Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers

Our Mission

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.

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June 18th  2024

Annual Spring Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting !


Great night at the virtual Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting last night ! There was a big turnout to hear five presentations regarding Jamaica Bay. The presentations had much in common and they certainly complimented each other in their topic and details.

If you missed the meeting below are links to all of the powerpoint presentations of the night.

The first presentation of the night was by Lisa Baron, Project Manager Civil Works NY District US Army Corps of engineers, discussing the latest updated details for the design of the stony Creek wetland island, restoration as well as other restoration projects in Jamaica Bay. Lisa has been working on projects in Jamaica Bay for years is not only extremely knowledgeable on all topics regarding these restoration plans but  she is also a huge advocate for Jamaica Bay  and we are grateful to have her leading these projects.  Lisa’s PowerPoint project presentation can be seen here

The next presentation was by Andrew Rella Technical Director Of Business Development. ECOncrete-presenting on The Staten Island Living Shoreline. Andrew was actually presenting virtually from England where it was midnight and we certainly appreciate the tremendous effort. He went to the presentation and extremely interesting as it laid out how the product concrete was used in the Staten Island live in Shoreline, artificial reef to actually increase biomass accumulation to designs of concrete and title pools extrapolating out the amount of growth per square foot. It is already seen success in a short time. It was interesting to see the multiple products that the concrete people have come up with and one can envision multiple uses in the future within the Jamaica bay projects for such concepts. Andrew’s presentation can be seen here

The Third Presentation of the night was a last minute substitution as John Mclaughlin from the dep had a last minute emergency and was unable to attend. In his place Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers presented on local observations noted regarding sand migration and movement on the completed wetland islands in Jamaica bay. Dan presented aerial footage that showed how wind and water were having a tremendous impact on some the restored wetland islands, and how the sand in some cases was moving off the island to adjacent areas. The Ecowatcher’s concern was the future wetland Island should consider hardening the shoreline where hydrodynamic modeling indicates, strong currents, and large fetch will have an impact to ensure that the sand stays where it is needed to ensure the greatest likelihood of success Dan’s presentation can be seen here

The Fourth presentation was a very informative and descriptive presentation on the effects of de-vegetated marsh islands on Nitrogen levels in Urban Estuaries. This presentation by Beryl Kahn of the CUNY graduate Center and Baruck College was fascinating and showed tremendous effort in modeling these hypotheseis. This presentation dovetailed so well with all of the other discussions of that evening Beryl’s entire presentation can be seen here 

The final presentation of the night was made by Eric Rothstein, Managing Partner of E-Design Dynamics presenting on, presenting on the proposed tidal wetland marsh restoration project at Black Bank Marsh in Jamaica Bay. This is a very encouraging and exciting proposal to restore between 35 and 50 acres of the black Bank marsh area within Jamaica Bay. This is severely needed as this marsh area has degraded over the last 50 years and this project would help to preserve this marsh which also acts to protect the west pond.  The presentation detailed how they would seek to create a protective berm area with the wetlands behind the protective edge and a tidal Channel to feed the wetlands, Eric’s full presentation can be seen here


April 19 2024

Great news for Jamaica Bay!!

The Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s have been working for years to highlight the major problem of  Marine Debris ( abandoned boats , docks etc) that litter  the shorelines and wetlands of not only Jamaica Bay but all of New York’s waterways. For many years we worked in a voluntary capacity to try to remove these vessels, which is a very arduous task as they are large in nature ,take heavy equipment to remove and great resources. We want to commend Councilwoman Ariolla and Councilwoman  Brooks-Powers, for listening to us, and working to create legislation that has now created an agency within New York City Parks Dept, that will be tasked with addressing these items. Prior to this there was no agency that would step up to address these items and this is going to make a huge difference in helping to clean our waterways and shorelines.

Read great article on this news HERE


April 1 2024

What is next for Jamaica Bay in terms of Restoration Projects and how did we get here ?

