2001-02-24 / Front Page

Panel To Study Wetland Loss Weiner Wants Jamaica Bay Area Preserved

Panel To Study Wetland Loss
Weiner Wants Jamaica Bay Area Preserved

Congressman Anthony D. Weiner and Gateway National Recreation Area Superintendent Marc Koenings announced earlier this week that they have convened a panel of scientists to study the recent loss of important wetlands in Jamaica Bay.

A November 2000 study released by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) shows that the Jamaica Bay wetlands, home to a number of rare animals, birds and plants, will erode completely with 20 to 25 years. Between 1974 and 1994, according to the NYS DEC, 500 acres of Jamaica Bay wetlands were lost and between 1994 and 1999, 300 acres were lost.

On March 7, Congressman Weiner and Gateway will convene a volunteer "blue ribbon panel" of highly esteemed scientists to determine the possible reasons behind the changes to the wetlands. This panel is drawn from a range of agencies and universities including SUNY Stonybrook, the University of Rhode Island and the U.S. Geological Survey. Community representatives will also have an opportunity to discuss findings and possible solutions with the scientists, Congressman Weiner and with Jamaica Bay Superintendent Billy Garrett.

"Jamaica Bay and its wetlands are some of New York City’s most valuable hidden treasures and we must do everything possible to see that they are preserved," said Weiner. "We have won victories in stopping unnecessary dredging in Jamaica Bay, but we must also ensure that the delicate habitats of the wetlands and marsh grass are carefully monitored. By bringing in world class scientists to inspect the wetlands and hear from the community, I am confident that we’ll be able to work together to stop the erosion."

Jamaica Bay is considered by many to be an ecological resource of global significance, especially because of its location within a dense urban environment. As an object of restoration and study activities, Jamaica Bay may become a model for the recovery of important urban estuaries throughout the world. The Jamaica Bay wetlands are home to many bird species including snowy egrets, Canada geese and warblers. The salt marsh itself serves a habitat for fish during the breeding cycle. Coastal areas around the bay also contain rare natural flora and fauna.

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