Jamaica Bay restoration efforts are getting a boost with nearly $19 million in federal funding

Jamaica Bay
Photo by NYC Parks

In the ongoing efforts to protect Jamaica Bay and the low-lying communities that surround it, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced they had secured $18.61 million for the Stony Creek Marsh Island restoration.

With the allocation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can begin the final design and construction of the marsh island in Jamaica Bay which will help clean waterways and protect neighborhoods from extreme weather.

“Projects like Jamaica Bay’s Stony Creek March are designed to protect our communities from flooding, preserve our shorelines and help restore New York’s precious water ecosystems,” Schumer said. “I am proud we secured funding for this vital project that will help restore Jamaica Bay’s marshland, spur important habitats, help clean waterways and better protect the communities of southern Brooklyn and Queens from future extreme weather.”

The marsh islands of Jamaica Bay have been disappearing and a loss of more than 2,000 acres have been documented since 1924 and will continue to be lost at an alarming rate, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Left alone, the marshes could vanish by the year 2025, destroying wildlife habitats and threatening the bay’s shorelines.

“Environmental justice and sustainable development are critically important to the future of our communities,” Gillibrand said. “The restoration of Jamaica Bay Stony Creek Marsh Island is important for the future of New York City, it will not only help protect our shorelines from extreme weather but it will also help keep our waterways clean.”

The Stony Creek Marsh Island is the largest of several salt marshes along Jamaica Bay.

“This is a huge victory for all of us in the Jamaica Bay community,” Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said. “This investment restores and sets up protections for the bay, not just for now, but for the future generations by ensuring that the bay and our environment continue to flourish.”

A key environmental organization said the announcement was great news to kick off Earth Month.

“Thanks to the leadership of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Jamaica Bay’s Creek Marsh will soon be restored, providing critical habitat, while protecting shoreline communities around Jamaica Bay from extreme weather,” said Tom Secunda, chair of the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy. “This historic investment in our environment shows how advocates, public-private partnerships and elected officials can work together to continue restoring Jamaica Bay’s marshes and enhance parkland for visitors and wildlife.”

The decades-long effort to restore Jamaica Bay to pristine condition has resulted in the return of marine life including seals, dolphins and even humpback whales that have been spotted regularly in the waters in recent years.

“Jamaica Bay is an amazing natural resource and perhaps the most important urban national park in the country,” Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers President Dan Mundy Jr. said. “We have made great strides in recent years in restoring the health of the bay and this funding will allow that great work to continue and will ensure that this amazing natural resource will be here for future generations to enjoy.”

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