$7M to restore Jamaica Bay marshes – QNS.com

$7M to restore Jamaica Bay marshes

Photo by Dan Mundy, Jr.

A $7 million grant will see more “green” in the Jamaica Bay marshes.

The grant — provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, totaling $7,293,547.50 — will fund the restoration of approximately 50 acres of salt marshes at Yellow Bar Hassock, Senator Charles Schumer and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder announced recently.

“From Broad Channel to Howard Beach to the Rockaways, all communities along Jamaica Bay have a stake in preserving the bay’s at-risk marsh islands,” Schumer said. “The restoration of Yellow Bar Hassock Island is a critical phase of our battle to preserve the marshes from disappearing and forever altering the bay for the worse. With this funding, we can make sure that Jamaica Bay’s fragile marshes will survive for generations to come.”

Officials said the bay’s fragile ecosystem suffered damage from development and sewer discharges. The restoration will involve the placement of 300,000 cubic yards of the island’s “dredged” material and will, according to Goldfeder, “preserve the threatened natural habitat and beauty of Jamaica Bay.”

Goldfeder said he hopes the completion of the project will not only benefit the bay but also the surrounding community by attracting new economic activity and growth.

“This grant will help restore the delicate ecosystem of Jamaica Bay to its former greatness,” Goldfeder said. “It’s important to not only preserve our natural surroundings, but renew them whenever possible.”

In 2006, three marsh islands in the bay — including Yellow Bar Hassock — were recommended and approved for restoration by city and state agencies. Since then, the bay’s Elders Point East and Elders Point West have been completed.

Officials will begin pumping sand into Yellow Bar Hassock during the first week in February, while planting is scheduled to take place starting March 15. Officials expect completion near July 2012.

Meanwhile, motorists traveling along the Rockaway Inlet of Jamaica Bay can expect multiple daily bridge lifts starting January 26 and continuing through February.

The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge will see “around-the-clock, full periodic closures,” according to the MTA, due to federal code that requires lift bridges to be raised in order to allow for crossing marine traffic.

MTA officials advise motorists to use the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate route.

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