2002-06-22 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

As the season warms and mosquito eggs hatch by the zillions gadrillions, there were hopes that the Dubos Point (aka Mosquito Point at B. 63 Street in Arverne) travesty would be ended with a new Mayor and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. But these hopes were dashed/trashed when by letter of April 24 Michael Feller, Deputy Chief of the Natural Resource Group at DPR, complained of a "backlog of EQBA projects."

So if they applied in 2002, the funds would be received in 2004, it would only be by 2006 that the local sponsor funds necessary would comply for the Corps of Engineers to begin opening up creeks to reduce the volume of mosquito habitat stagnant water (explanation supplied by Bernard Blum of the pioneer group at Dubos Point, Friends of Rockaway, Inc.).

It’s a sorry excuse again that the agency has failed to manage Dubos Point, along with NYC Audubon for a time, as nothing more than a mosquito hatchery, public nuisance and potential West Nile Virus vectoring station, etc.

At one time a boardwalk for observation was promised with other amenities. It’s a forgotten resource and suffers shameful neglect.

By monitoring Harbor Estuary meetings Blum has noted other wetland sites scheduled for restoration (involved unlocking creeks) that have been given priority over the Dubos Point problem. If its not conspiracy, it’s shameful indifference to an environmental justice issue.

The Port Authority has helped out Alley Pond Park wetlands restoration with a grant so it’s about time the powerful group look across the Bay from JFK and provide a similar grant. A request has been sent out with no reply yet received.

The Connecticut DEP takes in the Health and Conservation Departments and so can open creeks. But NYC Department of Health can only spray for protection. NYS ENCON can open creeks, but has not applied funds for Dubos Point from a Damages List account or from any other pots of funds. So its no problemo/no concern/not our job/lack of coordinated efforts dragging down a worthy goal.

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