2005-11-18 / Community

Weiner Finds Money to Replenish Jamaica Bay Marshes

Congress has passed a measure to provide $1 million to restore the Jamaica Bay Salt Marshes in Gateway National Park, according to Congressman Anthony Weiner.

The funds, inserted in the bill by Weiner will replenish the marshes at Yellow Bar and Elder’s Point Islands, which are deteriorating under the threat of rising sea levels. 

The marshlands of Jamaica Bay are natural resting and feeding stations for thousands of migrating waterfowl, including snow geese, pintail ducks, blue and green-winged teal. But this fragile eco-system is threatened by deteriorating sediment layers and rising seawater.

In 2000, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) revealed that, due to rising sea levels, the marshes of Jamaica Bay may erode entirely by 2025. In response to the DEC warnings, Weiner convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of world class scientists to develop a plan to preserve the marshes. The Panel concluded that the marshlands’ sediment layer needed replenishing and recommended that sand be deposited in the marsh to raise the elevation of the islands. 

Weiner’s funding will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to revitalize the marsh islands, by using sand left over from the NY Harbor Deepening Project. Construction and planting of Elder’s Point will begin immediately and conclude in June of 2006. Revitalization of Yellow Bar is expected to begin in November 2006 and conclude in June of 2007. The funding that Weiner delivered will also allow the Corps to conduct a study leading to expansion of the project to two additional islands in Jamaica Bay called Rulers Bar and Black Bank. 

The funding secured by Weiner will cover 75% of the project costs, leaving 25% to be matched by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the city Department of Environmental Protection.

“A few years ago the extraordinary wetlands of Jamaica Bay might have been left for dead,” said Weiner. “Without these islands, Gateway National Park would no longer be the sanctuary for birdwatchers that it is today. But that is no longer a concern thanks to the work of my Blue Ribbon Panel and the federal funding in this bill.  Together, we are going to save one of New York City’s treasures.”

The funding is part of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act. Weiner previously secured a $598,000 grant from the Natural Resources Protection Program to fund other Blue Ribbon Panel’s recommendations in 2002, including the restoration of the Big Egg Marsh in Jamaica Bay.

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