2014-03-21 / Letters

Swans Aren’t The Problem

Dear Editor:

Mute swans were introduced by man into North America during the 1800s, not unlike striped bass were. The swans were brought here because of their beauty and grace, again, this was not invasive, and they were introduced, just as the striped bass we prize so much were.

I live on the Jamaica Bay and am active on its waterways. I have never been threatened by approaching these birds except when near their nests or young. This behavior is inherent in all bird species and is more protective than aggressive. Try walking near the nests of the endangered piping plovers or herring gulls and you'll see the very same behavior. Mute swans do less harm to aquatic life than other species such as Canada geese and cormorants. Regarding the supposed threat to aircraft, in reality, the swan’s threat to aviation is minimal, as compared to that of geese and other waterfowl.

The DEC is way out of line in considering the so called eradication of an invasive species. The DEC, DEP and other governmental agencies should address Jamaica Bay’s real threat, like runways that clog and strangle our waterways and wetlands.

One does not have to be a biologist to see that the loss of marshlands and habitat is greatly the result of airport runway expansion blocking the bay’s circulation and pollution associated with aircraft and JFK.

I often fish for striped bass near the aforementioned runway and if your line hits the bottom it comes covered in black sludge. Having lived here for over a half century, I can assure you those waters were pristine (prior to the runway) as compared to how they are today. One must keep in mind that building runways, damaging marine habitat and even the introduction of mute swans in our environment, was the action of a real invasive species... the European Man!

TOM ELGES

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