Friday, April 15, 2011

Some of the Junk I Found Today at Marine Park West

It isn't just cars that get dumped in this ostensible city park. I did find another secreted deep in the phragmites and I only bothered to photograph the more dramatic of the auto parts scattered on the trails. But today, what I found most interesting, were the big Barcalounger-type chairs I was finding in the reeds. Why anyone would bother lugging these big chairs to the salt marsh is yet another mystery to me--it takes a lot of work to be a vandal.

Paint balls along the trails are evidence of some of the other wild life in what is supposed to be a refuge.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Marine Park ATV Photos

Here are more photos of ATVs & dirt bikes in Southwest Marine Park including the main access for all of the illegal traffic:

Friday, January 7, 2011

High Resolution Image

I've created a high resolution version of the Google Earth satellite image of the Marine Park Nature Preserve west of Gerritsen Creek. Not only does it show in detail the devastation to the habitat caused by ATVs and dirt bikes, but also makes clear all the access points into the nature preserve for motorized vehicles and stolen car disposal. This is very helpful information for the Department of Parks & Recreation, provided that they actually cared about protecting this public park.

Click the preview to view the large image (3MB file).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

ATV Damage to Gerritsen Creek Marsh

These are 2010 and one 2007 photo of damage inflicted by ATVs on the fringe marsh on the west shore of Gerritsen Creek. The marsh is eroding on the creek side and being torn up from the upland side by the ATVs and dirt bikes. I will be contacting the NYS DEC about this double assault on this marsh about which the Department of Parks & Recreation is doing nothing.

In years past, the DPR could not remove vehicles from the marsh with out a permit/approval from the Department of Environmental Conservation. If the DEC was concerned about the damage to the marsh that might be incurred by derelict vehicle removal, why are they not concerned about deliberate damage by ATVs. I will be asking them about this apparent double standard.

This is a photo of the marsh erosion.

Much more to come.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jamaica Bay Ecosystem in Crisis

The following is an excerpt from an article published in the Gotham Gazette:

Taking Action On Jamaica Bay
by Sam Williams
Mar 2004

Time and tide wait for no man, but in the case of Jamaica Bay and its marsh islands, decades of human inactivity have given the forces of nature an especially dramatic head start. That's why, though scientists still do not have a real explanation for the alarming erosion of one of the most important wildlife refuges in the United States, a number of short-term remedies are moving forward.

"Emergency situations require drastic action," says Dan Mundy, founder of Ecowatchers, a group of Broad Channel and Howard Beach residents that first publicized the crisis six years ago; according to a 1999 study, the 13,000-acre bay was losing up to 45 acres of vegetation and wetlands every single day. "The patient is dying and we've got to try anything available."

"Anything" in this case means the Army Corps of Engineers, an organization once regarded as the No. 1 enemy of U.S. wetlands by environmental groups. Thanks to an institutional change of heart -- motivated in large part by the Water Resources Development Acts of 1986 and 1992 -- the 229-year-old civil engineering wing of the U.S. military is now a leading player in the battle to reclaim lost swamps and marshland.

For New York, that means bringing Jamaica Bay and the non-commercial sections of the Hudson and Raritan River estuary systems back to a semblance of their original state. The Army Corps of Engineers will take the first step in that long journey this spring when it begins to level the banks of Gerritsen Creek, a Marine Park waterway that empties west of Floyd Bennett Field. Using bond funds from the New York City parks department and a small portion of its own $25 million special projects war chest, the corps plans to spread the resulting materials into the waterway at levels amenable to native grasses such as Spartina alterniflora (smooth cord grass), a primary food source for migrating waterfowl.

The Gerritsen Creek project is a signal move, representing one of the first major shifts away from studying the problem to reversing the problem.


Read the entire article here. You can read the US Army Corps of Engineers Gerritsen Creek Ecosystem Tidal Marsh & Coastal Upland Community Restoration project description and bid abstract here. From the abstract:

"The Gerritsen Creek project site targeted for ecosystem restoration is an approximate 67-acre site that lies within the Jamaica Bay watershed in Marine Park, Brooklyn, New York. The project will restore approximately 48.2 acres of habitat, including 21.3 acres of inter-tidal salt marsh and 26.9 acres of coastal/maritime grassland by excavation, sediment placement, re-contouring and native species planting."

I'm not sure how restoring 67-acres on the east side of the creek will be beneficial to the ecosystem when a few hundred acres on the west side are allowed to be trashed by ATVs, motorcycles and the burning of stolen cars. Perhaps parks Commissioner Benepe or District Manager Larry Major can explain it.

Dirt Bikes & Terns

This video perfectly illustrates the blatant disregard for park property and the fragile wetland habitat at the Marine Park Nature Preserve. During the bird breeding season motorcycle riders like these two guys can be found every weekend at low tide, chasing birds, such as the endangered Least Tern. This bird is listed as "Threatened" in New York State and Federally "Endangered". On the day this video was shot, two people called the city's 311 number and were transferred to the 911 operator as this activity is considered criminal. My friend and I remained in the area for at least 1 hour, but neither Parks Enforcement Patrol officers nor anyone from NYPD arrived to investigate. The two guys in the video brought their motorcycles to the marsh in the back of their pick-up trucks and parked at the end of Gerritsen Avenue to access the marsh. Note in the satellite image all the trails and damage to the habitat done by ATVs and motorcycles.
(Click image to enlarge)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Park Regular & More Dumped Cars

This guy is a regular ATV rider at the park. At least he has the sense to put helmets on his kids, although I'm not sure how much it would help if he landed on top of them.

A few minutes later we came upon this cluster of 4 recently dumped cars.