The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy is proud to sponsor the Rockaway Photo Expo, presented by the Rockaway Times. Photos taken by local photographers will be on display along the boardwalk and at Riis Park from Memorial Day to July 4, 2017. Photos will be judged and the winner for best photo will receive a $500 grand prize!
July 1, 2016
MoMA PS1 presents Rockaway!, a site-specific outdoor installation by artist Katharina Grosse (Germany, b. 1961). Reflecting the bold colors of sunset in the Rockaways, Grosse has transformed Fort Tilden's decaying aquatics building into a monumental and sublime artwork using a specialized technique of spraying brightly colored paint directly onto the structure. Grosse’s installation serves as a final celebration and memorialization of this iconic building, which was rendered structurally unsound by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and is set to be demolished in late 2016.
Grosse’s singular approach highlights the potential of painting as a medium, and encapsulates the stark beauty of this manmade structure and its natural surroundings. In her practice, Grosse seeks to extend the scope of her painting beyond the borders of the canvas. Grosse’s installation work seamlessly combines subtle nuances of light and shadow, characteristic of traditional landscape painting, with the weight and spectacle of large-scale sculpture. These sprawling and sculptural landscapes evoke the physicality of action painting and earthworks through their gestures and monumentality.
Rockaway! is organized in collaboration with the Rockaway Artists Alliance,Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, Central Park Conservancy, NYC Parks & Recreation and Rockaway Beach Surf Club.
Rockaway! is a celebration of the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway Peninsula following the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, organized in collaboration with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, Central Park Conservancy, NYC Parks & Recreation, and Rockaway Beach Surf Club. Rockaway! 2016 is a continuation of MoMA PS1’s ongoing collaborative programming alongside the Rockaway Artists Alliance that began with collaborating on rescue efforts immediately following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and continued with the VW Dome 2 in 2013 and Rockaway! in summer 2014, which featured solo projects by Patti Smith, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Janet Cardiff as well as a group show at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club.
Open to the public free of charge during regular park hours.
Fort Tilden (169 State Road) is accessible by the Q22 and Q35 buses, the A train/shuttle to 116th St. and weekend ferry service on the American Princess. Parking is available at adjacent Riis Park. The Rockaway Beach Surf Club (302 Beach 87th Street) is on the A train/shuttle to Beach 90th Street; bus service includes the Q22 and Q52. Parking is limited to on-street.
View the exact location of Rockaway! here.
Rockaway Artists Alliance:
Since 1995 Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) has brought innovative art exhibitions, cultural events, and high-quality art education programs to the Rockaway peninsula. RAA’s facilities—sTudio 6, sTudio 7, and Building T-149—are nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay in Gateway National Recreation Area’s historic Fort Tilden. RAA brings children, adults, and seniors to the Fort for interactive programs—like Rockaway!—lectures, demonstrations, and musical performances.
Rockaway Artists Alliance presents Forbidden Fruit: Street Art in a National Park, telling the story of the people, flora and fauna of Jamaica Bay. Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) is a public-private partnership established in 2013 that is 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.
The National Park Service (NPS) operates more than 400 parks and historic sites nationwide, including Gateway National Recreation Area—which contains Fort Tilden—established in 1972 as America’s first urban national park. In 2012, NPS and the City of New York forged an unprecedented partnership to restore and revitalize 10,000 acres of unique parklands surrounding Jamaica Bay. Rockaway!, a direct outgrowth of that collaboration, seeks to attract and engage new visitors to these amazing waterfront parks.
The Central Park Conservancy is proud to support the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, 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 a series of summer volunteer opportunities and free activities, including a film festival presented by the Rockaway Artists Alliance.
NYC Parks is the steward of nearly 30,000 acres of land─14 percent of New York City. These holdings include some 3,000 acres within the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks, including Rockaway Beach, the iconic urban getaway recently rediscovered by a new generation of surfers and beach lovers. NYC Parks launched its Art in the Parks program in 1967 and now oversees more than 800 permanent monuments and dozens of temporary artworks each year and, through its collaboration with the National Park Service on the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks, provided additional support for Rockaway!
Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a cultural event space, restaurant and bar devoted to promoting the love of surfing, conserving the environment and supporting its local neighborhood. Unique to Rockaway Beach is the convergence of surf and urban culture. Our mission is to inspire the community and its residents through surfing and be a fun and positive destination for visitors to the peninsula. We believe in supporting everything the community has to offer…including the work of artists, writers, musicians and all lovers of surf and beach. In 2012, Rockaway Beach Surf Club led the on-ground recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy and will continue to be a leader in the community for years to come.
