2002-07-06 / Community

Smith Lauds Funding To Stop Marsh Loss

Smith Lauds Funding To Stop Marsh Loss

State Senator Malcolm A. Smith (D- Queens) has hailed the decision by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to provide a $150,000 grant to help investigate the causes of intertidal marsh loss in Jamaica Bay.

The grant monies, which will be provided to the United States National Park Service, are being made available to help identify the causes of marsh island loss in the bay, and to help prevent further loss of this critical wetland habitat.

Senator Smith applauded the decision, and noted that it comes at a very critical time.

"This decision by the DEC to fund the study of marshland loss in Jamaica Bay is a sound one, and one that I have advocated for some time," Senator Smith said. "The preservation of marshlands in Jamaica Bay is critical to the overall health of the bay, and these funds will aid in preserving this very important habitat."

Jamaica Bay is both a regionally and globally significant habitat for important fish, wildlife and plant varieties. At least 326 species of birds have been sighted on the wetland islands in Jamaica Bay, including confirmed breeding by 62 species. According to Senator Smith, it is one of the most migratory bird stopover sites in the New York region, and 81 species of fish are known to inhabit the bay as well.

Studies have shown that significant losses of intertidal marshlands have been occurring in Jamaica Bay since 1974, and that the rate of loss has accelerated in the last ten years.

"The deterioration of the Jamaica Bay marsh islands is alarming, and this grant money takes on special significance in the battle to save these precious natural resources," Senator Smith said. "It is of the utmost importance that solutions be found to stem the loss of these salt marshes, which play such a crucial role in the delicate ecosystem of the bay region. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Legislature, and with the DEC, to help ensure the future health of the environmental treasure known as Jamaica Bay."

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