2002-03-02 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

Hopefully the young Harp Seal washed ashore on Monday represents the â018seal of approval' for a future sea education center (museum), sea-aquarium, and/or sea-aquatic sports (surfing) center facility for the Arverne/Edgemere coastal renewal area. But as it is, as was commented in one of the tabloids, not all that wash ashore make it alive. People drown like the three unfortunate young ladies along the banks of the East Rockaway Inlet and more can be done to prevent such tragedy. But will the City take heed? Locals?

Big storms with storm surges can wash bodies out of cemeteries to lie rotting, hinted at by Florida and Georgia mismanagement events reported in the tabloids. And is potential tragedy to be avoided and so thus should promote thoughtful use of Rockaway's shoreline assets? Thus the Duke Kahanamoku Way (surfing beach dedication entrance at Beach 38th Street voted for unanimously in 1984 in the City Council) project is a good symbol for appropriate use in compliance with State/City coastal policies. Note the poster provided by the Waterfront Division of the City Planning Commission to further the effort for inclusion in the old Oceanview proposal. But it may be mapped out of current plans given the "powers that be" influence against waterfront promotion to the extent of no dunes protection planning against storm events.

So The Duke was a great Olympic Swimming Champion; the poster says "Of The World", and he rode some of the tallest waves in the Hawaiian surf. And he just might stimulate a lifeguard-training program in Rockaway and the City. A consciousness about water and its dangers to be raised is a good thing for everyone too!

For those still interested in local wildlife corpses (though not competitive with some past Wave photos), here is provided a dead overturned saltwater terrapin tangled in monofilament at Dubos Point Wetlands Park. At nesting time big pieplate females come ashore to lay eggs. Raccoons dig up many eggs though some do manage to survive to return to Jamaica Bay to continue the species. The second photo is a young seal unfortunately washed up dead.

For profit the buffalo were almost exterminated, and the passenger pigeon existing in countless numbers was exterminated. Let us hope some of Rockaway's wildlife is protected along with shoreline assets stewardship planning.

The crowd and City workers, including helicopters flying in place overhead, indicates the draw of marine life and the need for local protection. There is no reason why Rockaway therefore doesn't have its own facilities for care and rescue of local marine life. What a spur to education……

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