Saturday, November 10, 2012
Jamaica Bay ecosystem damaged by storm
From the Times Ledger:
Jamaica Bay’s wildlife and its serene surroundings were suddenly compromised when last week’s superstorm hit. Aside from the heartbreaking human toll, the storm blasted the bay with short-term and long-term effects, according to Dan Hendrick, the communications director at the New York League of Conservation Voters, who authored a book about the bay in 2004.
“The biggest issue is that with the storm, a tremendous volume of debris washed into the bay,” said Hendrick, who is involved with the production of “Jamaica Bay Lives!” an upcoming documentary on the bay. “It’s a hazard for the people there and it’s also a detriment to the water quality.”
The city Department of Environmental Protection announced Saturday that significant work has been completed to wastewater treatment facilities damaged by the storm, with 99 percent of the city’s wastewater being treated.
Besides water quality, Jamaica Bay suffered damage elsewhere. Hendrick said the storm ravaged the habitats of the piping plover and the terrapin populations. He also said the storm surge cut a new channel from the bay into what was a freshwater pond and created an array of sinkholes.
“These animals rely on this habitat and the piping plover will be impacted when it comes back from migration next year,” he said. “We will keep an eye out for turtle health, as we expect numbers will drop next year.”
From the Queens Courier:
The environmental expert, now filming a documentary about Jamaica Bay, said Sandy left both short- and long-term damage, ranging from trash in the water ways to obliterated ecosystems. A major, immediate issue — oil spills — stems from Broad Channel’s heating systems operating on oil rather than natural gas.
“[The oil] will disperse with time but it was something that had a very strong, localized impact on Broad Channel,” said Hendrick.