Restoration of wetlands | The wave

JBRPC Executive Director Alex Zablocki and Program Manager Elizabeth Stoehr with one of the many breakwaters being set up along the shore.

It’s been nearly a decade since stormwater from Super Storm Sandy ravaged Jamaica’s Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, weaving its way into the West Pond and pulling huge volumes of sand from the beaches already. eroded along the shores of the park. In order to reverse the erosion and ensure that the next storm will not be as damaging as the previous one, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy has partnered with the National Parks Service to add 44,000 cubic meters of sand to the near the old breach and extend the shoreline to its 1974 levels.

“This project will create acres of new habitat at the refuge while enhancing and protecting West Pond and the beloved Loop Trail,” said JBRPC Executive Director Alex Zablocki. “The construction of this innovative living shoreline project is only possible through a partnership and the Conservancy recognizes the work of government agencies, elected officials and local organizations like the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and the American Littoral Society for supporting the project by design and ensuring that the project is built in Jamaica Bay.

Currently, this construction has crews moving about 1,000 cubic meters of sand through the refuge per day, bringing about four trucks every hour to the site to help repair damage from years of erosion. Once delivered, the sand is then bulldozed to its destination. The bulldozers themselves are fitted with remarkable pieces of technology – GPS trackers placed on the vehicle lift and automatically lower the bulldozer bucket, ensuring that every inch of sand is placed and grated exactly according to plan.

In order to ensure that this sand was not washed away like its predecessor, the JBRPC also began to build breakwaters intended to disperse the power of the waves hitting the shore. These breakwaters are constructed entirely from oyster shells, collected by the Billion Oyster Project from various New York restaurants and taken to dry on Governors Island.

These breakwaters will be supported by structures known as coconut logs – long log-like things made from woven concrete fibers – and a fence made from recycled Christmas trees collected from local residents who will help protect the coastline and fight against erosion. Once these are in place, JBRPC and its partners will then plant some 215,000 native plants in the area to restore a more natural look and add an additional level of protection against the threat of erosion.

In addition to all this, a new outlet is also being installed at the West Pond, replacing the old one which has been virtually destroyed over the years and putting a new stainless steel “duckbill valve” to its. square. This flow will allow NPS employees to better control water levels in West Pond and create the mudflats so popular with migrating shorebirds who often stop to call the area their temporary home.

This project is a real showcase of the strength of a public-private partnership, as the JBRPC was able to use its skills and abilities to create a very timely construction schedule to ensure the project was completed as quickly as possible. The tender for the restoration was issued in February of this year, and as of May, construction was underway. The sand replenishment portion of the project will continue until the end of the month, and by September, volunteers will begin planting native plants to fully restore the area, with an estimated end date of October.

Funding for the project was also secured through this same type of public-private partnership, with the JBRPC and their partners Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers and the American Littoral Society, among others, working hand in hand with politicians. and local agencies. to make sure they get everything they need to make the project a reality.

“Multiple bureaucratic hurdles were overcome with the direct and constant assistance of Assembly Member Amato, who chaired a monthly working group on this effort,” said Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers President Dan Mundy Jr. .. “His efforts and those of Senator Addabbo have helped streamline this process, cut red tape and make this concept a reality!” We are happy to know that West Pond will now be protected by new wetlands that will not only provide storm protection for the pond, but also provide new habitat in the bay. It is gratifying to know that future generations will be able to benefit from this incredible resource.


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