2011-11-04 / Community

Plans To Improve Jamaica Bay Continue

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck have announced new agreements to improve the Federal and City parklands around Jamaica Bay and improve overall water quality in the Bay.

The Mayor and Secretary Salazar signed an agreement committing to a joint planning process that will devise a new, unified governing model and new, common objectives for the 10,000 acres of publicly-owned land in south Brooklyn and Queens. The Rockefeller Foundation and National Grid have generously agreed to support the design of a conceptual master plan for the Jamaica Bay Parks. As part of this effort, at the request of the City and the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Environmental Protection will designate the majority of Jamaica Bay a “No Discharge Zone,” which bans boats from discharging sewage into the bay, improving water quality.

“The agreements with our Federal, State and philanthropic partners will have far-reaching benefits for what may be the greatest natural treasure lying within the borders of any city in the nation – Jamaica Bay,” said Bloomberg. “The partnership with Secretary Ken Salazar and the Department of Interior will allow us to be bolder, more innovative, and more cooperative, by managing these extraordinary public lands around the bay as one great urban park.

And with the new ‘No Discharge Zone’ enforced by the EPA, we are going to improve water quality throughout the bay. It’s all in keeping with PlaNYC and our ongoing transformation of New York City’s waterfront as a place where New Yorkers can live, work, and play.”

The Mayor and Secretary announced that joint projects would begin with the development of a jointly-managed vision and governance structure to establish where Federal and City lands and programs could better connect and be more efficiently managed. The Rockefeller Foundation and National Grid have agreed to fund part of the development of the Jamaica Bay Parks master plan. The agreement establishes a formal partnership between the National Park Service and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for the agencies to collaborate in four areas: effective management of park lands; science and restoration of Jamaica Bay; access and transportation to park lands around Jamaica Bay; and engagement of New York City youth with hands-on science programs and fun public service projects to promote recreation, stewardship and “green” careers. The four key components to the park management agreement are: Effective management through collaboration: The National Park Service and New York City Parks manage contiguous lands with overlapping missions. Through effective land use and program planning that ignores boundaries, they can create a seamless and interconnected network of natural, historical, and recreation spaces urban park that all New Yorkers can visit, with or without a car. Science and restoration: Through better coordination of research, data gathering restoration efforts and pilot projects, government agencies, non-profit organizations and academic institutions can work closer together to restore and conserve the health of Jamaica Bay. Access and transportation: The city and the Park Service will work to improve public access to Jamaica Bay and within Jamaica Bay through existing and new transportation choices, and through better public information about those options. Youth and education: The city and the National Park Service can jointly develop a series of programs in which urban youth can learn the values of stewardship through service activities.

The agreement may also be expanded in the future to include federal and city park lands on Staten Island. Jamaica Bay No Discharge Zone

The new Jamaica Bay No Discharge Zone agreement among the City, the EPA and State Department of Environmental Conservation bans all boats from discharging sewage into a designated 20,000-acre area of Jamaica Bay.

The area has adequate facilities for boats to pump out their sewage and boaters must now dispose of their sewage at these specially-designated pump-out stations.

The new Jamaica Bay No Discharge Zone is part of a joint EPA, Department of Environmental Conservation and City effort to eliminate the discharge of sewage from boats into the State’s waterways.

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