The following is just a brief summary of some accomplishments and also some exciting times that we will see in the near future for Jamaica Bay in terms of restoration projects, and a brief description of how these projects came to be and the fight for the funding that took place in order to achieve these successes .Below, you can see some imagery that depicts the next round of wetland island restoration work that we will see in Jamaica Bay. The most recently completed project is also noted, (the West pond living shoreline)  This project came about when the Ecowatcher’s recognized that the area of this area of shoreline, south of the west pond,  had seen a tremendous amount of erosion and at the west pond was in danger of breaching again. We brought this issue to light and looked to find a solution. The Jamaica Bay  Rockaway Park conservancy stepped in to do an analysis and ultimately pay for design work for the plan to place sand adjacent to this area and plant wetlands as a buffer, but the problem remained who was going to pay the $7 million for the project. The Jamaia Bay Ecowatcher’s were able to lobby to use the funds that they had secured from their nitrogen consent agreement (that they brought against the city of New York in 2008). These funds were set aside when they argued throughout that process that in addition to the hundred million dollars that needed to be spent to upgrade the four waste treatment plants the city needed to create a fund to pay for Wetland restoration. That fund  (15 million) was part of that agreement and initially paid for Rulers bar Island and  also for Blackwall Island, two large restoration projects off the west side of Broad Channel that were completed by 2014. This $7 million allocation ( for the west pond living shoreline) was the  remaining balance of those  funds. This was all monies well spent but that used up the last of the funds allocated for wetland island restoration projects. The Ecowatcher’s then  set out to make the case for additional Wetland islands, including Stony Creek, Duck point, Pumpkin, patch and for more work to be done at Elders point islands. We worked to have these nature based features quantified in the Army Corps engineers analysis for their storm attenuation value. This meant that in addition to the ecological value they would also be recognized for storm wave attenuation value. This was achieved and was a huge milestone and guaranteed these islands making the final cut for the list for the Hudson Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan (HRE PLAN) for this area. Good news, but it did not bring any funds forward to pay for these project…. fast forward to the New York State DEC consent order against the New York City DEP for Thurston and Bergen basins. Two  areas that did not meet not water quality standards, The Ecowatchesr’s were able to insert themselves into this ongoing negotiation ,based on their previous history of working with the state in the nitrogen agreement. We made the case that the best way forward for Thurston /Bergen basin was to look for a holistic approach that the DEP was offering, which was ;a certain amount of dredge work to create better water flow ,massive ribbed muscle restoration projects ( to use their water filtration abilities to clean the waters) and then we pushed for a dedicated Marsh wetland restoration fund. This fund ultimately would be any amount of $75 million in final consent agreement. This now created a second wetland fund for Jamaica Bay ( the first one being the 15 million as a result of the Nitrogen agreement ) The state agreed with the Jamaica Ecowatchers that the 75 million would have an extrapolated value when it could be used as a local match for the wetland islands that had made it into the HRE Plan …so now we had approved Wetland Islands with the engineers and now we had a local match of funding.  Then  in 2022 the Ecowatcher’s organized a series task force conference calls with New York State assembly women Stacey Amato, as a result of these calls the Ecowatcher’s, were able to lobby directly with Senator Schumers’s office and push for funding to start the next Wetland island ,which would be stony Creek. Senator Schumers Office came through with $18 million which has now been allocated towards the next Wetland island,Stony Creek. The design is well  underway and local match funds are now available because of the Bergen/Thurston basin consent agreement .Connecting the dots, advocating for this amazing resource that is Jamaica Bay, and getting elected officials to step forward is what we do and we now have multiple projects on horizon coming down the Pike for the future of this great estuary.

Future wetland restoration projects

Wetland island identification in jamaica bay 

DEP funding from Thurston/Bergin Basin Consent agreemtent which the Ecowatchers had helped to create


December 5 2023

Jamaica Bay Taskforce Report–FALL 2023

On November 30 2023 the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s  and the  American Littoral society hosted the annual Fall Jamaica Bay Task Force meeting, via zoom. This was a very interesting  meeting with over 70 participants  including many agency representatives as well as individuals representing various environmental stakeholder groups from around the bay. There were five interesting presentations along with a question and answer session after each presentation. It was a great night to catch up on so much that is going on in Jamaica Bay . Below is  a brief summary of those presentations with a link to the PowerPoints that were presented.

