The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) applauded the Department of the Interior for providing $11.1 million for four competitive grants awarded yesterday for projects that will benefit the resiliency, ecology, and restoration of areas within Jamaica Bay at Gateway National Recreation Area.
The NPCA has worked with many partner groups, especially in our role as co-founder and co-chair of the New York – New Jersey Harbor Coalition, to highlight the critical role that urban parks and ecological restoration projects play in protecting vulnerable coastal communities and national park resources.
Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Northeast, destroying entire communities, causing unprecedented damage to more than 70 national parks, including national icons such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The funds awarded today will greatly benefit Jamaica Bay, which is one of New York City’s largest and most important open spaces, consisting of salt marshes, beaches, residential and commercial areas, and includes the National Parks Service’s Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
As a major stop on the Atlantic Flyway, Jamaica Bay’s restoration and resilience is critical for helping to protect the surrounding urban communities of Brooklyn and Queens from future storms, provides recreational and outdoor opportunities for millions of urban residents, and will improve the overall environmental health of the region.
“What is most exciting about these grants, many of which are matched by funds from our local partners, is the role that they will play in the overall ecological restoration of Jamaica Bay,” said Cortney Worrall, Northeast senior regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association. “These grants will provide badly needed funds to improve the salt marshes, maritime forests, and oyster beds in Jamaica Bay that were impaired and damaged by the compounded impacts of excessive nutrient loadings, dredging, and the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy. The migratory birds, fish, shell fish, and countless other species that depend on a healthy Jamaica Bay will have a chance to thrive while we provide greater protection from future storms for local communities.”
Press Release, June 17, 2014