2000-08-26 / Letters

Parks Dept. Bites

Dear Editor;

The August 14 Arverne Civic Association was well attended and copious notes were taken down. After 10 years of efforts extended to bring better management of the site, it is disappointing the Parks Department has done so little. For those worried about a cleanup reportedly NYSDEC will meet with the Parks Department in September to discuss the citation and to restore damage done. Presumably this agency, that I wrote to in 1990 to open up blocked channels where mosquitoes breed, will allow continued cleanup with improved standards for using equipment.

But to remind everyone it is the stagnant water and not vegetation that is the source of the mosquito problem. The Parks Department would apply for the first round of Environmental Quality Bond Act Funds to open the channels in a better world. But it did not and other areas with such problems were chosen instead. Desmond Bailey, president of the association, has documentation of this in printed Parks Department material I provided him. Also as the Port Authority has provided the Parks Department a grant to manage wetlands in north Queens, none is provided for Dubos Point, which it once rented from NYC.

After five years of more intensive efforts the Army Corps of Engineers and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation have agreed to combine efforts in the Jamaica Bay Ecosystem Restoration Program (JABARP). It’s really thanks to the corps scientists that any government plan is in place. It was generated by a tour last August (reported in The Wave) and those five years of attending environmental meetings and lobbying in The Wave and on QPTV, Newsday has also picked up on this fiasco of wetlands "management." So hopefully one day the channels will be open.

Since it is an emergency that has built up over the years, the public has a right to demand action-even to speed up funds. Maybe the Attorney General should be brought in to declare a "nuisance" so NYCDOH will react with more sensitivity. It is a public health issue even without a yet well-defined WNV threat. But dead sparrows were observed last year and so prevention is important.




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