The salt marsh around Jamaica Bay is disappearing and your help is needed. The American Littoral Society is calling for volunteers to help restore the salt marsh, which is vanishing at a rate of 40 acres per year.
Since 1924, 1,400 acres of tidal salt marsh has already been lost and if efforts aren’t made to conserve and restore it, the environment of Jamaica Bay will change radically.
Salt marsh is instrumental in providing a buffer from storms to the surrounding Jamaica Bay community. The marsh also improves the water quality of the bay helps preserve the habitat and breeding grounds for birds and fish.
Park Ranger Colleen Sorbera Set Coley Free (Source: jamaicabayosprey.org)
The privacy of Coley, the majestic Osprey, has finally been restored after months of intense and warrentless government tracking. Coley’s release was seen as a calculated move by the Obama administration in their overall effort to quiet critical response to the revelations that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed the Associated Press’s phone records. Park rangers tracking Coley removed the GPS tracker attached to his leg, according to scientists updating the status of the bird.
Outside of being caught in the middle of a brewing Washington scandal, Coley has had an eventful year. Highlights included his winter migration to sunny Colombia, his dramatic flight back to Jamaica Bay, the discovery of his loose GPS tracker that if left unchecked could have endangered him and his mating habits, which has produced a new family of little ospreys.
Lately, the priority set by Coley’s trackers was the removal of his GPS tracker, which they successfully managed after weeks of difficulty in catching him. It took several attempts, but once park rangers finally nabbed him, they were able to safely remove the tracker, which hadn’t hurt him, and set him free.
With Coley set loose, the scientists now plan to track a new osprey to help complete their research. Whether or not the government researchers get direct permission from the future osprey in question remains to be seen.
Coley the osprey’s busy year isn’t over yet. Until the scientists tracking his movements deem it fit to help remove Coley’s loose GPS tracking strap, they are still monitoring his incredible movements. Lately, according to the latest update from the Jamaica Bay Osprey Project, Coley is tending to his nest with his mate, protecting three eggs. Ranger Colleen Sorbera’s report gives a snapshot of Coley’s current day-to-day activities.
“We watched the nest for about 2 hours today – saw Coley bring in a fish for his mate and make 3 trips with nesting material. His pack still seems to be in perfect position,” the ranger said.
Coley’s eggs are expected to hatch in about a week. Sometime after that happens, the researchers will attempt to recapture Coley and free him of his tracking device.
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.
Governor Andrew Cuomo approved a plan to inject some much needed funds to restore 28 acres of salt marsh in an effort to provide stability for the natural wildlife, as well as future storm protection. According to a press release, the project will be led by the Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers and the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society.
In their effort to restore and protect the salt marsh grasses, the state has approved $645,000 for the project. The state press release broke down the source of and dispersal of the funds raised:
“DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation] funds provided for this planting include $500,000 in compensatory mitigation associated with improvements to the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and $145,000 from a settlement for illegal sewage discharges to Shellbank Creek. Planting work will begin in mid-May and is expected to be complete by the end of June.”
Restoring the salt marshes will bring stability to the local wildlife and fish populations while also providing storm protection for the Broad Channel community. During storms, the marshes reduce the force of waves and storm surges.
Dan Mundy, Jr., the president of the Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers, thanked the state and governor and stressed the environmental importance of the project.
“These wetland islands are critical components to one of the most important estuaries on the East Coast. This project will restore two wetland islands that are nurseries to the tremendous number of species of bird and marine wildlife. In addition, these islands will play a critical role in dissipating the impact of future storm events and in the process will help to protect the adjacent communities.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.