2001-09-08 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks & Stones by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

Sprayview Sticks & Stones by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

Anyone who has noticed a "Forever Wild" sign or two at Dubos Point in Arverne should find it more accurate to consider it Commissioner Stern’s "Forever Wild Mosquitoes" gift to the site, since his presence at the dedication back in 1987.

The Friends of Rockaway arranged for the dedication for Dubos Point with Mrs. Dubos and the Dubos Center as a nature study area. There is no mention on the City Department of Parks web site that this was a gift or to educate the public about the site. Such publicly mounted signs at the site, while mosquitoes still proliferate in the standing water there, certainly attest to a love on the part of Stern of his "forever wild mosquito zillions." His concern should be for the people who live around the park and elsewhere in Arverne.

I grew up with the mosquitoes in the bungalow colonies near the beach, bit it was only in 1968 and later that the source of the insects has been pinpointed as standing water in adjacent wetlands such as Dubos Point.

Since the dedication, the former New York City Audobon Society has done little to reduce the zillions of mosquitoes nor has the Parks Department under Stern done anything in that area. Mosquito magnet devices were installed by the Department of Health as the insistence of local officials and Community Board 14, but the standing water is still there and so are Sterns zillions of friends.

Why is Stern so stingy with the $200 million he controls for environmental projects? He is stingy when it comes to Rockaway and to Dubos point, but not when it comes to other parts of Queens, to the Bronx and to Staten Island.

On February 22 of last year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation sent the Parks Department a violation notice for what we environmentalists call a "cowboy type cleanup" at the site. That cleanup involved the use of inappropriate heavy equipment. This July, I got a letter from that agency saying that there is an ongoing discussion with the city for replanting the areas where damage was done by that heavy equipment. All of the issues were to be resolved by fall.

What Parks should be doing is opening up the creeks as part of the resolution to the problem.

The city has been trying to accomplish mosquito control in that area for years now, without much success. Bulldozing the vegetation certainly was not the answer.

It is time for the city to use its resources to do the right thing for Dubos Point and for the people who live nearby the park.


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