Archive for the tag 'jamaica bay wildlife refuge'

Photos of the staging area at the Fountain Avenue landfill. (Source: GooseWatch NYC)

Photos of the staging area at the Fountain Avenue landfill. (Source: GooseWatch NYC)

Another day, another animal in the cross-hairs of the wildlife gestapo.

In the wacky world of wildlife preservation, we’ve seen battles rage over swans and cats in the past few weeks, and now concerns are being revived about the annual plans to round up and euthanize Canada geese.

The latest comes from GooseWatch NYC, an advocacy group that since 2010 has been sounding the alarm on the city’s annual goose culling. They say that members have spotted USDA Wildlife Services agents, which the city and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contracts to manage the swan population, setting up a staging area at Canarsie’s Fountain Avenue Landfill (which has been folded into the wildlife refuge and is in the process of $20 million ecological restoration). Trucks with the USDA logo were photographed, along with kayaks, crates and corral gates used to round up the birds before carting them off for lethal gassing.

Such culling usually happens around this time every year, as Canada geese go through their molting period, hampering their flying ability and making them easier to capture.

The group is outraged, as they are every year, especially since the area is now part of the wildlife refuge. They also say that, following the 1,000 goose culling over the last two years, there are just a few dozen remaining in Jamaica Bay, suggesting that the agency seeks total annihilation and not just population control.

“It’s now obvious that the USDA intends to kill every last Canada goose they can at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a supposed safe haven for these creatures,” said David Karopkin, GooseWatch NYC’s founder, in a press release. “There is no need to kill these birds. It’s obscene and tragic, and the public has a right to know what our government is doing.”

The annual goose slaughters began in 2009 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The population reduction is being done to reduce collisions with jets at local airports, including JFK airport, located adjacent to the wildlife refuge, although critics say alternate methods, including radar upgrades, could do the trick more efficiently.

GooseWatch is also taking issue with the current mayor, who they say is walking back his campaign promise to seek out more humane ways to manage the population and reduce air strikes.

“Mayor de Blasio committed to put every approach on the table and work with independent experts and animal advocates, but now instead we’re learning that the cruel and ineffective goose removals will continue in NYC this summer, and perhaps for years to come,” said Karopkin.

A petition has been launched to end the lethal culling of geese in New York City. Another group, Friends of Animals, is planning a protest outside of the Port Authority’s headquarters (225 Park Avenue South) on Thursday, June 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Source: CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities / Flickr

To commemorate Earth Day, join the Jamaica Bay Unit of Brooklyn and Queens to help spruce up your favorite places in Gateway, this Tuesday, April 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sites include but are not limited to Floyd Bennett Field, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Frank Charles Park, Hamilton Beach Park, Canarsie Pier and North Channel Bridge.

Anyone can come and groups are welcome. Registration is required. So let’s hop to it and clean up the Earth — it’s the only one we’ve got.

To register, email volunteer coordinator Keith White at Keith_White@nps.gov. To learn more, call (718) 318- 4340.

Source: Williams

The controversial natural gas pipeline, proposed to run underneath the Rockaways, through Jamaica Bay, and into Floyd Bennett Field National Park, has been plodding along the approval process for several months, with the latest news being the issuance of an apparently favorable draft statement by the federal government.

(Read our ongoing coverage of the Jamaica Bay pipeline.)

The Rockaway Wave reported last week on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project, an offshoot of Williams’ Transcontinental Gas Pipeline (Transco):

In its draft EIS, [the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC)] gave a favorable report for Transco and came to a conclusion that the environmental impact wouldn’t be so bad. The “construction and operation of the Projects would result in limited adverse environmental impacts that would mostly occur during construction,” the EIS said. Overall it says that the limited adverse impacts “would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of Transco’s proposed mitigation and the additional measures recommended in the draft EIS.”

Critics, though, remain unswayed, saying that the agency has been too lenient in its review of the research, which was provided by Williams, and say more information should be required:

While Williams is pleased with the report, environmentalists are not satisfied. Dan Mundy, president of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers says the “report downplays the significance of the environmental impacts.” Mundy explained concerns over the fact that Transco hasn’t stated exactly what fluids will be involved with the project, which is significant as they will likely wind up in the water and may affect marine life. He also says that the company hasn’t released a modeling report which would show where sediments would go when the company trenches the ocean to install the pipeline. Mundy explains that sediment could impact an important artificial reef off the coast of Rockaway. Transco has been asked to release the sediment report for several months.

“The EIS report, as it’s done right now, is downplaying that significant impact and we’re concerned by that,” Mundy said. “It doesn’t include critical data.” He went on to say that the project should be put on hold. If it does go through and causes the mentioned environmental impacts, Mundy hopes the company considers restoring the areas that are impacted.

FERC didn’t give it all a free pass, though. The agency is recommending additional mitigation measures to reduce impacts on wildlife, habitat, and the historic character of the Floyd Bennett Field hangars that will be used in the project. The agency is proposing the requirement of 27 site-specific mitigation measures if the project goes forward.

