Friday, May 8, 2009
This is a wildlife sanctuary?
DeCosta Avenue and B63rd Street is the closest intersection to Dubos Point, a wildlife sanctuary created by the Parks Department from city owned land on the north shore of Rockaway in 1988. It was named in honor of environmentalist Dr. Rene Dubos, who coined the phrase "Think globally, act locally." From Parks' website: Rene Dubos is recognized as the primary developer of modern antibiotics. In later life, his attention shifted to humankind’s relationship with the natural environment. After Dubos died, his wife became the moving force behind the formation of this sanctuary. Dubos Point was a saltwater marsh until 1912, at which point it was filled with dredged materials for real estate development. The project failed to materialize and the site then reverted to a more natural state.
Unfortunately, the road leading to the entrance is blocked off by construction barriers and the sidewalk is strewn with materials used by the Department of Design and Construction for a nearby project. With this greeting visitors and no signs indicating that this spot is actually a park, the message sent out to the public is that they are unwelcome here. (No historical or dark green sycamore leaf signs here, folks!) However, Parks says The wetlands provide a unique environment for both wildlife preservation and urban recreation. Okay, so let's go in.
The beach here has been heavily eroded as you can see.
These concrete cylinders were placed along the shoreline in an effort to reduce the erosion. This is unsightly but understandable. The rest of what you are about to witness, however, is unforgivable.
...and more garbage! The Audubon Society helped maintain this property until 1999. I think we need to bring them back because the Parks Department is obviously neglecting its duty here.
Could you imagine a park in Manhattan being allowed to look like this?
If you can manage to look past all the debris, you realize this place's potential to be an open air classroom for kids as well as adults interested in marine biology, ornithology and environmental studies.
This is certainly a very important spot for migrating birds and other wildlife. The Parks Department writes: ...the site is the largest salt marsh on the north shore of the Rockaway peninsula east of Rockaway Point. Marsh interior species including sharp-tailed and seaside sparrow, and willet nest here. Upland grassland and maritime shrubland provide nesting habitat for diamondback terrapins, Fowler’s toad, and black-crowned night heron. The Merlin and Peregrine Falcon, both endangered species, have been seen on Dubos.
This funny-looking bird with the big red nose is called an Oystercatcher. And he is so upset about what is going on here that he's leaving.