Monday, September 30, 2013

Gateway Management Plan comments deadline fast approaching Oct 2nd

From the BBC facebook page, a note from President Bate on the Gateway Mgt Plan commenst due Oct 2nd ( wed);

( sorry for the short notice.)

October 2nd is fast approaching, the deadline for submitting comments for Gateway's GMP

Comment link:

The National Park Service has prepared a General Management Plan (GMP) for Gateway National Recreation Area which has three alternatives for Gateway and Jamaica Bay for management over the next generation or twol=.
1. Continue as at present with upkeep and programs.
2. Develop many areas for increased recreational activities. This is their Preferred Plan.
3. Pursue an aggressive plan of restoring beaches, marshland and habitat. This is the Environmentally Preferable Plan.

Below is much of what we will submit for the BBC and some possible talking points. Please feel free to use what you want as you submit your own comments. Please act now!!

Two issues are paramount in this discussion of how best to manage Jamaica Bay for the foreseeable future. First, climate change, and the impact of expected super storms like Hurricane Sandy, make it imperative that bold steps be taken to return large parts of this historical wetland to it’s natural state where it can again fulfill it’s age old function of storm surge mitigation and serve as a buffer and a filter when waters inundate our shorelines and then recede.

Second, there is a need to restore and maintain the fragile ecosystem along our limited coastline in the face of the pressure of continued urbanization. These areas are habitat for migratory and residential bird species many of which teeter on the verge of extinction. It is this aspect that we in the birding community are especially and intimately aware.

The greater Jamaica Bay area is already severely overdeveloped. The historical marshlands there have suffered greatly in the wake of this development and are but a small fraction of what they once were. Natural wave action, unimpeded by the masses of historical marshes, as well as artificial motor-craft wake continue to eat away at this remaining habitat.

Any plan for Jamaica Bay must place a primary focus on restoring marshland habitat and only secondarily on how people can best access these areas for personal use. The National Park System was founded 100 years ago on the principle of preserving habitat that was sure to be lost to the march of human development; that mandate is even more important today.

- The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge should have a permanant qualified manager and staff with adequate equipment to monitor and maintain refuge habitat.
-The West Island should be restored to include a fully fresh water pond for migrating waterfowl.
-Motorized vehicles should be restricted in all natural habitat of the greater Jamaica Bay wherever possible
-Plumb Beach should not be developed as a major recreational launching site and the marsh there must be protected.
-Consider restricting access to one of the landfills and developing it for grassland bird species; sparrows, meadowlarks, Short-eared Owls, etc.
-Maintain and restore beach, grass and shrubland habitat from Ft Tilden to Breezy Point

The NPS will be reviewing all comments. This not really a voting process and submitted comments should be as thoughtful and specific as possible, though they needn't be long.

Thanks and please act now!

Rob Bate
President - Brooklyn Bird Club

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