2014-03-21 / Community

Clearing TheWaters In Jamaica Bay


Brooklyn College Professor Brett Banco (R.) with students removing derelict dock from Jamaica Bay marsh. Brooklyn College Professor Brett Banco (R.) with students removing derelict dock from Jamaica Bay marsh. The American Littoral Society just completed a two-year large marine debris (LMD) removal project at Floyd Bennett Field. The effort has been generously funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine

Debris Program and the NOAA

Restoration Center.

Removing LMD, including derelict boats and floating docks, is beneficial for a variety of reasons. This debris endangers both humans and wildlife by releasing pollutants including oil, gas, anti-fouling paint, arsenic and creosote into the environment and creating hazards to navigation. LMD can also damage essential aquatic habitats by compacting sediments and smothering vegetation.

In an effort to reduce future LMD, the Littoral Society has held presentations to discuss the environmental ramifications of marine debris and distributed an informational brochure to enlighten the marine community about safe and legal disposal alternatives for unwanted boats.


Marine Debris Coordinator Lisa Scheppke hauling away dismantled dock. Marine Debris Coordinator Lisa Scheppke hauling away dismantled dock. With the assistance of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the National Park Service, 60 items of LMD weighing over 36 metric tons were removed from the shoreline and disposed of properly. The Society also spearheaded multiple shoreline cleanups and, with the help of 840 dedicated volunteers, succeeded in removing over 270 cubic yards of smaller debris from the marine environment in Jamaica Bay.

Currently, with funding from the NOAA Restoration Center, in partnership with Restore America’s Estuaries, the Littoral Society is engaged in a marine debris removal project at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Brett Banco and a team of Brooklyn College students recently braved the March weather to help us remove a derelict dock from the marsh at the refuge and the students will be monitoring the site for vegetation recovery as part of the Society’s marine debris removal program “Jamaica Bay Clean Sweep.”

To participate in volunteer shoreline cleanups around Jamaica Bay or for information about our April 26th Earth Day festivities, please contact the American Littoral Society at (718) 474-0896 or nechapter@littoralsociety.org.

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