2012-07-20 / Community

NPS And NYC To Manage Jamaica Bay Together

The National Park Service announced a mutual partnership with New York City this week to manage Gateway National Recreation Area’s Jamaica Bay Unit.

The partnership announced jointly by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar involves the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and ways they plan to cooperatively manage 10,000 acres of federal and city-owned parks in and around Jamaica Bay to promote visitation, education programs, scientific research and recreational opportunities.

The Cooperative Management Agreement, as it’s officially called, builds on a commitment made between the Mayor and the Secretary in 2011 to work together to establish the Jamaica Bay area as a “great urban park.”

What this means for accessibility to the park is yet to be determined. Specific details for programs, planning and development of certain park areas are still in the works. Currently Gateway is utilized by many different groups ranging from the Rockaway Theatre Company to Little League baseball. No telling yet if those institutions would be threatened by plans for a cooperatively managed park.

As part of this partnership, the City and the National Park Service released a request for expressions of interest that calls for a university or other academic partner or science-focused organization to manage an intensive research program focused on the restoration of the bay. This would potentially include creating a new science and resilience center to coordinate and bolster research efforts which would be made possible through a $1.5 million pledge from The Rockefeller Foundation.

The news was great for Broad Channel resident and Eco Watchers Vice President Dan Mundy Jr., whose group played a large role in fostering an improved relationship with the city and federal government to ensure marshlands are restored to reduce pollutants from entering the bay.

“Jamaica Bay is beautiful but things need to be done to improve the park,” Mundy told The Wave. “Overall we think it’s a great idea. The park is beautiful but it’s lacking right now.”

The agreement also calls for the establishment of a new non-profit “Friends” group that will work with the National Park Service and New York City to raise funds for the planning and development of their combined Jamaica Bay-area parklands and waters. The organization will likely be modeled on NPS’ most successful “Friends” group at Golden Gate National Recreation Area and would include a board that would be recommended jointly by the Mayor and Secretary.

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