The draft report can be found on the FERC website.

The agency is holding two public hearings to hear concerns about the project. The first will be held Tuesday, October 22, at 7:00 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Rockaway Council 267 (333 Beach 90th Street, Rockaway Beach). The second will be held Wednesday, October 23, at 7:00 p.m. at Aviator Sports & Events Center in Floyd Bennett Field (3159 Flatbush Avenue).

Additionally, comments can be made electronically through the eComment or eFiling features of the website under “Documents and Filings.” When writing a comment, refer to docket number CP13-36-000 for the Rockaway Project. Written comments can also be sent to Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

A little duck walks around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuse. Source: peterjr1961 / Flickr

A little duck walks around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. (Source: peterjr1961 / Flickr)

The Obama administration is looking to transform Jamaica Bay and other parks located in urban areas, into hotspots for hiking, biking, boating and camping, putting them on par with the nation’s most popular national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. The Queens Chronicle is reporting that the US Department of Interior and the National Parks Service (NPS) announced a general management plan for Jamaica Bay and the Gateway National Recreational Area that would turn the area, especially the Brooklyn parts, into major hubs for outdoors activity.

The Queens Chronicle described some of the plans proposed by the NPS:

Among the ideas being proposed in the NPS’s preferred plan are increased opportunities for camping in and around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and means of connection, such as bike lanes and trails, between sites around Gateway like Charles Park and Hamilton Park, which would also be eyed for “small-scaled” visitor centers that may include food and bicycle vendors — a plan proposed by the Parks Department to Community Board 10 in April that was shot down because board members wanted to see the park, notorious for being dilapidated and dirty, given an overhaul first.

Many of the drastic changes were proposed for parts of Brooklyn, such as Floyd Bennett Field, Plumb Beach and Canarsie Pier, and the Rockaways, where Fort Tilden would become a major hub for park activities…

The plan also includes suggestions for improving infrastructure, and dealing with the post-Sandy reality of flood risk. In the proposal the NPS outlines plans to construct new buildings to meet the flood elevation criteria set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and build roads that have sufficient drainage and can be passable in a flood.

NPS’s management plan also calls for increased public transportation — including ferries and better train service — to the area to bring visitors in from Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.

While environmentalists were pleased on the NPS’s plans to get people excited about the parks, Don Riepe, president of the American Littoral Society, cautioned that conservation should remain the top priority when it comes to the parks.

“My only concern is that I feel that there should be a major focus on protecting natural resources,” Riepe told the Queens Chronicle. “The recreation is fine. I think they should get their house in order. I’m asking ‘Who is going to manage it? Are the resources going to suffer?’”

Park of the Obama administration’s goal in pouring money into urban park environments is to get city kids to connect with nature.

The plan also stems from the Obama administration’s desire to pour more resources into federal parkland in or close to major cities — part of the White House’s larger plan to bring inner-city children to the outdoors.

In October 2011, then-U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Mayor Bloomberg signed the agreement in Marine Park, Brooklyn that allowed the two entities to coordinate management of Gateway, which was created in 1972 as an attempt to protect and restore New York’s coastal wetlands that had been severely damaged by industrial pollution during the previous century.

“We are asking ‘How do we connect urban populations to the outdoors?’” Salazar said in 2011. “New York may be the greatest opportunity we have.”

The Queens Chronicle laid out information for the public comment period and other open house meetings for the federal plans:

Public comment is being accepted on the proposal online at parkplanning.nps.gov, where the entire plan can be downloaded and read. Open houses discussing the plan are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Ryan Visitor Center in Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn and Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Source: National Parks Service

Hundreds of horseshoe crabs invaded the subtle slopes of Plumb Beach’s shoreline in their own sex-fueled, prehistoric rendition of the Allied invasion of Normandy last week, as horseshoe crab mating season kicked off on Thursday, April 25.

The National Parks Service snapped the photo above of some of the crabs getting down and dirty. The animals have been taking to soft-sloped beaches of the mid-Atlantic during the spring’s new and full moons for 400 million years, one of the few living species known to predate the earliest dinosaurs. Female crabs come ashore and deposit up to 20,000 eggs each, followed by a handful of males clinging to their tails and fertilizing the eggs in their wake.

The crabs come up in late April, May, and throughout June – just before high tide or long after sunset – during full and new moons. You can see them around the following dates:

  • Thursday, April 25, 2013 (Full Moon)
  • Friday, May 10 (New Moon)
  • Saturday, May 25 (Full Moon)
  • Saturday, June 8 (New Moon)
  • Sunday, June 23 (Full Moon)
  • Saturday. July 6 (New Moon)
  • Monday, July 22 (Full Moon)
  • Wednesday, August 7 (New Moon)
  • Wednesday, August 21 (Full Moon)

Also, check out this video Sheepshead Bites made back in 2010, when the American Littoral Society’s Don Riepe showed us around the beach and the horseshoe crab’s mating practices. Yes, it has bifurcated penises.

