[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
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
Director, New York State Ornithological Association
Kathy Van Der Aue
Visit my Blog at http://naturaliststable.wordpress.com
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