2002-06-15 / Front Page

150 G’s For Bay Marsh Grass Study

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

Two years ago, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) promised the National Park Service $150 thousand for an investigation of why large amounts of marsh grass was disappearing from Jamaica Bay.

This week, the DEC finally released the money to the park service.

"Jamaica Bay, with its complex intertidal marsh islands is a significant natural resource area, providing critical breeding and stopover grounds for hundreds of species of birds, as well as a habitat for more than 80 species of fish," DEC Commissioner Erin Crotty said in announcing the funding.

The DEC began investigating the alarming marsh grass loss in the bay shortly after it was brought to their attention in 1998 by a local group of Broad Channel residents who call their group "Eco-watchers."

That group, the DEC and a group of scientists and environmentalists from all over the area looked at the bay last summer and found "a significant loss of vegetated tidal wetlands."

While everybody agrees that the loss of the marsh grass is "accelerating at an alarming rate," there are different opinions as to why the loss is occurring.

The $150 thousand will be used for the investigation to find the answer to that question.

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