The first presentation of the night was given by Lisa Baron of the Army Corps engineers discussing the stony Creek wetland Island project. Lisa presented a number of slides and information pertaining to where this fully funded project currently is at regarding design concepts and ideas as well as data collection that has been made to date around Jamaica Bay. The Jamaica bay Eco watcher’s were instrumental in working with Senator Schumers Office to procure $18 million which will fund the build out of this Wetland Island.. Lisa presentation was very interesting and indicated the tremendous amount of work that has been done by her team to date… the full presentation can be found here

The second presentation of the night was given by Dan Mundy Junior of the Jamaica Bay Eco watcher’s. Dan presented a number of interesting drone footage slides, showing the current state of the wetlands at Big egg and Little egg marsh islands.  In particular the notable amount of wetlands that has been lost to date in these areas. The Jamaica Bay  Ecowatcher’s had worked with the Corps of engineers and our stakeholder partners many years ago to see the inclusion, within the Hudson Raritan Estuary (HRE) plan for certain wetland islands that were severely degraded at that time ,and it  is great news that after many years, they are finally seeing actual work begin. However other areas around the bay have seen noted Wetland loss and the goal of the Ecowatcher’s at this time ,and demonstrated during this presentation ,is to highlight these additional areas that now need to be included in the  Hudson Raritan Estuary plan. Dan and the Ecowatcher’s feel strongly that many of the older peat based marsh islands are still suffering from the long-term effects of the high nitrogen loading that the DEP plants had put into the waters prior to their upgrades. Now ,due to tremendous DEP investments, those nitrogen levels have dropped dramatically and the new wetland islands are flourishing but areas such as Big egg and Little Egg are in need of remediation and need to be added to the HRE plan. Dans powerpoint can be viewed here

The third presentation of the night was given by Christopher Haight. Chris is an  Ecologist at the New York City Parks Dept and gave  an overview of the recent New York City Parks Dept, wetland project in the hook Creek Park area using thin layer sediment to restore marsh Islands. Chris’s presentation was very interesting in highlighting another methodology that can be used to create the wetland islands that have disappeared and in particular to bring in sediment in a different manner and increase elevation within those areas that have seen subsidence, Chris entire presentation can be seen here

Our fourth presentation of the night was given by Terry Carter, Executive Director of the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy. Terry gave very an insightful update and overview of the West pond Living shoreline Wetland restoration project. This project created a buffer ring of wetlands on the south shore of the National Park Service’s West Pond at the  Jamaica Bay wildlife refuge. This project was an attempt to create habitat but also to create a nature based feature to protect the shoreline from the south fetch that threatens to breach the pond. Terry’s presentation highlighted the many challenges they faced and current observations on plant growth. The overall assessments are very positive and many lessons were learned from this project that hopefully can be implemented elsewhere in Jamaica Bay. Terry’s entire project can be seen here.

The final presentation of the night was given by Russ Cameron of the South Shore Audubon Society regarding the current status of the eastern west pond management plan. The  sentiments of the south shore Audubon Society regarding  time frames,  concepts and management changes were all hit on during this presentation.  Russ gave a great overview of the history on Jamaica Bay, and in particular the critical importance of the east and west Ponds to the  many migratory birds that count on this estuary to make their migration. Russ indicated  that the South-shore Audubon  wanted to see a faster resolution to the planning for management changes, and that many other concept that the American Littoral Society had previously supported were ones that they also would like to see followed thru on such as view shed areas, bird feeders and bird houses, and that the National Parks Service was moving to slow on implementing this plan.


Today we held the ribbon-cutting for the Sunset Cove boardwalk and outdoor viewing and learning overlook!!
The Jamaicabay Ecowatchers and the broad channel civic association have been working to see this project come to fruition for over 10 years
our goal was to be able to provide an opportunity for folks to come down and see the spectacular sunsets and views of Jamaica bay, and in addition, provide an area where children can go out and learn about the importance of the bays ecology, and in particular the wetlands by putting them out over the wetlands and close to the water
it is clear to see by the results achieved that we have met both of these objectives.
The construction of the boardwalk includes the reconditioned lumber from the old boardwalk in Rockaway that was washed away by hurricane Sandy,
initially there was no funding for this project and we went out to seek sources including :the governors office of storm Recovery. the Queens borough president’s office, the council and assembly representatives as well. It was a long fight to make this a reality and some big thank youse should be noted
first – assemblywoman Assemblywoman  Stacey Amato for holding and hosting over 30 task force meetings to help us get through the bureaucracy and red tape this would not have happened without this, great partnership
to Elizabeth Jordan the lead architect and lead project manager for New York City Parks who did an outstanding job in every aspect of overseeing this project.
We also want to thank Joann Ariola NYC Council District 32Joanne Ariolla and Queens Boro President Donovan Richards as well as for their support and help and funding
as well as our partners at the national park service
it’s really an amazing asset and a beautiful location and we highly recommend that folks go out and enjoy this beautiful location …in particular the sunsets are so worth the visit


March 31 2023

Marine Debris Removed from Jamaica Bay !!

