2001-12-22 / Letters

Clean Up Jamaica Bay!

Clean Up Jamaica Bay!

Dear Editor;

Your editorial, "Don’t Dump In Jamaica Bay", and Howard Schwach's column very accurately depicts the current situation of Jamaica Bay.

The situation is one that needs close monitoring, as it is a "hotbed" of controversy that affects not only Rockaway, but eastern parts that are rarely identified, such as Inwood, Meadowmere Park, North Woodmere and North Lawrence (via Thixton Creek) and Cedarhurst (creeks by Lawrence High School and the brackish water of Doxey Pond).

My friend and fellow fisherman, Larry Oliver, scuba dives in Jamaica Bay. During summer, Larry brought up seahorses and angelfish that thrive in the warm, tropical-like waters Jamaica Bay seasonally presents. Clams are so thick in the bay, police and D.E.C. monitors routinely patrol the area by helicopter at night with thermal heat detectors and night vision scopes in order to apprehend poachers and confiscate clams that would otherwise make it into restaurants. Where else can you harvest a bushel of clams in thirty minutes and sell them for over $100.00? Maybe one day these clams will again be safe enough to harvest.

I have in my possession an article printed in 1998 from Cosmopolitan Magazine, titled "An Oyster Village". It talks about "Northwest Point" (later re-named Inwood) and how the streets were lined with oyster shells. Oystering in Jamaica Bay was the prime occupation of the residents of Northwest Point. These folks must be rolling over in their graves now!

I have been in touch with some of the members of the Jamaica Bay Task Force to assure them there are members of the community who live in the easternmost part of Jamaica Bay, who are not only affected by the happenings of Jamaica Bay, but are interested in improving the water quality. Personally, I found the water quality in the Inwood section this past summer and fall to be the poorest it has ever been in my thirty plus years of fishing. The water was so brown, fish actually left the area because they couldn't see any bait.

We also need to closely watch and evaluate the results of the Hudson River dredging project the General Electric Company must finance. As part of the New York Bight, Jamaica Bay is an outlet of New York Harbor and the Hudson River.


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