Special thanks to Arverne By The Sea, LLC, Rockaway Beach Boulevard Construction, LLC and All Points, Inc. Rockaway! is made possible through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Secunda Family Foundation.
June 22, 2015
The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC), announced today the beginning of groundwork at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Gateway National Recreation Area in Queens, New York, as part of a collaborative project to improve the ecological health of habitats, increase resiliency, and enhance visitor experience at the Refuge.
As part of this collaborative project, The Nature Conservancy and NPS will reduce invasive plants and restore native plant communities, including flood and salt-tolerant plants, to create better habitat for migratory birds and improve the site’s ability to recover from future floods.
“This project will have implications beyond Jamaica Bay by demonstrating how land management strategies on coastal parklands and natural areas can enhance their resilience to climate change,” said Emily Nobel Maxwell, Director of The Nature Conservancy’s New York City Program. “With more frequent flooding, sea level rise and severe storms predicted for New York City, this work has potential applications for the City’s 520 miles of coastline and beyond.”
“We must do everything possible to help make sure the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is better protected from invasive species and storm surges that pose serious threats to the habitat,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “I am pleased that the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy are working together to help preserve the plants and animals that are native to this land. Overall, this collaborative project will create a healthier habitat that is both beautiful and a guard against flooding and storm surges.”
In addition to the native plant and coastal resiliency work, hundreds of volunteers will be engaged in re-planting the site, and others will join in monitoring butterflies and pollinators to track the project’s success.
"The JBRPC is proud to be working with The Nature Conservancy on this key restoration project that advances our goal to expand public access, increase recreational and educational opportunities, and preserve and restore natural areas, including wetland and wildlife habitat in Jamaica Bay,” said Tom Secunda, Chairman, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy. “The technical expertise provided by The Nature Conservancy, working hand-in-hand with the National Park Service, will help ensure the long-term sustainability of the site."
The initial idea for this collaborative project began early last year, when a capital investment donation from the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy for a restoration project on federal land began a conversation between The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service about the need for ecological restoration in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
“The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge provides a home to many of New York City’s animal and plant-life that deserve to live in a secure environment that is free of invasive species and resilient to future storm surge flooding,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “With our continuously growing city, we need to ensure that our marshes and wildlife sanctuaries remain protected and maintained to mitigate the harmful effects on native species. I would like to thank Commissioner Laird from National Parks, the Nature Conservancy of New York and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy for their dedicated work on this necessary restoration project.”
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, part of Gateway National Recreation Area in Queens, is a true urban gem. It’s home to an impressive array of birds—more than 330 species have been sighted—and other wildlife. The Refuge is accessible by public transportation and offers an essential connection to nature in New York City. Its location near JFK Airport and the Rockaways makes it a destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike, attracting more than 500,000 visitors each year. The Nature Conservancy and NPS will also create interpretive materials at the project site for visitors.
"As we head into the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, we can think of no better way to celebrate than through the restoration of this national treasure,” says Jen Nersesian, Superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area. “Its impacts will undoubtedly have ripple effects -- from how the knowledge gained will contribute to urban ecological restoration more broadly, to the strength of the partnership between the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and the potential that holds for the future of Jamaica Bay."
The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service are optimistic that the site work will begin in Fall 2015 and continue through 2017. TNC and NPS will rely on volunteers to help plant over 20,000 native trees and shrubs at the site over the next several years. The baseline biological monitoring, including surveys of birds, soils, vegetation, and insects, will take place in spring and summer of 2015. Post-restoration monitoring will occur seasonally in the fall and spring, until at least 2017. NPS crews and volunteer stewards are anticipated to take on site maintenance after restoration crews conduct the initial invasive species removal. For more information about our work at Jamaica Bay, please visit nature.org/jamaicabay.
December 18, 2014
The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRI@JB) has named Adam Parris, an expert on social and environmental change in US coastal zones, as its executive director, effective February 17, 2015. Parris will lead the SRI@JB in research and activities related to the environmental resilience in urban coastal ecosystems. A partnership between the city of New York and the federal government, the SRI@JB consortium is currently hosted by lead institution Brooklyn College. This top-tier institute will welcome visiting scientists, provide lab facilities for students and researchers, organize community outreach programs, and hold events to present research findings, including those related to the restoration of Jamaica Bay and the advancement of coastal resiliency in New York City and beyond.
