Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan Unveiled
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd yesterday 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.
“Jamaica Bay is one of the 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.”
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.