2003-04-12 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks Stones

by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum
Sprayview Sticks Stones by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum


No, it is not the Venice Canal! It's just a reflection of new homes, a flooded storm sewer and traffic cone along DeCosta Avenue.No, it is not the Venice Canal! It's just a reflection of new homes, a flooded storm sewer and traffic cone along DeCosta Avenue.

The 'shock and awe' of an early spring snowstorm (certainly a surprise to the observed early robins of Bayswater and Arverne, as well as a piping plover at Riis Park) is a cosmic hint that some of the lot cleaning (actually 'real estate development preparation, HUD pork funds') should be devoted to opening up the creeks at Dubos Point's "forever wild" wetlands 'for actual mosquito control' and wetlands restoration!

Both Mayor Bloomberg and Sanitation Commissioner Doherty, among others, were requested to consider this approach for this new season and no reply has been received yet.

Certainly the big white sanitation pickup trucks and big orange bulldozers are more appropriate for moving refuse and snow than the huge volumes of topsoil that have disappeared off the Rockaway peninsula with no payoff in mosquito control!

Note the disappearance of vegetation may be attributed to a letter to Congressman Schumer from Commissioner Doherty that holds the belief that mosquito swarms breed in plants. That the letter states that topsoil removal was minimized is also hard to believe. But then it is about Rockaway and its many mysteries...


More water in Dubos Point, in the vegetation along DeCosta Avenue.More water in Dubos Point, in the vegetation along DeCosta Avenue.

There is over six million dollars available at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to take a share of for a 'matching grant' for a plan the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already worked up. A matching grant can also come from the NYC Parks Department if it ever applies for a share of the 1996 Environmental Quality Bond Act and even the much-polluting NYC Department of Environmental Protection can provide funding as a prime promoter of Army Corps restoration plans for Jamaica Bay.

At the last Dredge Materials Management Integration Work Group, in private conversation with a Corps rep, it was learned that there is plenty of clean Ambrose Channel sand to use for Jamaica Bay projects (like shallowing up borrow pits or restoring wetland islands), so there is no need to use toxic dredge spoils! So why not find funds used by DEC for borrow pit projects and transfer to mosquito control projects given West Nile Virus and local problems?

There is also available sixty million dollars from the Port Authority of NYNJ for natural areas protection that a share could be devoted to in the Arverne Renewal Area even as a PA facility (buffer, ditching in emergency, etc.). There is, for example, opportunity for a Matthew Henson State Park near Duke Kahanamoku Way surfing area (aquarium, surfing center, science museum); a concept for 'eco-tourism' as opposed to sardine can residential. Were Rockaway in Brooklyn or Jamaica, Queens, more attention would have been paid to Rockaway waterfront and transportation needs given the geography factor in prioritization. The air train is our 'ferry-less facility,' etc.


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