City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor James B. Milliken said, "Jamaica Bay is a beautiful, ecologically complex habitat for both salt-water and fresh-water fish, wildlife and plants. Long under stress by urban development, the bay faces new threats from rising ocean levels. These factors make it a crucial laboratory for the Science and Resilience Institute."
Gillian Small, CUNY's Vice Chancellor for Research said, "With human-caused climate change endangering our planet, we need great science to understand what is happening if we are to find ways to preserve our world. That's why City University joined in establishing the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, and I have no doubt that Adam Parris and his talented team with provide keen insights."
"We are excited that Adam will lead this important institute," said William A. Tramontano, Brooklyn College provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "He has wide-ranging expertise on coastal ecosystems and a strong record of administrative leadership. Adam will join a team that has been led by the institute's Interim Director William Solecki of Hunter College, who is a professor and director of the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities. They have already been working diligently since August 2013 to get key projects off the ground, including the creation of symposia at the institute and development of the institute's permanent site at Floyd Bennett Field, part of Gateway National Recreation Area's Jamaica Bay Unit. The team has also been working closely with New York City, State and Federal agencies on issues relating to Jamaica Bay and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy."
Parris comes to Brooklyn College from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he served as the Climate and Service division chief, Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program manager and as a physical scientist. RISA is internationally recognized for its role in helping decision makers to manage weather and climate risks. Parris is also the lead author on the "Global Mean Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the US National Climate Assessment." He provided technical guidance and leadership on the Sea Level Rise Tool for Sandy Recovery, for which he received the Presidential Green.Gov award as a Climate Champion. Prior to his work at NOAA, Parris was a coastal planner for the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
"The Institute is an incredibly exciting opportunity to foster science that the community can use to revitalize and transform Jamaica Bay," said Parris, who holds a B.A. from Bucknell University and an M.S. in geology from the University of Vermont. "I'm honored to lead a collaborative exchange between the region's cutting edge science institutions and the innovative people who manage Jamaica Bay. This is a testament to the current and future resilience of the city and state of New York."
Since its launch in August 2013, the SRI@JB has received $7.7 million from New York State as part of the CUNY 20/20 initiative; $3.6 million from the Department of the Interior's Hurricane Sandy Mitigation Funding to support research on environmental resilience in urban coastal ecosystems; and a commitment of $7.5 million from the City of New York for the permanent SRI@JB home within Gateway NRA's Jamaica Bay Unit. It has also received significant support form The Rockefeller Foundation directly and through the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC), a public-private partnership with the National Park Service and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula. The institute has begun to study the water quality within Jamaica Bay and the health and resilience of its salt marshes, and also monitor and evaluate ecosystem restoration efforts.
"Jamaica Bay is New York City's gateway to the Atlantic. The National Park Service's partnership with the SRI@JB is critical for us to better understand the ecological and sociological factors that impact the health of the Bay and its resilience to climate change and future storms," said Joshua Laird, commissioner for the National Parks of New York Harbor. "The selection of Adam Parris as the executive director is a big step forward in establishing the SRI@JB as a leader in urban coastal resilience science providing critical data that will enable the National Park Service to better manage all its coastal sites, including Gateway NRA."
"We are thrilled to welcome Adam to the Jamaica Bay team," said Thomas F. Secunda, JBRPC chair. "Under Adam's leadership, SRI@JB will become the key repository for all of the research being undertaken by the myriad groups committed to improving Jamaica Bay."
"We know that building resilience requires sound research and data as well as strong communities, and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay is committed to both," said Peter Madonia, Chief Operating Officer at The Rockefeller Foundation and a longtime champion of the institute. "Years ago, we provided the earliest funding for the Science and Resilience Institute because we saw the potential to be the first of its kind. Superstorm Sandy only reinforced that we need it. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation remains committed to the Institute's growth and success, as it serves as yet another example of how New York is a national and global leader in resilience thinking and practice."
"Reliable science and interpretation is critical to making appropriate decisions regarding water quality investments that will protect and enhance the habitats and surrounding communities of Jamaica Bay," said NYC Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Angela Licata. "Adam has promoted the value of providing local decision-makers with research to provide informative data, and pragmatic approaches that respond to emergent challenges. We look forward to working with him in his new capacity to analyze and prepare for the risks and opportunities that lie ahead."
