Federal and city officials announced the formation of an ambitious new research group that will focus its studies on the area in and around Jamaica Bay. According to a press release, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the forming of the Jamaica Bay Science and Resilience Institute (JBSRI), a project led by the City the University of New York (CUNY).
The JBSRI’s main focus centers around the natural storm defense barriers of Jamaica Bay, which include tidal wetlands, salt marshes and dunes. The hope is that a more extensive study of these barriers will allow officials and scientists to replicate them in other areas. The home base for the JBSRI will initially be located at Brooklyn College until a $3 million center is built by Jamaica Bay.
Bloomberg hoped that the new research project would also lead to an overall strengthening of Jamaica Bay itself.
“Jamaica Bay is one of the greatest natural treasures any city has within its borders, and our Administration is working hard to make the bay an even greater, stronger, and more resilient natural resource for decades to come. The new consortium we’re announcing today is an all-star team of research institutions and non-profits who will do important work to protect and preserve urban ecosystems from development and from the effects of climate change,” Bloomberg said in the release.
In agreeing with mayor, Jewell stressed that the research done at Jamaica Bay would serve as a model for fighting global warming and climate change.
“And now, in CUNY and their academic partners, we have a consortium of world-class institutions to advance our understanding of climate change and its impact on our natural systems. Working together, we will develop and coordinate approaches to coastal resiliency for Jamaica Bay that can serve as a model for communities around the world threatened by climate change,” Jewell said.
Interim CUNY Chancellor William Kelly promised groundbreaking science in this latest effort.
“Together with our distinguished partners, we will engage in a groundbreaking effort to revitalize the Jamaica Bay ecosystem. This will include extensive research to enhance our understanding of the ecosystem and its resilience, and the coordination and implementation of a comprehensive revitalization and restoration program for Jamaica Bay and the entire watershed,” Kelly said.
The news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement by the Obama administration which looked to establish Jamaica Bay as a hotspot for hiking, biking, boating and camping. The goal of that plan is to put places like Jamaica Bay on par with the nation’s most popular national parks, in an effort to expand the accessibility and popularity of national parks located near big cities.