Saturday, February 22, 2014

SCHUMER PUSHES FEDS FOR JAMAICA BAY FUNDING


February 21, 2014
 A proposed $5 million project for Spring Creek Park would restore and enhance 11 acres of salt marsh and 16 acres of coastal forest in the northern portion of Jamaica Bay. Photo courtesy NYC Parks Department
A proposed $5 million project for Spring Creek Park would restore and enhance 11 acres of salt marsh and 16 acres of coastal forest in the northern portion of Jamaica Bay. Photo courtesy NYC Parks Department
Saying the government needs to do more to better protect Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula from future storms, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged federal officials to support five separate projects totaling $17.5 million that he said would prove crucial during future weather events like Superstorm Sandy.
Stressing that Jamaica Bay acted as a natural barrier during Sandy, somewhat softening the storm’s blow, Schumer is asking the federal Department of Interior, or DOI, to funnel millions into projects that would make the bay a more effective buffer against future coastal storms, as well as making Rockaway’s coastline more resilient, the lawmaker announced last week.
“Superstorm Sandy wrought tremendous damage across the communities surrounding Jamaica Bay, but the damage may have been even worse were it not for Jamaica Bay’s natural ability to act as a shield against storms,” Schumer said in a statement. “Sometimes our best defense against Mother Nature’s wrath is actually Mother Nature itself, and these five projects will take what is already a natural storm defense and make it even more effective at protecting the homes and livelihoods of thousands of New Yorkers.”
The requested $17.5 million for the five projects is part of the city’s official application to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grants Program, through which more than $100 million in grants will be awarded throughout the region affected by Superstorm Sandy.
“These five projects are exactly what this grant program was created to fund, and I am urging the Department of Interior to give these the green light as soon as possible,” Schumer said.
The projects Schumer is supporting include the Sunset Cove salt marsh and maritime forest restoration, Rockaway East resiliency preserve, Spring Creek salt marsh and coastal upland restoration, Jamaica Bay head of bay oyster restoration, and Jamaica Bay bathymetric and sediment model.
“This grant money is critical to safeguarding one of New York City’s most amazing and productive natural assets,” said city Director of Resiliency Daniel Zarrilli.
The $5 million Sunset Cove salt marsh and maritime forest restoration project will restore about six to seven acres of salt marsh, enhance four to five forest acres, and construct berms on Broad Channel Island.
Another $5 million is being requested for the Rockaway East resiliency preserve, a dune construction and beach habitat development project in Arverne that would result in a better protected coastline.
The $5 million Spring Creek salt marsh and coastal upland restoration would restore and enhance 11 acres of salt marsh and 16 acres of coastal forest and scrubland in Spring Creek Park, where extensive marshland has been filled and remaining marshed are degraded by debris.
The Jamaica Bay head of bay oyster restoration project would be located in the northeastern end of Jamaica Bay and would establish a self-sustaining oyster population that would filter the water. The constructed oyster bed would protect the adjacent shoreline from erosion and future coastal storm surges. Again, this project would be $5 million.
A $1 million Jamaica Bay bathymetric and sediment model project would develop and test a model to illustrate and understand sediment transport in Jamaica Bay and its environs.
By Anna Gustafson

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