2003-04-05 / Community

Ideas Sought On Jamaica Bay’s Future

Ideas Sought On Jamaica Bay’s Future

The National Park Service (NPS), and several of its partners, recently hosted an open house for area organizations and the general public to explore the many issues that surround the major changes taking place in the Jamaica Bay ecosystem.

The opening house meetings were held at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Salt Marsh Nature Center at Brooklyn.

Jamaica Bay is rapidly changing from plant and wildlife rich wetlands to mudflats. The National Park Service staff at Gateway National Recreation Area and others who help manage or study the bay are trying to understand why this is occurring and what actions, if any, should be taken.

This past fall and winter, representatives from the NPS, New York City and State, and several federal agencies met to discuss (1) what public agencies are involved in the bay and what they are doing, and (2) are these agencies working toward common goals..

"Jamaica Bay is changing," NPS Superintendent Billy Garrett recently explained. "The salt marshes that provide habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds are disappearing at an alarming rate. They may vanish entirely by 2025," said Garrett.

The environmental health of the bay is not the only concern for the park and its partners. "The bay means many things to many people. What opportunities will the future hold for fishing, boating, and other recreational uses? What role will Jamaica Bay play in New York City’s future?" Garrett asked. "Many groups care deeply about Jamaica Bay" Garrett continued. "We need the public’s help to make sound decisions. The NPS, as federal trustee of the bay, needs the input of everyone involved to identify common goals and work to use our time and resources wisely."

Jamaica Bay is one of three units of Gateway National Recreation Area. The bay lies on the Eastern Corridor Flyway and is one of the 25 best bird-watching locations in the Western Hemisphere. It is also home to hundreds of land and aquatic species. Annually, millions of people from New York, from across the United States, and from around the world enjoy Jamaica Bay and its many recreational opportunities.

The National Park Service would like to continue to hear from individuals and organizations about the questions recently discussed at the agency meeting and open houses. Comments should be sent by April 25 to: Gateway National Recreation Area.


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