Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Update – May 13, 2016

At the Jamaica Bay Task Force meeting held on May 4th at refuge headquarters, Gateway National Recreation Area Superintendent Jennifer Nersesian outlined the status of the rehabilitation work.

The current scheduled work includes: repair of the West Pond breach and berm as well as repair of the trail at the breach; replacement of the water control structure; implementation of the water replenishment source; and design for shoreline and marsh restoration. At Terrapin Point work will also include habitat enhancement, removal of invasive species, and maintenance of the trails. Future work projects (part of the environmental assessment but not specifically covered by Hurricane Sandy funds) will include viewing blinds, additional trails, and boardwalks.

Resiliency is a key factor. All current work and designs for future work must consider the improved structural stability of the West Pond embankment and loop trail, especially to address overtopping of the pond during severe storms. Water control systems that decrease recovery time after such inundations are essential.

Advertising for construction bids will begin in early July 2016 with contracts being awarded in early September. Work will be suspended between April and mid-June 2017 to protect red knots. The current scheduled work should be substantially completed by late August 2017. The Birders Coalition for Gateway has expressed concern that work scheduled for summer 2017 might have an adverse impact on terrapins laying eggs. Suspending work during this period would shift completion to the fall of 2017.

Andrew Rubenfeld
Chair, Conservation Committee