2003-12-05 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks & Stones

by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum
Sprayview Sticks & Stones

Sprayview Sticks & Stones

by Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

The new history of Dubos Point Wetlands Preserve with its "forever wild mosquito swarms" farmed out by the NYC Parks Department is sure to be interesting. After all bloodthirsty mosquitoes can spread West Nile Virus – especially to the sick and senior citizens – and so how does the system maintain such a position in good conscience?

Why Senator Charles Schumer could not or would not use his considerable influence for general welfare to bring about specific federal funding to the blocked creeks drainage problem is difficult to explain.

As Congressman he brought about "no funding" and as Senator, he first urged staff involvement (never happened) then deferred to Congressman Anthony Weiner (never happened) and finally to Councilman James Sanders (still waiting hopefully.)

When the residential development across from the mosquito haven was built on a big swampy lot on concrete slabs for Friends of Rockaway, Inc. an attempt was made to bring about a buffer on the swampiest parkside section.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation said it was a sufficient boundary for separation (even if bulrushes were growing in a high water table) and with no mosquito problem/drainage resolution.

Not this agency, which doles out Environmental Quality 1996 Bond Act Funds for local sponsorship of Corps programs to unblock stagnant water where mosquitoes swarm and to restore wetlands overrun by Phragmites.

State Senator Malcolm Smith’s construction company built on the concrete slabs on the big swampy lot across from the mosquito haven and even de-watered groundwater into the Dubos Point "haven-farm hydrology mosquito extravaganza. Both Senator Smith and Councilman Sanders have obtained funds for southeast Queens environmental projects but nothing happens at Dubos Point for resolution of the environmental problem.

What is the politics or are there others interfering with logical humanitarian deliberations of government and influential people and bureaucrats?

So what will happen as more residents in the new housing come to be plagued in the warmer months by mosquitoes? Albert F. Appleton did negotiate with Congressman Floyd Flake – as Conservation Chair of the NYC Audubon Society – for the creation of Dubos Point in the 1980’s.

But the New York City Environmental group (with partner Trust for Public Land) abandoned the 1980’s proposal for a greenway from the swampy Point down to the ocean and so it’s ‘sardine can now and in the future along its way’ into the H.P.D. sardine can proposal under Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP.)

Will Councilman Sanders urge Senator Smith and the NYC Parks Department to bring about a release of funding appropriate to the Dubos Point Creek opening solution as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers produces its end of the year feasibility plan for the solution?

After convincing the Army Corps of Engineers that the solution is doable it should not be a longer wait for success after all these years. Dubos Point needs an environmental center like they have in Marine Park, Brooklyn.

The good people mentioned in this column should extend their efforts to this Rockaway site in this holiday season.


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