In July 2012, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed a cooperative management agreement and announced the formation of the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) to support the unique relationship between the City of New York and the National Park Service. JBRPC was formally established in 2013 as a public-private partnership dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula for local residents and visitors alike.
With its partners at the National Park Service and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, JBRPC works to expand public access; increase recreational and educational opportunities; foster citizen stewardship and volunteerism; preserve and restore natural areas, including wetland and wildlife habitat; enhance cultural resources; and ensure the long-term sustainability of the parklands, including the development of the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay.
Most recently, JBRPC sponsored the Rockaway! Public Arts Festival to celebrate the reopening of historic Fort Tilden. Organized by MoMA PS1 and the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Rockaway! featured solo projects by Patti Smith, Janet Cardiff and Adrian Villar Rojas, including an installation by Smith of five granite blocks engraved with quotes by Walt Whitman that was donated to the park for permanent display. From its opening day performance through its nine-week run, Rockaway! welcomed more than 12,000 people to Fort Tilden.
Other projects include creating a 3.25-acre nursery at Floyd Bennett Field to provide beach grass to stabilize the dunes that buffer the Rockaway coastline from storms and sea level rise; organizing volunteers to plant beach grass, clean up debris, and spruce up buildings with fresh coats of paint; and successfully advocating for the expansion of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ sand replenishment project to Riis Beach, which will begin in fall 2014.