Source: CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities / Flickr

Volunteers are wanted to help celebrate the upcoming Earth Day by helping to clean up marine debris at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, April 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You can get there via public transportation on the Q52/53 buses.

The cleanup will require moderate physical exertion, so be prepared to flex those muscles. You should dress for the weather — wear long pants, long sleeves, sturdy shoes and bring a pair (or more) of work gloves.

Anyone can help out and groups are welcome too. Registration is required — call (718) 318-4340 to sign up.

Jamaica Bay Pipeline Source: Williams

After months of protests, legal wrangling and more last-minute protests, the controversial Jamaica Bay Pipeline project is now in construction. According to a report by Gotham Gazette, construction on the 1.6 mile pipeline that stretches underneath Jacob Riis Park and ends at a meter and regulating station positioned at Floyd Bennett Field is now officially underway, much to the consternation of opponents who believe the pipeline could pose an environmental hazard.

While officials at National Grid have stated that the actual drilling has yet to commence, preparatory work for construction has already begun. Eventually, National Grid will connect the pipeline to the planned gas meter and regulating station located in a hanger at Floyd Bennett Field. The gas lines will service customers in Brooklyn and Queens. The project links the National Grid delivery system with Transco Williams’s offshore feeder.

While environmentalists have protested the pipeline, citing potential harm to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, local animal life and danger to residents from potential hazards, as well as industrializing a national park, National Grid promised that the line would actually be good for the environment.

“Each conversion is equivalent to taking 15 cars off the road for a year,” the Gotham Gazette reported the company saying.

The first phase of the construction effort is expected to be completed by May.

Source: NASA via Wikimedia Commons

It looks like Coley, the famous osprey, might be giving the slip to the scientists that track the Jamaica Bay bird’s every move. According to a blog update posted by Coley’s trackers, the majestic bird’s GPS transmitter straps have become loose, necessitating their removal so he can stay safe.

A few week’s ago, we updated you on Coley’s long flight from his winter vacation spot in South America back to his home in Jamaica Bay. So far, Coley’s loose straps have not interfered with his ability to fly, fish and mate, but scientists do not want to risk putting Coley through more potential stress by reattaching another device to his body.

After they remove Coley’s futuristic gear, they will be looking for a new osprey to track and study, freeing Coley from his suffocating celebrity status.

Source: NASA via Wikimedia Commons

We’ve been passing along updates from the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy on the movements of the wondrous Coley, the Osprey who makes his summer home in Jamaica Bay. And now, it seems, the year-long cycle has just about wrapped up, with Coley and his mate back in the Jamaica Bay area.

Scientists tracking Coley first observed that his mate had returned to Jamaica Bay a few days before Coley. She was probably busy preparing their nest while Coley was sightseeing somewhere in Virginia.

Coley finally made it home this week and the scientists tracking him teased us with what’s in store for the bird.

Coley, our amazing avian traveler, completed his northward migration yesterday, March 20th.  He fittingly arrived at Jamaica Bay on the first day of spring and was quickly reunited with his mate.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on his travels and re-acclimation to the Bay. Although there are many exciting possibilities on the horizon (eggs! chicks! summer fishing!), for now let’s all say a hearty congratulations to this amazing bird.

Can’t wait to see the little chicks as Coley’s incredible journey soars forward. Here is a map of the long flight Coley has been on over the past few months, illustrating his awesomeness.

Coley’s journey home via jamaicabayosprey.org

 

Source: Howard N2GOT / Flickr

The Gateway National Recreation Area announced the state of their recovery following the destruction left by Superstorm Sandy late last October.

Many parks have already re-opened for the summer season, including the campgrounds at Floyd Bennett Field, which opened March 1, while even more are slated for spring openings. Here is a rundown of what’s open and what’s set to open, courtesy of the Gateway National Recreation Area’s release:

The following areas of the park are already open to the public; Fort Wadsworth, Great Kills Park (with the exception of Crooke’s Point), the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Floyd Bennett Field, Frank Charles Park and Hamilton Beach. The park is pleased to be able to announce more opening dates.

… To make a reservation at any of our camp sites please visit www.recreation.gov. Some fishing areas are already open, others, such as Crooke’s Point will open soon. Unfortunately some fishing areas won’t be open this year due to safety issues. 2012 fishing permits will be honored through March 31st, and 2013 permits will be available after March 15th. Most guarded beach areas will open as normal for the summer season, Memorial Day Weekend.

Riis Park will open Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27, 2013). Fort Tilden Beach will be closed this summer due to safety concerns, but the facilities in Fort Tilden, including the Rockaway Little League, will be open for the summer. The Breezy Point Tip access road remains closed until it can be regraded. Canarsie Pier remains closed until an engineering study can be done.

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