2002-12-07 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum
Sprayview Sticks and Stones

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

Well whether the readership has believed an argument that there really are Flymasters and Flymistresses among us (leaders in the worship of Beelzebub, see previous column on the Egyptian fly deity idol), or not, certainly ecosystem coverage by media has been concentrated on mosquito problems of Rockaway, then piping plovers and checkered white butterflies and seabeach amaranth herb all for the former Oceanview Arverne/Edgemere Renewal Area Project and currently the Jamaica Bay linked disappearing wetlands islands problem.

Media stories on relieving South Queens flooding by and Idlewild Storm Sewer or tapping unused drinking water wells have not concentrated on the Jamaica Bay watershed that surrounds the bay and its link to water quality. Buffer the Bay and Dubos Point (aka Shrine of Flies) is an exception in the '80's.

In Rockaway the watershed ecosystem has been considered "weedy fields" that development will cure, as if the lack of development is a major problem as opposed to moderate development some critics have griped about and high density associated problems. How to evacuate if a major hurricane hits is a problem - but it will be handled?

As a diversion from all the weedy fields' problem under the Atlantic Flyway for migratory songbirds and hawks, as well as Monarch butterflies, erupted the wetland island decay mystery, more mysterious than the West Nile Virus plague, a busy Beelzebub maybe? And funded plans to cure it. This is important before the surrounding weedy fields and other lots developed are swamped by storm surge from windswept storm waters blowing over open water for a prolonged time. Thus the watershed weedy fields and the rest are cured by development only to be flooded!

Hey, does any readership detect linkages with no simple solutions or none? To learn to float more growth is one. Another, with sea level rise predictions, is to put a lock at the bay mouth and levee the shoreline. This plan at one time was linked with the lucrative beach fill program seen currently this month due to the ever-eroding shoreline (see dredge and pumping barge in inlet about B. 20 Street). So juggling beach sand that winds up in the inlet or at Breezy Point is a very important government management program.

And then there is the fill-the-borrow-pit crowd. Fill the pits with cheap toxic dredge spoils from channel maintenance or with rubble from tunnel projects, etc...really doesn't matter as long as the bottom is shallowed up because it's cheaper to transport pollution out of the bay than to improve sewage treatment plant operations.

Now its known that a shallow bowl holds less water than a deep one. So at Norton Basin at Bayswater/Far Rockaway, the pilot project to shallow it up with toxic dredge spoils (clean sand cap, cherry on top) continues to be on for study no matter the opposition and the pit shoreline already floods.....

So when the big Natural Resources Defense Council think tank reports problems of coastal development, the readership should not be surprised. The web site is www.nrdc.org for availability of the report.

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