Monday, July 14, 2014

Jamaica Bay Refuge 7/17 hearing dates and appeal

From Doug Futuyuma post NYSBIRDS Listserve on Jamaica bay refuge west pond breach public hearing and comments period, etc

Subject: IMPORTANT re Jamaica Bay West Pond
From: Douglas Futuyma 
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 11:16:45 -0400
X-Message-Number: 3

The period from now until July 30 is extremely important for birders to
communicate their feeling about restoring the West Pond at Jamaica Bay
Wildlife Refuge.  The National Park Service (NPS) is soliciting public
opinion for an Environmental Assessment (EA) of several designs that they
will soon receive from the consulting firm they have engaged.  A "scoping
meeting" will be held THIS THURSDAY, July 17, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the
Refuge Visitors' Center. It is OPEN TO ALL interested parties.

It is important that birders show their concern by attending, and by being
UNITED on a few fundamental points: that the Pond be restored to a
freshwater pond, as large as possible;  that it include a functional valve
system to regulate water level; that the Terrapin Trail area be restored to
its former state as a habitat for nesting terns (and diamondback
terrapins); and that the Refuge be assigned active, informed management

The NPS has a Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website, and
invites public comments UNTIL JULY 30. The NPS takes such input very
seriously, and has in the past altered decisions on that basis. The online
PETITION to restore the West Pond, which many of us have signed, will be an
important contribution; if you have not yet signed it, please do, at Also, please send  a PERSONAL MESSAGE
directly to the PEPC website at, or by post to
Gateway National Recreation Area, Attn: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West
Pond EA Comment, 210 New York Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305.

The NPS announcement about Thursday's scoping meeting and the PEPC site is
copied below.

Let us all make one more effort on behalf of a resource that has been so
important to our community and to the birds and other wildlife about which
we care!


Doug Futuyma
Stony Brook and New York

Subject: Scoping Notice- Environmental Assessment, Gateway National
Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, West Pond

Dear Sir/Madam,

The National Park Service (NPS) in cooperation with the Federal Highway
Administration - Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFLHD), is
preparing an environmental assessment (EA) in support of a proposed project
to address damage that resulted from a breach that occurred at West Pond in
conjunction with Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Federal emergency declarations
stemming from the damage suffered along the Atlantic Coast during Hurricane
Sandy entitle eligible projects such as this one at Jamaica Bay Wildlife
Refuge in Gateway National Recreation Area, New York to receive relief
through the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned (ERFO) Road program.
Maps of the region and project area are attached (Figures 1 and 2).

The purpose of this project as currently defined is to provide for
environmentally sensitive and resilient condition and enhanced visitor
experiences along the West Pond Trail area that support a diversity of
Jamaica Bay habitats and wildlife.  The goals of the project are to improve
existing conditions and visitor experience at West Pond to restore both the
natural resource values of the West Pond, as well as visitor access and
public educational opportunities in a manner that is effective and
sustainable into the future.  Goals include providing a sound basis for
adaptive management, and protective design elements to promote future
desired resource conditions and sustainable management.  This project is
needed because:

   - The area around the breach and the portion of the trail that crosses
   the embankment are not currently safe for public access.
   - The existing breach condition is vulnerable to reoccurring storm
   activity and susceptible to future damage from erosion.
   - To increase universal visitor access and provide the opportunity to
   view wildlife, enjoy the Jamaica Bay, and learn about the resources.
   - To ensure that the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge provides habitat that
   supports a diversity of species, in a resilient and sustainable environment.

The NPS is currently soliciting scoping comments from interested agencies,
groups, and individuals and encourages your participation throughout the
planning process.  The NPS encourages your participation throughout the
planning process.

A public scoping meeting will be held July 17, 2014 from 6:00- 8:00 PM at
the following location:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Cross Bay Boulevard
Queens, New York

There will be two opportunities to comment on the project -- once during
the initial project scoping and again following release of the EA.  The NPS
is currently in the scoping phase of the proposed project and invites the
public to submit written suggestions, comments and concerns regarding the
project online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public comment (PEPC)
website at:  Comments also may be sent
to the address below no later than July 30, 2014.

Gateway National Recreation Area
ATTN:  Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, West Pond EA Comments
210 New York Avenue
Staten Island, New York 10305