Monday, July 23, 2007

In the News: Report Card on New York City's Beaches

New Yorkers For Parks ( recently released its Report Card on Beaches 2007: An Independent Assessment of New York City's Public Beaches, finding that 2 of the City's 7 coastal parks were "unsatisfactory" while another 4 were rated "challenged." Only one beach received the rating "satisfactory," bringing attention to the continued need for increased conservation and access throughout these critical urban habitats. The CMRC was proud to participate in the NY4Parks study as part of the Beaches Advisory Group and hopes that the City and local non-profit organizations will work together to increase beach cleanliness, improve water quality and address the need for additional lifeguards and maintenance staff...JB

Report Card on Beaches 2007

Raising the Tide: Strategies for New York City Beaches

Fourteen miles of New York City’s 578-mile waterfront are composed of public beaches operated by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). Nearly 21 million visitors spent time at the seven beaches during the summer of 2006.

Located in four of the five boroughs, the seven public beaches provide recreation, relaxation and a respite for residents and tourists:
• Coney Island/Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
• Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn
• Midland Beach, Staten Island
• Orchard Beach, Bronx
• Rockaway Beach, Queens
• South Beach, Staten Island
• Wolfe’s Pond Beach, Staten Island

“Raising the Tide: Strategies for New York City Beaches” discusses important issues that have been brought to the table by community groups, city agencies, and advocates. The primary issues impacting beach users, along with New Yorkers for Parks’ recommendations to address them, are as follows:

Lifeguards and Staffing:

A chronic shortage of lifeguards leads to closed sections of the beach every summer. Recommendations: 1. Improve recruitment by administering training where there is demand and enhancing the transparency of testing. 2. Double the salary for lifeguards at underserved beaches as a pilot program. 3. Expand youth swimming opportunities in partnership with the Department of Education.

Maintenance and Inspections:

According to Health Department inspection data, beach facilities such as bathrooms need additional maintenance. Recommendations: 1. Implement “Operation Relief” for beach bathrooms in order to improve maintenance and reduce health code violations. 2. Increase the transparency of Park Inspection Program (PIP) results and include bathrooms and drinking fountains in a beach’s rating.

Water Quality:

Although water quality in NYC has improved in recent decades, the city still has a long way to go in terms of reducing water pollution. Recommendation: 1. Use and promote stormwater management strategies when developing land throughout the city to improve beach water quality.

Public Notification:

Information on local beach conditions needs to be improved. Recommendation: 1. Establish a NYC Beach User’s Guide on the Web that provides a variety of essential health, safety, and user information drawn from multiple city agencies.

Read more:
Report Card on Beaches 2007

Raising the Tide: Strategies for New York City Beaches

New Yorkers for Parks

New York City Department of Parks - Beaches

Image: Coney Island, The CMRC

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