Due to a combination of factors including rising ocean levels, increased boat wakes and navigational dredging our marshes and wetlands are disappearing. In Jamaica Bay, which has historically contained some of the largest salt marshes in the NY - NJ Harbor Bight, the rate of habitat loss has been unprecedented with acres of valuable shoreline being lost every year. Fortunately, a collaboration between local environmental groups, elected officials and government agencies has led to a restoration project that will rebuild some of the salt marshes in Jamaica Bay writes the NY Times. JB
By Nicholas Confessore
July 7, 2006
Over the past few decades, for reasons nobody fully understands, the salt marshes of Jamaica Bay have been washing away. The grasses that anchor the bay's island archipelago have slowly withered, leaving the sand to drift off with the tides, the disintegration accelerating as time went on until nearly 50 acres of marsh disappeared with each passing year.
"It was a war of attrition," said Dan Mundy, the founder of the environmental group Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, as he stood yesterday on Elders Point Island, a marsh island that has shrunk to a fraction of its original size. "Every day, we're losing thousands of square feet."
But during the last month, work began on an ambitious $13 million campaign to rebuild the salt marshes, which would otherwise disappear over the next 15 years if the current rate of attrition were to continue. It is the first major reclamation effort targeted at Jamaica Bay Â a 12,000-acre estuary where numerous clam, crab, fish and bird species can be found Â and one of the largest environmental projects in the city's history.
"We have to make sure the marshlands and the ecosystem they support are around for future generations," Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Democrat whose Congressional district includes many neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens that ring the bay, said at a news conference and marsh tour yesterday that commemorated the early stages of the reclamation.
Mr. Weiner led efforts to gain financing for the project, a combined effort by the Army Corps of Engineers, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the National Park Service and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
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