"Jamaica bay is one of the city's great natural assets and plays a critical role in the city's climate resiliency plan," said Daniel Zarrilli, director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency. "The city is excited to continue its work with the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, under the new leadership of Adam Parris, to improve the coastal resiliency and environmental quality of Jamaica Bay. By working together, Jamaica Bay can be a laboratory for the development of best scientific practices that can have not only a local impact, but a regional and global impact as well."
Jamaica Bay—an 18,000-acre area located at the southern edge of New York City, and bordered by Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau County—is a collection of meadowlands and waterways whose soil erosion has in recent years caused flooding of surrounding populated areas. The protection and revitalization of the bay is considered essential, not only because it is home to a diverse ecosystem, but also serves as a natural barrier against the forces of wind and tide, helping to minimize flooding and filter out pollutants.
SRI@JB is a join initiative among the National Park Service, the city of New York, and a consortium of leading research institutions, including CUNY, Columbia University, Cornell University, Rutgers University, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York Sea Grant, Stevens Institute of Technology, Stony Brook University (SUNY), and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Contact: Ernesto Mora
Phone Number: 212-662-9939
October 15, 2014
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) is dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkiand around Jamaica Bay and throughout the Rockaway peninsula. One of the greatest challenges to making these extraordinary open spaces accessible to local communities and visitors alike—and aiding in the ongoing post-Sandy recovery—is the limited transportation options. Consequently, JBRPC would like to express its support for increased public access to the Rockaways through expanded and improved subway, bus, and ferry service.
The City has made great strides in improving public transportation—from Bus Rapid Transit routes to bike lanes to its once-neglected waterways. Ferry service has increased along the East River, to and from Staten Island, and thanks to the quick response of the Economic Development Corporation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, to the Rockaways at Beach 1 08 th Street. JBRPC commends these efforts and encourages the City to not only maintain Rockaway ferry service, but to expand it to other destinations on the peninsula—particularly to isolated areas of Far Rockaway as well as across Jamaica Bay to serve the communities of Canarsie and East New York—and provide much-needed weekend service.
This past summer, JBRPC sponsored the Rockaway! public arts festival to celebrate the reopening of historic Fort Tilden and recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway peninsula. In its two-month run, the festival attracted approximately 15,000 people, increasing the demand for the limited ferry service provided by the National Park Service at Riis Landing. JBRPC would very much like to work collaboratively with the City and continue to provide recreational, educational, and other opportunities that attract park users, thereby increasing ridership and supporting the City’s investment in the Rockaway ferry.
Executive Director, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy
October 7, 2014
Plan Provides Assessment of Completed and Ongoing Projects as well as Upcoming Initiatives to Improve Water Quality and Restore Natural Ecological Functions within the Bay
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today released the 2014 update to the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan. The plan, first issued in 2007, focuses on water quality improvements, ecological restoration and enhancing valuable natural resources. The update outlines the numerous initiatives DEP has undertaken, along with state and federal partner agencies, environmental advocates, leading educational institutions and community groups, to protect one of the most bountiful wildlife habitats in the Northeastern Unites States. Ongoing initiatives include wastewater treatment plant upgrades, oyster and ribbed mussel pilot restoration projects, wetlands restoration, green infrastructure projects and Geographic Information System mapping. The updated plan can be viewed on the DEP website here.
“Jamaica Bay is one of New York City’s most unique natural environments and we are committed to protecting and enhancing its overall health and expanding public access,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “The Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan sets a framework for this critical work that will be accomplished through partnerships between many different levels of government, local educational institutions, environmental leaders and dedicated community groups.”
Jamaica Bay is a 31-square-mile water body with a broader watershed of approximately 142 square miles, which includes portions of Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau County. The bay is a diverse ecological resource that supports multiple habitats, including open water, salt marshes, grasslands, coastal woodlands, maritime shrublands, and brackish and freshwater wetlands. These habitats support 91 fish species, 325 species of birds, and many reptile, amphibian, and small mammal species. Below are updates on some of the ongoing initiatives to protect and enhance the ecological health of Jamaica Bay:
Ribbed Mussel Pilot
In 2011, DEP established a demonstration project of Ribbed Mussels in Fresh Creek, a tributary to Jamaica Bay. Ribbed Mussels are naturally occurring in the Bay and filter water. The project is being monitored to determine whether a more robust population within the center of the channel could remove substantial quantities of impurities from the water, particularly near combined sewer and stormwater outfalls. Monitoring of the mussel colonization density and water quality will continue through late fall of 2014 and a report will be issued in 2015.
