Volunteer Sebastien Nordenson planting beach grass on the dunes at Rockaway Beach. Photo by Danae Alessi.

Volunteer Sebastien Nordenson planting beach grass on the dunes at Rockaway Beach. Photo by Danae Alessi.

Dormant beach grass stems or culms ready for planting in the early spring and late fall.

Dormant beach grass stems or culms ready for planting in the early spring and late fall.

JBRPC created a beach grass nursery at Floyd Bennett Field with its partners at the National Park Service, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the Natural Areas Conservancy. The nursery honors Marian S. Heiskell, a lifelong conservationist and a citizen founder of Gateway National Recreation Area and the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, the catalyst for the revitalization of Jamaica Bay.

Beach grass grown at this 3.25-acre nursery has been planted, frequently by volunteers, to stabilize dunes that buffer the Rockaway coastline from storms and sea level rise. Beach grass is a native species that can withstand tough conditions, including wind, drought and salt spray, while spreading its roots across dunes, holding them in place. Specially adapted for its harsh environment, this grass has the ability to shift with ever-changing dunes. Even as beach grass gets buried by blown sand, it migrates upward and continues to grow.

 

This nursery is made possible by generous support from Bloomberg Philanthropies.