica Bay Task Force meetings to ensure that ALL of those who have been working for decades in the bay will continue to have their voice heard in any decisions of significance that affect the bay.
December 1 2014
Unusual number of Peregrine Falcons out and about on Jamaica Bay Today !!
October 21 2014
Ecowatchers organize Hurricane Debris Cleanup–Team up with NYC Build it Back, Amerian Littoral Society and NYC Parks and Recreation.!!
The Ecowatchers teamed up with NYC Build it Back , the American Littoral Society and the NYC parks and Recreation to clean up storm debris that has been damaging the wetland shores of Broad Channel since Hurricane Sandy.
Below after clean up
October 17 2014
DEP COMMISSIONER EMILY LLOYD TOURS JAMAICA BAY !
Commissioner Lloyd took time out of her busy schedule to tour Jamaica Bay today with the Ecowatchers. The recently created wetland islands of Rulers Bar and Black wall island were on the list of places to see along with Sunset Cove. All of these projects involved DEP funding and logistical assistance. Great to see Commissioner Lloyd has set Jamaica Bay as a high priority for this administration!!
October 16 2014
Jamaica Bay Task Force Summary !!
Great Meeting of the Jamaica Bay Task Force last night !!
Great crowd turned out at the Ryan Center at Floydd Bennett Field last night to hear the following exciting presentations:
Expansion of Oyster Pilot Study Within Jamaica Bay by John McLaughlin —Exciting proposal in which NYC DEP will expand on their prior successful oyster projects in Jamaica Bay by creating a larger open oyster reef at the head of the bay with additional receiver reefs nearby. The full presentation is available here
West Pond Update by NPS Superintendent Jen Neresian- The superintendent reported that the planning process is on track to meet the timeline previously created which will see an additional meeting held in mid November and then a finalized plan to be declared by late Winter. Jen reported that they have had a very successful scoping process and have heard loud and clear that the loop trail is critical to the experience that visitors seek when visiting this part of the park and that it will have a high priority in the final plan.
Blackwall Planting Project by Dan Mundy-Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and Elizabeth Manclarke- American Littoral Society-This presentation focused on the effort last summer to plant 35,000 spartina plugs on Black Wall Island. This island had originally been seeded in the spring of 2013 and it was discovered to be unsuccessful. The presentation highlighted the volunteer and youth group efforts that were employed to get the plants in the ground with a very minimal budget and in a short period of time. The full presentation can be seen here
US Army Corps of Engineers New York Harbor Drift Removal by Walter Scott- Great overview of the corps program for removing hazardous drift material as well as their recent efforts removing hurricane debris in Jamaica Bay. They really filled a critical void in recent months as they brought to bear heavy equipment in the removal of some very large vessels that were drifting around Jamaica Bay since Hurricane Sandy. Full presentation can be seen here
Jamaica Bay Science and Resiliency Center Update–By Peter Ventura Update on the progress to date on the science center and on recent efforts to select a permanent director. Peter discussed the efforts to date , thru the many public meetings, to establish a proper outreach to the many neighborhoods that surround the bay and the progress the various participating universities have made in drawing up the framework agreement for this center. His full presentation can be viewed here.
October 5 2014
JAMAICA BAY TASK FORCE MEETINGAT NPS RYAN VISITOR CENTER October 15, 2014 @ 6:30 PM
Address and Travel Directions — HERE
6:30 to 6:40– Sign in, acknowledgement of Elected Officials,
Agencies and Organizations present
6:40 to 7:00 NPS Update on West Pond
By Jen Nersesian, Superintendent, GNRA
7:00 to 7:20 Black Wall Island Planting Update
By D. Mundy, JBE & E. Manclarke, ALS
7:20 to 7:40 Marine Debris Removal in Jamaica Bay
By ACOE -Walter Scott
7:40 to 8:00 NYCDEP Oyster projects in Jamaica Bay
By John McLaughlin, NYC DEP
8:00 to 8:20 Progress Report on the Science
and Resilience Institute @ Jamaica Bay
There will be a brief Q & A after each session.
CO CHAIRS– Dan Mundy & Don Riepe
July 30 2014
Councilman Eric Ulrich Tours Jamaica Bay with the Ecowatchers
NYC Councilman Ulrich tours Jamaica Bay and surveys the recently created wetlands as well as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy in the form of Marine Debris that is still located throughout the bay!!
Full day of photos here
July 18 2014
QUEENS BOROUGH PRESIDENT MELINDA KATZ TOURS JAMAICA BAY
It was great to see the Queens Borough President Melinda Katz taking time out of her busy schedule to tour the wetlands and islands of Jamaica Bay. Since taking office she has shown a keen interest in helping to preserve and protect Jamaica Bay. The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers ferried the Borough President to recently restored wetland islands in the bay and gave her an update on the numerous projects underway in the bay. see addtional photos from the day HERE.
June 16 2014
Sunset Cove to receive funding thru Department of Interior Resiliency Grants!!
