Archive for the tag 'jamaica bay'

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.

File:JamaicaBay2778.JPG

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Senator Charles Schumer is asking the federal Department of Interior, or DOI, to put millions into projects that would restore Jamaica Bay after Superstorm Sandy, as well strengthen it as the barrier between waves and coastal communities in future storms.

The projects would total $17.5 million and they would also help Rockaway’s coastline be more resilient, the lawmaker announced last week in a press release.

Superstorm Sandy wrought tremendous damage across the communities surrounding Jamaica Bay, but the damage may have been even worse were it not for Jamaica Bay’s natural ability to act as a shield against storms. Sometimes our best defense against Mother Nature’s wrath is actually Mother Nature itself, and these five projects will take what is already a natural storm defense and make it even more effective at protecting the homes and livelihoods of thousands of New Yorkers. These five projects are exactly what this grant program was created to fund, and I am urging the Department of Interior to give these the green light as soon as possible.

The five programs Schumer is pushing for are:

  • Sunset Cove Salt Marsh and Maritime Forest Restoration
  • Rockaway East Resiliency Preserve
  • Spring Creek Salt Marsh and Coastal Upland Restoration
  • Jamaica Bay Head Of Bay Oyster Restoration
  • Jamaica Bay Bathymetric and Sediment Model

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This week’s polar vortex, in which temperatures with wind chills dipped into the negative degrees, generated its fair share of grousing on social media, and news hype. It also brought about some stunning photos from locals of iced over windows and ice drifts on New York Harbor.

But the best set we’ve seen yet are a bunch of stunning, and chilling, photos of Jamaica Bay frozen over like on big ice skating rink. Dan Mundy, of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, whose Jamaica Bay photos we’ve featured before, struck out at sunrise to capture the beautiful and rare shots of the warm sun rising over the iced over Bay.

You can check out all the photos here, but we’ve selected our favorites to feature after the jump.

Check out the photos!

File:JamaicaBay2778.JPG

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Rockaway Beach Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder announced last week that a project to restore and maintain Jamaica Bay’s wildlife reserve, a sprawling 18,000-acre wetland estuary, has won a $400,000 from the Regional Economic Development Council for habitat restoration.

The project, Jamaica Bay Habitat Restoration and Waterfront Revitalization, will not only be used to protect wildlife but also to protect the coast from future hurricanes. Goldfeder explained this plan to The Forum,

“Jamaica Bay has been a longtime community gem, but its breathtaking views and grassy marsh also serve a significant purpose — storm protection,” Goldfeder said in a prepared statement. “Jamaica Bay contains natural barriers that have proven to be more effective than any man-made sea wall or levee. This funding toward Jamaica Bay will not only help attract visitors and increase economic development, but it will enable our community to become more resilient against potential future storms.”

The grant will be administered by the city Parks Department along with the city Department of Environmental Protection.

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Snowy owls are usually a rare and prized sight for birdwatchers, but this year Jamaica Bay bird lovers are the beneficiary of an unprecedented migration southward.

The knuckleheads over at the Port Authority sparked an uproar recently when they added the beautiful (and increasingly rare, as populations dwindle) snowy owl to their kill list, announcing open season on the Harry Potter-famed fowl for its shotgun wielding wildlife specialists. They shot down three of the birds at JFK Airport in a weekend before the outrage tilted the scales, and they changed policy to capturing and relocating the birds.

That means Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, which abuts the airport, is once again a wildlife refuge – so long as you’re not one of the seven other birds on the Port Authority’s kill list.

And that’s good news to Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. Mundy was out and about in Jamaica Bay today, and happened upon this snowy owl. Cool, eh?

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The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Source: Howard N2GOT / Flickr

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Source: Howard N2GOT / Flickr

The Rockefeller Foundation bestowed a $250,000 grant to the City College of New York (CUNY) to figure out a way to stem the disastrous consequences of major flooding in Jamaica Bay, according to a CUNY release.

Last year, Superstorm Sandy thrashed the city and flooded much of Jamaica Bay. While Jamaica Bay’s beaches and wetlands provided some resistance to the intense flooding, surrounding urban development limited the effectiveness of the natural barriers. This has led researchers to investigate solutions to increase overall protection to the natural environment of the bay.

The team is being led by Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, an associate professor of landscape architecture at CUNY’s Spitzer School of Architecture. Nordenson was hopeful that work to protect and enhance Jamaica Bay would benefit the surrounding area and environment.

“As sea levels rise and the risk of storm surge and flooding from hurricanes and other storms increases, the vast scale of Jamaica Bay allows this region of the city to be recast and restructured as an impactful ecological, infrastructural and community asset that can enhance the region’s resiliency,” Nordenson said.

The CUNY release described the phases that the research would undergo as well as other cooperating partners in the project:

Princeton University is coordinating the multi-university effort with a planning and engineering team. The City College grant, for $250,000 over 14 months, will be developed in three phases, each concluding with an interim review with peers from City College, other CUNY institutions, and invited guests.

In addition, Princeton will organize public workshops that will include representatives from the other institutions receiving grants – University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and Princeton – and a panel of expert advisors.

At the end of each phase, the City College team will produce a report with a narrative and documentation of that phase’s research, studies, analyses, maps and resilient design proposals. The final phase will conclude with the preparation of a final summary report and public exhibition.

