Part of the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary, Jamaica Bay is truly New York’s last great wilderness. Jamaica Bay is the most intact remnant of what was once a thriving estuarine ecosystem throughout New York City. Collectively, its salt marshes, mud flats, and shallow water areas are the largest expanse of estuarine habitat in this highly urbanized landscape. It lies at the confluence of two of the world’s most urban, heavily trafficked, and stressed waterways–the New York Bight and New York Bay. Add to this the Bay’s position in the geographic “corner” formed by the east-west position of Long Island and the North-South orientation of the Mid-Atlantic Coast, Jamaica Bay is a unique ecological phenomenon, supporting an exceptionally high concentration and biodiversity of life.
As part of a larger plan to restore the bay’s coastal habitats, in 2011-12 the American Littoral Society will be restoring 40 acres of coastal marine habitat including saltmarsh, mudflats, and intertidal beach in Jamaica Bay, New York City, by removing derelict boats and other large and small marine debris. This will enhance critical fish habitat for Atlantic silverside, killifish, alewife, striped mullet, winter flounder, Atlantic menhaden, bluefish, and striped bass. They will clean up habitat essential to the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle and federally threatened loggerhead turtle, as well as the diamondback terrapin, a New York State Species of Concern. Avian species that depend on these habitats include the federally endangered roseate tern and the state threatened least bittern, American oystercatcher, black-crowned night heron, osprey, pied-billed grebe, and common barn owl.
The American Littoral Society would also like to produce brochures that will increase public engagement in and knowledge of marine debris issues, and train volunteers to aid them in their efforts.
Ecosystem Services Provided:
Water Protection, Filtration, and Control: Water quality- improving the health of a tidal ecosystem
Biological Diversity: Habitat- enhance aquatic habitat for threatened and endangered turtles, shorebirds, and fish species
Outreach, Recreation and Aesthetics: Environmental education- train volunteers, educate public
Total Project Cost: $250,000
Status: The American Littoral Society has been awarded a grant of $120,000 from the NOAA Marine Debris Program. The NYC Department of Sanitation, Brooklyn College, and the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance are some of the partners that have agreed to donate time and services to Jamaica Bay Clean Sweep. The American Littoral Society needs to raise $25,000 to complete the first phase of this project.
If you would like further information about this project, please contact Conservation Resources.