Paerdegat Basin Restoration
DEP has restored 52 acres of tidal wetlands and coastal grasslands adjacent to Paerdegat Basin, a tributary of Jamaica Bay. The $35 million project also included the establishment of a five acre ecology park, which highlights many of the city’s ecosystems. This work, in combination with the construction of a $357 million combined sewer overflow retention facility at the head of the basin, has contributed to significant improvement in Paerdegat Basin water quality.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades
DEP operates four wastewater treatment plants located along Jamaica Bay or its tributaries that have the capacity to treat up to 240 million gallons of wastewater every day. Nitrogen is a naturally occurring element that is found in food and other organic materials and is present in wastewater when it enters treatment plants. Because nitrogen is not a pathogen and poses no threat to human health, the wastewater treatment plants were not originally designed to remove it from the treated water before it is discharged into the receiving water body. However, high levels of nitrogen can degrade the overall ecology of a waterway by reducing levels of dissolved oxygen and promoting excessive algae growth, especially in warm weather months. At a cost of $230 million, DEP is implementing advanced technology at the four treatment plants that will reduce daily nitrogen discharges by up to 60 percent.
Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay
In 2011, the City and the federal government announced a new cooperative agreement to improve the parklands adjacent to the Bay. In 2013, the partners established the Science and Resilience Institute to act as a top tier research center, with invaluable local experience from the region’s most respected scientific institutions, which will execute an intensive research program focused on the restoration of Jamaica Bay and advance the role of science in managing resources and building regional resilience to future storms. Earlier this summer, the Institute was awarded a $7.7 million grant from New York State to build a new center to house the research activities as well as to purchase a new research vessel. It also secured a $3.6 million grant to support research efforts.
Marsh and Wetland Restoration
Over the last 150 years, Jamaica Bay has lost a significant amount of marsh and wetland areas due to a variety of factors, including sea level rise, dredging and filling throughout the Bay, a loss of sediment, and increased tidal heights. Many of these changes have permanently altered sections of the bay. As such, habitat restoration along the periphery of Jamaica Bay continues to play a significant role in meeting the goals of creating highly productive ecological areas and improved habitat. The City has been leveraging $7 million of its funds, along with matching federal and state contributions, to help restore over 150 acres of salt marsh islands. In all, DEP has secured $14 million in federal and state funding for wetland restoration in Jamaica Bay over the last 6-years. It is expected that the City can leverage another $8 million to secure an additional $16 million in matching funding over the next few years. Local communities are also taking a strong role in restoration through funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and DEP. Non-profit organizations such as EcoWatchers, Jamaica Bay Guardian, and the American Littoral Society have completed a community-based planting effort to vegetate thirty new acres created at Black Wall and Rulers Bar in June 2013.
Marsh Island Wave Attenuator Study
DEP will construct a floating wetland wave attenuator at Brant Point along the southern shoreline of Jamaica Bay. A wave attenuator is an anchored island of floating material offshore of a wetland or shoreline which deflects and reduces the energy of waves. The pilot study will evaluate the potential for wave attenuation on a specific section of eroding wetland shoreline to investigate the growth of beneficial wetland building sediments and the anticipated decreased rate of shoreline loss. The temporary floating wetland structures will be a “proxy” for potential future oyster beds around wetlands to evaluate their wave energy reduction value. DEP has obtained the permits needed for construction to proceed and it is expected that work will begin later this year or in early 2015. Once completed, the attenuator and adjacent shoreline will be monitored for a period of time and the data will be included in a summary report.
Belt Parkway Green Infrastructure Installations
DEP is partnering with the New York City Department of Transportation to build green infrastructure along the medians and shoulder areas of the Belt Parkway. The stormwater that falls on the Parkway, including its bridges, rather than be diverted directly into the Bay and its tributaries, is directed to the green infrastructure where it can be naturally absorbed into the ground. During construction, the installations are excavated and then backfilled with layers of stone and engineered soil. These layers contain void spaces that store the stormwater and promote infiltration. The addition of hardy plants further encourages infiltration through root growth and increases its capacity through evapotranspiration. In addition to naturally filtering and absorbing excess stormwater, the green infrastructure provides important habitats for native plants. Construction is complete at the Paerdegat and Rockaway sites and preliminary observations indicate that they are meeting project objectives. Similar installations for the Gerritsen Bridge are being planned.