Big Thanks to Council Member Joann Ariola for funding this abandon boat removal effort once again in Jamaica Bay these boats are not only eyesores but they are harmful to the environment of the Bay they leak oil and other harmful chemicals and also come to rest on sensitive ecological areas such as recently restored wetlands where they destroy the habitat . The Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s have continue to document the location of these vessels and with the Councilwoman’s advocacy and funding we are able to get them removed. these vessels shown come from different portions of the bay including the Western portion of Jamaica Bay as well as Barbados basin in Far Rockaway .This effort is in addition to the councilwoman recently working to pass the abandoned vessel bill legislation in the New York city council with Council Member Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. together these two representatives have passed the first legislation that will finally address the issue of abandoned vessels and other marine debris that is currently not addressed by any federal , state or city agency.

Cleaning up the Shoreline of Jamaica Bay !!

On Saturday, November 19 a group of dedicated Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s joined up with the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy team and cleaned the shoreline down along the  all American ballfields. A tremendous amount of debris was removed from along the shoreline bagged and stacked for cleanup on Monday by city Parks crews.  while it was cold out it did not hamper the efforts of those who turned out and did a great job. Once again almost all of the debris found falls into two categories. one is debris from fisherman who leave bottles cans and fishing debris  when they are down fishing. The second is ceremonial debris including cloths and coconuts ,aluminum trays ,and ceremonial statues.  Sad to see the people who are coming down and enjoy this area cannot take their debris with them when they leave. thank goodness for clean ups like this that help us address this issue!!



The Annual Fall meeting which was held on Thursday November 17th 2022 was great night ! With over 60 people in attendance the night offered a number of very interesting presentations of plans and projects that will affect Jamaica Bay presented by Agencies and stakeholders. Many of those in attendance represented various environmental groups from around the bay so as always this is a great forum for getting out this type of information . Below is a brief recap of the meeting with links to the presentations .

The first presentation of the night was Lisa Barron from the Army Corps of Engineers who gave  an update on the next two fully funded and designed projects that are  set to go in JAMAICA Bay The Spring Creek North project and the Stony Creek wetland island project. Both projects will bring  tremendous environmental benefits to the Jamaica Bay , in particular in the stony creek wetland island will build on the previous successes of wetland islands that the CORPS has accomplished in Jamaica Bay.  Some of the benefits noted are: carbon sequestration, nitrogen sequestration, the islands clean the atmosphere clean the water and play host to a tremendous array of various species including Osprey, Horseshoe crabs, Menhaden, Terrapins, Striped bass, Blue Fish and more. Lisa’s full presentation can be seen here  

The next presentation was given by John Mclaughlin from the NYC DEP. John has a tremendous history of working in and advocating for Jamaica Bay. His presentation was focused on using wetlands and mussels to increase water quality. This concept and plan is  tied into the long-term control plan for Jamaica bay which is a state mandated series of actions that the DEP will take to address the Thurston and Bergen Bashan CSO water quality issue .  The Jamaica Bay Ecowatceher’s have been directly involved in these negotiations and thru our  efforts we were able to see a linkage from this agreement and the funding of $75 million in wetland Island restoration which will connect with the Hudson Raritan Estuary plan for Jamaica bay and in particular those wetland islands.  Johns full presentation can be seen here 

The third presentation of the evening was given by Patty Rafferty who is chief of natural resources for the gateway national recreational area -Jamaica Bay Unit. Patti updated us on the east and west plan stewardship plan which was rolled out last fall. To stakeholder feedback and comment. Has now ended and she was able to update us on what type of feedback they received  and  the next steps the national Park service will be taking to implement these changes at both east and west Ponds.  Pattie’s full presentation can be seen here

Don Riepe of the Jamaica Bay Guardian gave the 4th presentation of the night which was a response to the National Parks service presentation of the east and west pond stewardship plan. Don served as the refuge manager for many years and has been disappointed lately with the management of both the east and west ponds. Don presented a series of ideas and concepts that he and other birding groups think should be implemented in order to better manage the East and West Ponds and provide for a better visitor experience.  During the comment period many other organizations supported Don’s ideas and indicated that the National Parks Service should take them under consideration.