It’s really amazing to see the commitment to long-term planning and vigorous scientific research needed following Sandy. Hopefully, when future storms hit, people will be safer, more property can be protected and the environment can be preserved.

The ex-wife of a Russian minerals baron is putting her Mill Basin mansion (2458 National Drive) on the market for the reasonable asking price of $30 million. The New York Daily News is reporting that the asking price would make the mansion the most expensive home ever in Brooklyn.

The owner of this gaudy palace is Galina Anisimova, a woman once married to Russia’s 38th richest man. Anisimova’s property covers an expansive 23,000 feet, with 257 feet overlooking Jamaica Bay. It features 10 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, four kitchens and a dock that can hold 12 boats.

The broker of the home, James Cornell, noted that Anisimova spent $30 million transforming the mansion into what it is today after buying it for $3 million in 1996. The Daily News described other amenities featured in the home as well as its shady past:

Perfection includes garage space for seven cars, a circular meditation room inscribed with signs of the Zodiac and a 1,000-square-foot outdoor pool — larger than many Brooklyn apartments — beside which sits a gigantic gazebo with room for 50 guests.

The main house was built in the early 1990s by John Rosatti, a Brooklyn car dealership king and serial entrepreneur with reputed ties to the mob.

The house was his dream home until he sold it to Anissimova for $3 million in 1996 (a large sum at the time) following a six-figure lawsuit brought by state environmental regulators. The dock was built over protected wetlands, according to reports.

Famed appraiser Jonathan Miller summed up his reaction to the ridiculous asking price and his overall thoughts on the property to the Daily News:

“There’s actually an industry term for this, a ‘why me property,’ because when you show up, you ask yourself, ‘Why me?’” he said.

Miller said the property would be more at home in Fort Lauderdale than New York. “It almost looks like they floated it up here on a barge,” he said.

Exactly.

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.

The misinformed sign. (Source: DNAinfo).

The stupid sign. (Source: DNAinfo)

Plumb Beach, the Brooklyn beach of…plumbs, has been labeled as part of Rockaway Beach, annoying anyone that knows the difference between Queens and Brooklyn. DNAInfo is reporting that a sign placed along the Belt Parkway has claimed that Plumb Beach is now part of Rockway Beach, even though the beaches are separated by different coastlines and a stretch of water.

While some might think that the sign is the result of a silly error, DNAInfo noted that there is an heir of authority behind connecting the eastern most part of Sheepshead Bay with the Rockaways:

A spokesman for the city Parks Department said the “Rockaway Beach” sign is correct, though, saying Plumb Beach is part of the new Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, which is an agreement between the city’s Parks Department and the National Parks Service.

The signage, which was put in place after Hurricane Sandy, is part of a consistent layout, and “Rockaway Beach” reflects the partnership, the spokesman said.

Is there no end to the evil and wrath of Superstorm Sandy?

A local community advocate took to YouTube to express the frustration felt by the encroaching maw that is Queens and Rockaway Beach. We have presented his unedited remarks below.

No it will not, dude. No it will not.

Source: 10000birds.com

Source: 10000birds.com

The federal government is pumping millions of dollars into the restoration of Jamaica Bay following the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy. But some local residents who live nearby are growing angry that their needs are being ignored. A report by Reuters is noting that local residents, fed up with updated post-storm building codes and the attached fees, have grown resentful of all the dollars pouring into the nature reserve.

Federal and city financial activity at Jamaica Bay is soaring in recent months. In August, we reported that the Department of the Interior and the National Parks Service is spearheading an effort to make parks located near urban environments, like Jamaica Bay, into major hotspots for outdoors activity. The hope of the effort is to put places like Jamaica Bay on par with national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. We also reported on the formation of an ambitious new multi-million dollar research project that will center around the natural storm defense barriers of Jamaica Bay, which include tidal wetlands, salt marshes and dunes. The goal of this project is to replicate these natural barriers in other areas.

According to the Reuters report, all of this activity is brewing anger in the surrounding Jamaica Bay community:

As restoration projects at Jamaica Bay get underway, using volunteer help and outside funding, they are stirring feelings of resentment among some local residents.

They say they have more pressing concerns than restoring the bay and protecting against future storm surges. Private homes and commercial buildings in the area remain damaged. Some residents are struggling to meet new Federal Emergency Management Agency building codes, access money for repairs and even determine if their home is up to code. Private inspections “can cost $500-600 or more for a single family dwelling,” [Hilarie] Williams said.

For community members, the convoluted process to access funds feeds confusion and resentment about the bay restoration project. While most community members are looking for compensation for their losses, they see money going instead to the restoration of the bay.

Still, many Jamaica Bay residents know that living by the water brings risks, including Don Riepe, the Northeast Chapter Director of the American Littoral Society and Broad Channel resident:

“I was always aware that [a storm like Sandy had the ] potential of happening,” he said. “It wasn’t a great surprise to me.” In four or five previous storms he lost heat or power “but nothing like Sandy. I lost the heat, the electricity, all the furniture” this time, he said.

Riepe sees his neighbors responding in a variety of ways – jacking up small houses in some cases, rebuilding and hoping for the rest or simply leaving for good.

But the story of Broad Channel and other communities in the area should be a wakeup call to other vulnerable coastal regions, he says.

“We’ve built in areas we shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have a house on the bay, or if I do I should be prepared to lose it,” Riepe says.”You’re living on the bay, you take the risks.”

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