Jamaica Bay Watershed Green Infrastructure
DEP is currently engaged in a citywide effort to soften the impervious urban landscape to help absorb rainwater that would otherwise drain into the combined sewer system and contribute to combined sewer overflows into local waterways. A focal point of this effort is the installation of specially designed curbside gardens, or bioswales, in sidewalks throughout neighborhoods that are served by combined sewers, including the Jamaica Bay watershed. The bioswales resemble standard street tree pits, except that they vary in size, have curb cuts that allow stormwater to enter and overflow, and have been designed in a way that will allow them to manage between 1,300 and 3,000 gallons each during a storm. The construction of bioswales throughout the Jamaica Bay watershed will accelerate significantly in 2014-2015.
Area-Wide Sewer Upgrades
The post-World War II commercial and residential development of southeast Queens outpaced the extension of the City’s sewer system and many neighborhoods in the area are not yet equipped with catch basins or storm sewers to drain precipitation from the roadways. The multi-year, $6 billion effort to construct a comprehensive storm sewer system for the area includes projects such as the final stages of the $175 million Springfield Gardens upgrade that will bring nine miles of storm sewers and eight miles of sanitary sewers to the area, a $26 million upgrade for the Brookville Boulevard area, an $18 million project that will bring high level storm sewers to the Twin Ponds neighborhood, and a $5 million project to install an additional sewer line under 183rd Street at Jamaica Avenue.
Oyster Bed Pilot
The restoration of oyster colonies within Jamaica Bay could potentially help regenerate the natural environment of the Bay and also improve water quality. To evaluate whether environmental and climactic conditions are suitable for oyster growth in the Bay, DEP installed an oyster bed off of Dubos Point in Queens and oyster reef balls in Gerristen Creek, in Brooklyn. Monitoring showed adequate conditions for oyster survival and growth and they did in fact reproduce over several years, although there was no sign of new oysters joining the colonies. With $1 million in new funding obtained through the Hurricane Sandy Resiliency Grant Program, the pilots will be scaled up to a half-acre in size in early 2015.
Jamaica Bay Watershed Ecological Atlas
To better inform area-wide wetland protection programs, DEP has developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) based Jamaica Bay Watershed Ecological Atlas. It provides a complete and updated inventory of all vacant City-owned properties and a characterization of their habitat and stormwater attributes, a GIS-mapping and data layer that can be used to develop and leverage future stormwater management ecological restoration designs, and a prioritized list and map of potential sites for stormwater management and ecological restoration and conservation. The Atlas will be available on DEP’s website later this fall.
The 2007 Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan was the result of research and dialogue with stakeholders and consultation with the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan Advisory Committee. The plan was undertaken in accordance with Local Law 71, which requires DEP to assess the technical, legal, environmental and economic feasibility of protection measures for Jamaica Bay and produce a report every three years. A portion of the money used for the marsh and wetland restoration projects was from environmental benefit funds paid by the City as part of the resolution of an enforcement matter brought by the State pursuant to the First Amended Nitrogen Consent Judgment.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts, and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.
Contact: DEP Press Office
Phone Number: 718-595-6600
Join the Friends of Penn and Fountain Parks on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9 AM for a fun-filled, educational bus tour of the 407 acres of potential parkland. With 360-degree panorama views, the parks offer stunning views of the flora and fauna, as well as the Manhattan skyline and Atlantic Ocean. The tour, which is approximately 2.5 hours long, is led by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and the National Park Service.
Meeting Location: Brooklyn Sports Club, 1540 Van Siclen Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Registration: No pre-registration is required. Sign in at the door beginning at 9 AM. The event will begin with a brief presentation by NYCDEP followed by the bus tour. Fifty seats are available; first come, first served.
For more information, please contact the Friends of Penn and Fountain Parks at email@example.com.
September 4, 2014
Crews have resumed pumping sand onto the beaches of Rockaway as part of the Corps of Engineers’ effort to repair and restore the engineered beach there to provide coastal storm risk management benefits to the community.
Work was temporarily stopped this summer when, as expected, crews moving east reached nesting areas of the endangered piping plover around Beach 61st Street. The plovers have fledged and the no-construction environmental window ended at the beginning of September so crews have now resumed sand pumping operations.
Sand pumping will begin in the area of Beach 61st Street and continue east to the eastern end of the project area at Beach 19th Street. Sand has already been placed from Beach 149th to Beach 61st. Sand placement work is expected to be completed by the end of October.
