[CT Birds] Jamaica Bay Issue

Kathy Van Der Aue kathyvda at gmail.com
Wed Jul 2 21:30:28 EDT 2014

   Not CT, I know, but this was on the Maine Birds list serve and I thought
   it might be of interest to some of us.

   "The National Park Service has announced the beginning of the planning
   process for the West Pond at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. As you are
   probably aware, the West Pond was breached in October 2012 during Hurricane
   Sandy. The breach opened the pond to the tides and destroyed the valuable
   freshwater habitat that was one of New York State's premier birding
   destinations. I am writing to alert you the upcoming opportunities for
   public comment on the future of the West Pond, and to ask that you reach
   out to inform your members. Please feel free to use the material below in
   your outreach.

   Birders must speak up to ensure the pond is restored to support birds
   and wildlife. The Birders' Coalition for Gateway, in which NYSOA is
   participating, has taken the position that the pond should be restored to
   the habitat values that existed after the West Pond was created in the
   1950s. This includes a large freshwater pond and emergent wetlands with
   water level regulation to encourage seasonal shorebird and waterfowl use;
   and open dune to encourage tern and Diamondback Terrapin nesting. High salt
   marsh is uncommon in Jamaica Bay and is another habitat element of interest
   for restoration of the West Pond. Currently the breach in the dike of the
   West Pond has turned the pond into a mudflat and caused the destruction of
   vegetation that is not salt tolerant. The former open dune area, called
   Terrapin Point, is overgrown into a dense thicket due to years of neglect
   by the Park Service. Thus the area has virtually no habitat value and does
   not contribute to ecosystem diversity.

   So what can birders do?

   - Attend the public scoping meeting on July 17 at the Jamaica Bay
   Wildlife Refuge (see information attached).
   - Sign the Birders' Coalition's petition at
   - Write to Gateway National Recreation Area Superintendent Jennifer
   Nersesian and other public officials and tell them you want the West Pond
   restored for birds and wildlife.

   Additional information on the public scoping process and the July 17 public
   meeting follows. Public comments are being accepted through July 30, 2014.
   The full recommendations for restoration of the West Pond by the Birders'
   Coalition for Gateway can be found on New York City Audubon's web site at

   A variety of interest groups will undoubtedly be very vocal in the
   upcoming scoping process. The National Park Service has a history of giving
   priority to active recreational interests at the expense of wildlife in the
   Gateway National Recreation Area. It is critical that birders participate
   and make their views known!

   Thanks to all of you for your interest and I hope to see you at Jamaica

   Seth Ausubel
   Director, New York State Ornithological Association

Kathy Van Der Aue
Southport, Connecticut
Visit my Blog at http://naturaliststable.wordpress.com

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