The final presentation of the night was given by Bryce Wisemiller of the Army Corps of Engineers. Bryce covered and amazing amount of material in a very thorough and informative manner. His discussions surrounded the recently released Harbor and Tributary Storm management plan known as the HATS study. This is a extremely large in scope federal plan that seeks to create ways to prevent storm surges along much of the north east coast. Bryce concentrated his presentation on the Jamaica bay plans and impacts . This is a massive plan involving thousands of pages within the document and it was extremely helpful  to have Bryce break this down for stakeholders, in addition Bryce , and ACOE staff present, offered a number of options for those who chose to dive deeper into this bulletin on how and where to find the information that they were seeking. Bryce’s full presentation can be viewed here

Overall this night was extremely successful and offered all in attendance an opportunity to stay abreast of the many great plans that are out there that will affect you Jamaica Bay  and an opportunity to be involved with the planning processes.


July 11 2022


Poaching remains a major problem in Jamaica Bay as the waters have gotten cleaner and as the habitat has been restored the good news is there are more fish and wildlife in the bay than ever before. The bad news is that unscrupulous folks think they can poach in the bay for their own personal gain. These people have no regard for this amazing natural resource. The good news is that the National park service police were out and about doing a great job of protecting the bay the photos below show over 1500 crabs that were taking and over 500 clams. This enforcement activity was done in concert with the  JAMAICA BAY Ecowatchers .  We  we have been working to supply the national Park service police with the locations and times where poachers have been spotted . Great job by the Park service police .Hopefully people will get the message that this type of illegal activity will not go  unpunished


Jamaica Bay Task Force Zoom Meeting,

 May 11 2022
Wednesday  May 11 
Great Task Force Meeting last night with almost 100 folks in attendance!!
Below is a brief breakdown of the presentations and where available a link to the presentation online that can be viewed .
The Jamaica Bay task force continues to be the primary medium for bringing together environmentalist and concerned citizens who care about Jamaica Bay and providing a forum to learn what is the latest projects and studies going on as well as concerns that may exist. Multiple city state and federal agencies have participated over the years as well as the many academic institutions and their scientists as well last night we heard from the following presenters
First up was Don Riepe of the American Littorall society to to discuss his vision for a management plan for the wildlife refuge. Don brings his many years as an environmentalist as well as his decades of experience working for the national Park service. Don put fourth many interesting and valid points on how the wildlife refuge could be better run in particula his focus was on getting staff more engaged out on the trails doing work that needs to be done and engaging visitors. you can view Dons Presentation HERE
The second presentation of the night was John McLaughlin of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection showing the data he has collected on the value of rib muscles to a estuary such as you Jamaica bay in particular the filtration abilities of the Mussels for the tributaries of the Bay… great presentation can be viewed HERE
The third presentation of the night was presented by Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s discussing and Thin Layer Placement  (also known as Adjacent Sediment  slurry Enrichment placement ) and how this method to restore  degraded wetlands has become recognized around the country including with the Army Corps of Engineers  as a viable ways to save marsh areas that have small areas that need additional sediment
Dan’s presentation can be seen here
The fourth presentation of the night was made by Alex Zablocki of the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Park Conservancy highlighting the recently completed living shoreline at the west pond of the wildlife refuge this project was just completed and he’s going to bring a soft edge to the west pond to protect it from storms and create additional habitat you can see Alex’s presentation here.
The final presentation of the night was made by Lisa Barron of the United States Army Corps of Engineers giving an update on the Wetland restoration projects that are planned for Jamaica bay in particular the recently announced Stoney Creek project which has full funding and is moving forward …Lisa’s presentation is available Here


April 1 2022


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 !

March 2022

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


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:

* Securing the 4 million dollars in funding for the West Pond wetlands Restoration Project which will protect the West Pond at the wildlife refuge for years to come!
* Secure 1.2 Million in the Infrastructure Bill to allow for the Army Corps to design additional wetland islands in Jamaica Bay. These islands are the heart of the bay and are critical to both water quality and habitat
* The removal of multiple abandoned boats and marine debris throughout the bay
*Complete the funding, design and Bid process for the Sunset Cove Wetlands Boardwalk which will allow children and adults to walk out over the wetlands at Sunset cove to a learning center overlook with views of the Bay, the wetlands, and the magnificent NYC skyline.
A special thanks to Assemblywoman Amato, Senator Addabbo and Councilman Ulrich for all their assistance in accomplishing these major goals.
We look forward to 2022 and building on our continued success in preserving and protecting Jamaica Bay !