There will be rolling beach closures of roughly 1000 foot wide sections of the beach that will be fenced off where construction work is active, but the Corps of Engineers will make efforts to limit the impacts of the ongoing work on recreation without compromising public safety. Closures will be closely coordinated with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
So far, crews have pumped roughly 3 million cubic yards of sand at Rockaway since Hurricane Sandy and will be placing roughly 500,000 cubic yards in this final push to complete construction.
The sand pumping will complete the overall repair and restore work at Rockaway Beach, which consisted of pumping roughly 3.5 million cubic yards of sand along Rockaway Beach since Hurricane Sandy to replace sand lost during the storm as well as place additional sand to restore the beach to its design profile from when the Corps initially constructed the current Rockaway Beach project in the 1970s.
The project, primarily a wide, flat elevated beach berm, is designed to reduce risks to the community by keeping the erosive power of the waves from reaching structures and infrastructure and reducing damages from waves, inundation, and erosion.
Once sand placement work is complete, Rockaway Beach will be higher and wider than it has been in decades. This work, combined with the New York City-funded elevated berm at the back of the project area, will provide a greater level of risk management than has ever existed along the Atlantic coast of Rockaway.
The repair and restore of Rockaway Beach is being completed through two contracts, both awarded to Weeks Marine of Cranford, New Jersey. The first contract, completed in the fall of 2013, was a $10 million contract and involved the placement of roughly 600,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from East Rockaway Inlet. The second contract, which started this spring and is being currently being finished, is a $26.4 million contract that involves the placement of roughly 2.9 million cubic yards of sand.
Contact: Chris Gardner
Phone Number: 917-790-8007
August 18, 2014
Legislation Drafted by Senator Addabbo and Assemblyman Goldfeder to Protect Jamaica Bay From Toxic Dumping Becomes Law; Governor Signs Legislation to Preserve Jamaica Bay
State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder proudly announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed their legislation (A.2074A/S.3392A) to prevent state regulatory agencies from issuing permits to allow dumping hazardous materials into Jamaica Bay’s borrow pits, ultimately limiting the risk of water contamination.
“This legislation is a huge victory for our families in Broad Channel and every community surrounding Jamaica Bay,”said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “This law will not only protect the waters of Jamaica Bay from hazardous dumping, but also ensures that thousands of endangered bird species and wildlife remain safe. Jamaica Bay is not only an environmental resource but has become an economic engine in southern Queens. I am thankful for the partnership with Senator Addabbo and the support Governor Cuomo to help preserve Jamaica Bay.”
“Communities surrounding Jamaica Bay can now breathe a little easier with the passing of this bill, both figuratively and literally. In the Legislature, we fought for this because our backyards and the beautiful bay waters are not a dumping ground for hazardous waste. Life in the water, on the water and around the water must be preserved,” said Senator Addabbo. "In the district, we were all fortunate enough to grow up with Jamaica Bay and I hope this legislation will ensure future generations can enjoy the serenity and beauty for years to come. I appreciate the persistent efforts of my colleague, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and thank the Governor for his support."
Prior to the elected official’s legislation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) did not have any guidelines for state waters, including Jamaica Bay. This new law will prohibit DEC from issuing permits that would allow hazardous materials from being dumped into the borrow pits of Jamaica Bay and contaminating the surrounding waters. Borrow pits include a number of locations throughout the bay that have an increased depth as a result of past Army Corp. of Engineer dredging projects that have removed sand from the bay floor to fill in adjacent areas.
"Assemblyman Goldfeder and Senator Addabbo's legislation will close a legislative loophole that has threatened Jamaica Bay for over thirty years," said Dan Mundy Jr. of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. "The current regulation that allows contaminated fill to be placed in the waters of the bay has attracted numerous ill-conceived plans that are possibly driven by huge potential financial benefits to a few, while potentially destroying the bay forever! This legislation will end these plans and the threats they pose for good! Assemblyman Goldfeder has been at the leading edge in advocating for the protection and preservation of Jamaica Bay in order to ensure this treasured resource can be enjoyed by future generations."
“We commend Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation into law,” concluded Addabbo, Goldfeder. “Dredged materials leaching with toxins have no right to be dumped in our waters and now we finally have the laws in place to keep our families away from harm and preserve the natural ecosystem of Jamaica Bay for years to come.”