2012-06-15 / Community

Jamaica Bay Marsh Restoration Project Nearly Complete

Moving spartina hummocks Moving spartina hummocks The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, together with state and city agencies, and advocacy groups, toured the Yellow Bar Hassock marsh restoration project, part of the comprehensive plan to restore Jamaica Bay. The $19 million project began in January in cooperation with National Park Service, NYSDEC, NYSDEP, and local environmental groups, American Littoral Society and the Jamaica Bay EcoWatchers.

Approximately 375,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the New York-New Jersey Harbor was pumped through a dredge pipe, graded and then planted.

GPS units were used to determine the exact location and height of the sand, as precision in the process is key to restoring a stable surface and preventing invasive plant species. Existing salt marsh hummocks were harvested and re-planted, providing a 50-foot barrier to the new plantings and seedlings.

Restoring salt marshes and coastal wetlands in Jamaica Bay is a critical component of the Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the Hudson Raritan Estuary.

Planting spartina seeds Planting spartina seeds “The wetlands and salt marsh are the most productive land masses in terms of their ability to support a healthy Jamaica Bay ecosystem,” said Dan Mundy Sr. of the Jamaica Bay EcoWatchers.

“The marshes are disappearing at an alarming rate of 50 acres a year, but the Army Corps along with the city partners and stakeholders are committed to restoring vital habitat within Jamaica Bay, complementing the needs of the environment along with the economic benefits of deepening the Port of New York and New Jersey,”

Jamaica Bay is considered the crown jewel of New York City’s ecological resources, with more than 13,000 acres of water, salt marsh, meadowland, beaches, and dunes. Over the past century, the Bay’s fragile ecosystem has been degraded through human encroachment and increased urbanization.

“The Bay’s salt marshes provide not only invaluable wildlife habitat, but also shoreline erosion control and a protective flood barrier to nearby communities,” said Don Riepe, Jamaica Bay Guardian and director of the American Littoral Society, Northeast Chapter. “Over 330 species of birds and 100 species of finfish have been recorded in Jamaica Bay, many of which depend on the marshes for their foraging and breeding grounds.“

Yellow Bar is the fourth island in the area to be restored in recent years. The Army Corps restored Elders Point East and Elders Point West in 2007 and 2010, respectively, and the NPS restored a portion of Big Egg Marsh in 2003 as a pilot project. Moving spartina hummocks

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