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



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


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


The press release below (and associated link) describe the project which will protect the west pond while creating wetlands and habitat. The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers were able to procure the full funding for this project -$4,000,000 by tapping into the special wetland fund that they had created when they brought a lawsuit against the city in 2008. The Jamaica Bay Rockaway parks conservancy spearheaded this project and did a fantastic job in creating a living shoreline design that will be a huge asset to the health of the Bay.
Link to project details HERE   
and additional photos and info HERE
Press Release
Gateway National Recreation Area
Public Affairs Office
210 New York Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Gateway National Recreation Area News Release
Contact: Daphne Yun, Public Affairs Specialist
Phone Number: 917-282-9393 (cell)
Date: June 7, 2021
Living Shoreline and Restoration Project Begins at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Queens, N.Y. – The National Park Service (NPS), in partnership with the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, a project of the Fund for the City of New York, is pleased to announce the groundbreaking of an innovative living shoreline and restoration project at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Gateway National Recreation Area (Gateway). This green infrastructure project, designed by Dirtworks Landscape Architecture PC, Rippled Waters Engineering and Great Ecology, will provide a resilient edge along the Refuge’s West Pond, an area breached during Superstorm Sandy and repaired by NPS in 2017.
The West Pond Restoration Project will restore 2,400 linear feet of heavily eroded shoreline at the Refuge with the placement of 44,000 cubic yards of sand creating nearly 9-acres of new marsh habitat. The project includes a living shoreline that will provide a resilient edge to protect against climate change and sea level rise encompassing over 200,000 new native plantings, a 5,000 oyster shell bag breakwater system and natural erosion control features utilizing recycled trees and bio-degradable coir logs. Construction of the project is being led and managed by the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy.
“Our investment post-Sandy repairing the West Pond breach was only the first step. This project will protect the most vulnerable area of the pond from storm surge for years to come, while restoring valuable habitat,” said Jen Nersesian, Gateway superintendent. “We appreciate the support of our partners. This is a great demonstration of what we can accomplish together – a mark of true resilience.”
“As a partner of the National Park Service and Gateway National Recreation Area, the Conservancy is ready to restore this vulnerable edge of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge at West Pond with a living shoreline that will protect the pond and trail from extreme weather and climate change while enhancing visitor experience and the ecology of the bay with hundreds of thousands of native plants,” Tom Secunda, Chairman, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy said.
“Construction of this innovative living shoreline project is only possible through partnership and the Conservancy recognizes the work of governmental agencies, elected officials and local organizations like the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and American Littoral Society for supporting the project through design and ensuring that the project be built in Jamaica Bay. This project will create acres of new habitat at the refuge while enhancing and protecting West Pond and the beloved loop trail,” Alex Zablocki, Executive Director, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy said.
“The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, under the leadership of its chair and executive director continues to be a leader in environmental conservation in Jamaica Bay and Rockaway with its impressive award of $4 million to construct a Living Shoreline at West Pond. Our city and state and visitors to Gateway National Recreation Area will benefit greatly from this project,” Lisette Nieves, President, Fund for the City of New York said.
The project development team includes the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) which is providing 120 cubic yards of shell for the project from their citywide Oyster Shell Collection and Recycling Program. Volunteers worked with BOP on Governors Island to fill bio-degradable bags with cured shell that will be delivered to the site during construction to build out the unique breakwater feature.
“This restoration project has been a true collaboration between our crew at Billion Oyster Project, shell collection restaurant partners, and dedicated volunteers, said Pete Malinowski, Executive Director of Billion Oyster Project. “We can’t wait to witness the habitat these oyster shells can create for Jamaica Bay’s remarkable marine wildlife.”
The project began in mid-May and is expected to be completed by early fall. Funding for the project was made possible through private donations and the Nitrogen Settlement Fund, in partnership with the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the NYS Attorney General’s Office.
The Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s are proud to have worked with this great collaborative group on this amazing resiliency project which will protect the West Pond, long considered the crown jewel of this national park. This effort, led by the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s is a great example of a unique partnership that pulled together multiple resources in a short time to address
this emergency condition,” Dan Mundy, Jr., Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s said. “Multiple bureaucratic hurdles were overcome by the direct and consistent assistance of Assembly Member Amato who chaired a monthly task force on this effort. Her efforts and those of Senator Addabbo helped to streamline this process, cut red tape and make this concept a reality! We are pleased to know that the West Pond will now be protected by new wetlands which will not only provide storm protection for the pond but will also provide new habitat in the bay. It is fulfilling to know that future generations will be able to enjoy this amazing resource,” Dan Mundy, Jr. concluded.
“West Pond’s restoration and living shoreline is a meaningful project for Dirtworks’ portfolio. It strengthens our commitment to resiliency, sustainable design and stewardship of the land. We hope the expanded high and low marshes and living shoreline will be an important project for resilient coastal design strategies; particularly as we see our coastlines and coastal cities changing. We are grateful for the collaborative effort among the inter-governmental agencies, NPS, JBRPC, and project stakeholders – all who helped expedite the protection of this vital freshwater habitat” Britt Zuckerman, Project Manager, Dirtworks Landscape Architecture PC said.
“Creation of a Living Shoreline and working with nature will help solve the erosion threatening the West Pond trail as well as add additional marsh habitat to the bay. This project will benefit marine life and also enhance the visitor experience at the refuge,” Don Riepe, Jamaica Bay Guardian and Jamaica Bay Director, American Littoral Society, said.
About Gateway National Recreation Area
A large diverse urban park spanning two states, Gateway combines recreational activities with natural beauty, wildlife preservation, military history and more. Visitors can hike, picnic, swim, sunbathe, bike, visit the oldest lighthouse in the nation, see an airplane collection and camp overnight, all in the New York metropolitan area. Gateway is one of the ten most visited national parks in the country. For information about Gateway’s upcoming public programs, see the park’s website at www.nps.gov/gate. Follow Gateway on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @GatewayNPS.
About Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) is a public-private partnership established in 2013 that is dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula for local residents and visitors alike. With its partners at the National Park Service, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, JBRPC works to expand public access; increase recreational and educational opportunities; foster citizen stewardship and volunteerism; preserve and restore natural areas, including wetland and wildlife habitat; enhance cultural resources; and ensure the long-term sustainability of the parklands. The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, Inc. is a partner project of the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY). FCNY is a Philanthropic Partner with the National Park Service. For more information about JBRPC, visit


