2000-06-24 / Front Page

Funds To Fight Mosquito Problem Tidal Flow Restoration For Dubos Pt.

Funds To Fight Mosquito Problem
Tidal Flow Restoration For Dubos Pt.


Parks Department dumps beach sand in Arverne Renewal Area when it could be used to fill in locations where mosquitoes breed.  
Parks Department dumps beach sand in Arverne Renewal Area when it could be used to fill in locations where mosquitoes breed.

By John C. McLoughlin

Arverne residents received good news a few weeks back when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection announced a $3 million study and design plan to tackle the ongoing mosquito infestation in their neighborhood. The good news continued to pour in when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) revealed this week that funding will be provided for wetland restoration at Dubos Point, often referred to as "Mosquito Point."

Plans for Dubos Point and other parts of Jamaica Bay call for tidal flow restoration, which involves deepening and restoring creeks to promote circulation. This would flush out stagnant water, which attracts mosquitoes, and infusing salt water into the marsh.

In a letter to Bernard J. Blum, president of Friends of Rockaway, an environmental organization, DEC Commissioner John Cahill said that Jamaica Bay Damages Account (JBDA) funds will match U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jamaica Bay Ecosystem Restoration Program (JABERP) funding for wetlands restoration at Dubos Point in Arverne. JBDA funds derive from litigation over past illegal dumping of hazardous waste in city landfills. This included Edgemere, which received some of the worst dumping.

Blum has been trying for a number of years to gain interagency cooperation for such an approach to abating the mosquito problem at Dubos Point.

According to Blum, the New York City Parks Department has been an obstacle to this tidal flow restoration in the past. He reserves his harshest criticism for the Parks Department, an agency he believes could have done more to alleviate the mosquito problem. One such example is not using extra beach sand in mosquito breeding grounds. "Beach sand is one sediment that the Parks Department even wastes in dumping in the Arverne Renewal Area when it could have been filling the mosquito breeding trench along the north side of Decosta avenue," Blum said.

DEC said that the Parks Department will be on board with this upcoming project. The Parks Department will also apply for funds from DEC in a second round of application submissions.

The Parks Department was cited by DEC for violating tidal wetland regulations in its Dubos Point clean up earlier this year. DEC claimed that the Parks Department altered habitats, mowing marsh vegetation and smothering intertidal marsh with debris.

Blum promised to closely watch any work being done on the wetlands and to not let any agency "run amuck" in restoration work.

Study and design for tidal flow restoration in Dubos Point and other parts of Jamaica Bay are expected to be completed within the next two to four years.


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