Big news for Jamaica Bay today as Secretary of the interior Sally Jewel flew into NYC to announce 102 million dollars for 13 projects in 11 northeast states to fund projects to make shorelines more resilient in the face of climate change. The largest funded project was the Sunset cove wetlands restoration project which will receive $4,085,000 to restore the shoreline of the southern portion of Broad Channel island. The project will see the creation of wetlands along the shoreline, a rock and oyster revetment barrier , a dune berm with a walking trail and an upland forest.
Secretary Jewel works with local school children to lower oyster cages into the waters of Jamaica Bay
More photos from the day can be seen here
JUNE 1 2014
BLACKWALL ISLAND WETLAND PLANTING PROJECT !!
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and the American Littoral Society teamed up for another great day of restoration work in Jamaica Bay. Over 70 volunteers were ferried out to the recently created Blackwall Island to plant over 5000 plants in a single day !!
This island is the second island to be restored thru the local groups coordinated volunteer approach !!
You can see more photos of the day Here .
May 13 2014
THE SONY TEAM AFTER A DAY OF PLANTING ON THE ISLAND
Great day with the Sony Environmental Team out in Jamaica Bay Today !!
The Group from Sony came out to help with the planting of Spartina Plants on Rulers Bar Island. The island was restored last year and today was an effort at replanting select areas that saw sand dunes pile up over the winter and bury some of the wetland plants. It was a great day and the team from Sony planted over 5000 plants on the island! This will be a huge help in stabilizing the shoreline edge of this critical wetlands island. Tremendous enthusiasm and effort was on display and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and the Littoral Society extend our deep thanks to this group for all of their efforts they put forth. There is a large PHOTO LINK HERE to the days work.
May 10 2014
Local Theory on Salt Marsh is Finally Accepted !!
For years ( since 2000 ) the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers have submitted that the primary cause of the salt water marsh loss in Jamaica Bay was the tremendous increase in nitrogen loading ( from 18,000 pounds a day to 50,000 pounds a day ) that occurred when the previous practice of ocean dumping of the waste treatment sludge was halted and the city of New York began processing the sludge at waste treatment plants where the discharge from the process was piped into the bay and was extremely high in nitrogen. Agencies and Scientists alike disagreed with this theory and spoke of impacts such as jet ski waves and dredging as possible main causes. The science has been coming in and it has been slowly changing their minds and now we have ( see the attached article here) an agreement at the state DEC level that we have been correct and this correlation of nitgoen spiking and marsh loss is not a coincidence. Once again proving the invaluable impact that local environmentalists play in these discussions.
May 7 2014
Task Force Meeting Summary
Last night’s task force meeting was well attended and saw four interesting presentations with an opportunity for Q and A at the end of each. The powerr point presentations will be linked to this page shortly . Below is a brief over view of the topics and discussions
1) Jamaica Bay Science and Resiliency Center –Peter Ventura gave an overview of progress to date on the Jamaica Bay Science and Resiliency Center that is now being formed and will ultimately have a physical location on the shores of Jamaica Bay. Location is yet to be determined but both Floyd Bennett Field as well as Rockaway Beach have been mentioned. The Foundation has received funding from the Rockefeller Foundation as well as a grant from the Department of the Interior. Once established it will be a collection point for all data that is produced from the numerous studies that are being conducted in Jamaica Bay as well as a collaboration of scientists working out of a number of local universities who will study Jamaica Bay and the challenges it faces in the face of global warming and seal level rise. The information obtained can then also be used in coastal communities around the Globe. The Role of the stakeholder advisory council was discussed in detail with many in the audience eager to see an opportunity for local input to play a critical role as it has been so important to date in identifying problems in the bay. Peter indicated that this was a high priority of those who are setting up the structure of this program. View Peter’s presentation here
2) NYCDEP Paerdegat Basin Natural Area Park update–John Mclaughlin-gave an interesting presentation on the restoration project that has been years in the works and only recently completed at Paerdegat Basin. The area has both a masssive CSO holding tank that can hold up to 50 million gallons of rain water as well as a large restoration park that surrounds it. The tanks hold rainwater that in the past would have caused sewage spills into Jamaica Bay and now allow it be held until after the rain event and then processed and treated. The area is now used for those who would like to enjoy the walking trails along the restored shore or thru the recently created maritime forest as well as those who now can enjoy kayaking the waters of the creek. Overall an excellent project and one that is already producing a positive impact on the waters of Jamaica Bay.
SEE JOHN’S PRESENTATION HERE
3) National Parks Service Update -Dave Avrin gave a detailed report on where the park is post sandy including the news that:
A) Fort Tilden has been cleaned up and reopened,
b) that the huge problem of Marine Debris is now the subject of three party talks between the park, the Ecowatchers and the Littoral society with a joint effort being formed to remove the hundreds of derelict vessels and debris deposited by the storm ,
c) That the Gateway Management Plan will be out within 2 days and that will allow the West pond public scoping sessions to take place regarding how to best fix the breach in the pond. A consultant has been retained and the time frame presented is now:
Early June—Agency Coordination
End of June Public Scooping meetings to begin
Late winter 2015–Public Review of Draft EA