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 . 



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


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


November 14 2019


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


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


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


June 8th


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 !!




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

Jane Herndon , manager of Environmental Programs -Aviation Department PANYNJ was the first presenter. Jane described major updates that will be undertaken at JFK during the multi billion dollar redevelopment overhaul of the terminals. Perhaps the biggest news on a long standing issue was the plan to make recapturing the glycol deicing fluids a part of the reconstruction work . This would be a very positive development as currently the harmful deicing fluids all dump directly into the waters of Jamaica Bay. The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers have long fought against this harmful practice and this Will be a very positive development for the waters of Bay. Mrs Herndon indicated that a minimum of 60 % recapture would be mandated. Additional details will be available soon as they will have a better sense of the full details as the design plans develop. In addition Mrs Herndon indicated that a number of environmental upgrades will accompany the redevelopment including the recapture of rain water and the conversion to electric vehicles for airport vehicles that are currently gas or diesel .
The second presentation of the night was made by Steve Zahn -NYS DEC Region 2 director. Steve gave an update on the Spring Creek South restoration plan. This plan was proposed by the state and submitted to FEMA as a HMGP ( Hazard Mitigation Grant Plan) which would see the federal government funding the plan. FEMA funds such plans based on the ability of the plan to incorporate protective flood measures which the DEC incorporated into this plan . The DEC has been been working on this plane for over two years so it was very upsetting to learn that FEMA has now indicated they maybe withdrawing support for this plan.  FEMA based there changing position  on the cost benefit analysis that was done. This is a formula that must be used to support federal programs this very same formula has been very problematic to all of the communities who are seeking residual risk flood measures from the Army Corps of Engineers. Many of those projects were also  rejected based on the cost-benefit analysis .Many concerned residents  saw this as a flawed methodology and once again now in the case of Spring Creek South it appears  that a project that would’ve brought great benefits to both the ecology  and to flood protection measures for the neighborhood is now being canceled due to   this this method of assessment. You can view Steve’s Presentation Here 
Leslie Wright NYC Regional Director for NYS Parks then gave a presentation on the new park being created on the site of the old PENN and FOUNTAIN ave landfills. The Shirley Chisholm State Park will be opening this summer. Leslie  gave a very interesting interesting presentation on this massive new park that will be available and open this summer .Biking and hiking trails with magnificent views at the top of the park which has an elevation of 130 feet  and allows visitors to see the Manhattan skyline as well as the Atlantic Ocean. The Park is seeing  a $20 million investment  and will have additional upgrades in phase 2 after it opens this will be a great addition to the parks  that surround Jamaica bay and you can view Leslie’s full presentation here
Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s gave the next presentation  on the current status of the Sunset Cove Restoration Project. Sunset Cove is currently the largest environmental restoration project ongoing in Jamaica bay. This 12 acre site is now nearing completion and will be done within two weeks time and is currently the largest environmental restoration project ongoing in Jamaica bay. The project has brought  tremendous change to the area at the southern tip of Broad  Channel . The shoreline location saw thousands of cubic yards of contaminated fill removed ,clean sand brought in, tidal channels established and thousands of plants put into the ground.  Dan additionally  explained that there will now be a volunteer planting  initiative starting June 8 and all volunteers are welcome . This park will have stunning views of Jamaica bay with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop in addition as phase 1 is now wrapping up the Ecowatchers are now working on phase 2 which will see a boardwalk   installed so that additional access will be made available and in particular an outdoor classroom for young children to learn about the critical nature of this wetlands environment . There will also be an eco- dock  which will allow for children to learn about oysters .Full presentation can be seen here
Don Riepe ,American Littoral Society , gave the last presentation of the night. Don gave an update that ranged from the plant life at the wild life refuge with suggestions on additions that could be made that would enhance both the visitor experience and at the same time support more wild life, to the latest activities of the Littoral Society. They have been active on the bays shoreline conducting multiple cleanups in which thousands of pounds thousands of pounds of debris have been removed they’re are also getting ready with their restoration core  for this upcoming summer. The restoration core sees Young adults hired to work around the bay under the guidance of the literal society . They will conduct cleanups and studies around the bay which allow for these young folks to learn about the Bay while improving the bay and contributing to the knowledge base of the bay. Dons full presentation can be viewed here.
Following Dons presentation Lauren Cosgrove of the national Parks conservation association gave a quick update on their activities to seek funding for Jamaica Bay and this  national Park . Lauren advised  the group that they have met with Congressman Meeks and he’s supporting legislation that seeks to fund all national parks that need maintenance upgrades . Jamaica bay and the gateway national recreational area would benefit greatly from this legislation .Lauren will keep the group posted as the legislation moves forward with that the meeting was adjourned.


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.



April 25 2019


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


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.

New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries
Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study
 Scoping...

 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

Donor System Installation: Sept 2016
  Maria Roe & Alexandra Kanonik gave the fourth presentation of the night and it was one of the most interesting that we have seen. These two researchers laid out  the latest research on Terrapins ( turtles) in Jamaica Bay with focus on changing populations and sizes and the attempts to use GPS to track.  Very enlightening discussion and amazing to see this type of bio diversity that Jamaica Bay Supports –full presentation HERE


 “How are terrapins doing”?
What we learned about the Jamaica Bay population
after 20 years of mark-recapture work


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


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 !



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

Image may contain: 17 people, people smiling, people standing, sky, ocean, outdoor and nature

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


(image credit stony brook university )

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.

Boardwalk Entry Plaza Sunset Cove-03-14-2017


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


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

Image result for whale photo feeding on menhaden


NOVEMBER 29 2016


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.

dsc_5061dsc_5057dsc_5067These 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

VOODOO: Ghede Nibo is considered a great healer, carrying a bottle of white rum He often also carries a staff and smokes a...

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,

West Pond project GATE 201449 9 Current Project Work Water Control Structure Current Project Work Secondary Breach Repair ...

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

SAC-Stakeholder Advisory Committee • The American Littoral Society Eastern Queens Alliance Environmental Defense Fund Huds...

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.

10 Construction

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.

BUILDING STRONG® Tentatively Selected Plan

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

Screenshot (443)Screenshot (500)

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


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


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

IMG_4200Colonel Caldwell Commanding officer of the New York District of the Army Corps of Engineers  along with Lisa Baron and Pete Webbler from the ACOE and Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher’s.

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


Dan Hendrick, JBTF meeting, 5-5-16

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

  1.  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     Jen Nersesian, JBTF meeting, 5-5-16
  2. 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 herePhil Goldfeder at JBTF mtg., 5-5-16(state assemblyman Phil Goldfeder addressing meeting (
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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



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


GoldfederPark“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.



December 27 2015

New story on the new Artificial Reef

The Rockaway Wave———By Chris Viaggio

 These photos capture the deployment of new sections of the artificial reef 1.6 nautical miles off the coast of Rockaway. These photos capture the deployment of new sections of the artificial reef 1.6 nautical miles off the coast of Rockaway.