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10 gate west pond public mtg october 22 2015 (2)

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National Parks Service plan to address the west pond breach in Jamaica Bay

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10 gate west pond public mtg october 22 2015 (2)

  1. 1. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment WEST POND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT October, 2015
  2. 2. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment HISTORY OF WEST POND • In 1951, Robert Moses, former New York City Parks Department Commissioner, with aid from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, surveyed Jamaica Bay to further plans for a bird sanctuary and park with breeding ponds in the bay. • In 1954, the New York City Parks Department partnered with the New York State Conservation Department to establish the Jamaica Bay Bird Sanctuary. • East and West Ponds, built in 1954, were designed and constructed to provide attractive feeding habitat with freshwater plants for birds. • The Jamaica Bay Bird Sanctuary became part of the National Park System in 1972 and was renamed the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. • Special mandates in Gateway’s enabling legislation include conservation and management of wildlife and natural resources in the
  3. 3. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment VISITATION AT JAMAICA BAY WILDLIFE REFUGE • West Pond is one of the most popular sites within Gateway National Recreation Area and is a local, national, and international destination. • Post Hurricane Sandy visitation to the refuge has decreased approximately 37% between 2011 and 2014. • Prior to Hurricane Sandy, the average annual visitation was 575,000 with an average annual visitation from school groups of 5,400 (between 2010 to 2015).
  4. 4. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment FRESHWATER WETLANDS • In the past century, over 90% of the freshwater wetlands in NYC have been lost. • Freshwater wetlands provide important ecological, economic, and social benefits. • Wetlands are among the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world; improve water quality by aiding in the retention of stormwater; and provide a buffer from storm surges. • Wetlands attract wildlife for viewing and otherwise enhance the enjoyment of parks and public spaces. These open spaces are particularly highly valued in the dense urban area of NYC. • Wetlands are destinations for educational programming and hands-on learning.
  5. 5. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT? To provide for environmentally sensitive and resilient conditions along the West Pond Trail loop trail that support a diversity of Jamaica Bay habitats, wildlife, and enhanced visitor experiences.
  6. 6. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment TOPICS ADDRESSED IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT INCLUDE:  Soils and Sediments  Water Resources  Wetlands and Floodplains  Vegetation  Wildlife and Special Status Species  Visitor Use and Experience and Scenic Resources  Socioeconomics
  7. 7. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment ALTERNATIVES ASSESSED  Four alternatives were analyzed:  Alternative A: No Action - Continue Current Management  Alternative B: The NPS Preferred Alternative - Repair the Breach and Improve Habitat Conditions  Alternative C: Create Different Types of Habitat  Alternative D: Bridge the Breach
  8. 8. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment ALTERNATIVE A: NO ACTION / CONTINUE CURRENT MANAGEMENT  No repair of the loop trail, the berm, or the primary or secondary breached areas  Natural processes would be left to proceed uninhibited  Areas would be monitored for safety  Wetland conditions and species composition would continue to shift in response to the introduction of saltwater from Jamaica Bay
  9. 9. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment ALTERNATIVE B: THE NPS PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE – REPAIR THE BREACH AND IMPROVE HABITAT CONDITIONS Phase 1:  Repair primary and secondary breaches  Restoration of West Pond and the loop trail  Replacement of the water control structure.  Addition of a freshwater supply /return to freshwater conditions Future Phases:  Upland habitat restoration at Terrapin Point  Shoreline and saltmarsh restoration to increase resiliency against future storm damage
  10. 10. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment ALTERNATIVE C: CREATE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HABITAT  Construction of a new berm further inland establishing a smaller, more inland, West Pond and converting Terrapin Point into an island.  Creation of a mosaic of wetland and upland habitats to support a diversity of species.  Installation of a groundwater freshwater source.  Replacement of the water control structure in the new West Pond.  Establishment of a new trail system around West Pond and extending to Terrapin Point.
  11. 11. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment ALTERNATIVE D: BRIDGE THE BREACH  Bridge the primary breach to restore the loop trail around West Pond  Bridging options would include a steel truss bridge or a box culvert  Under either option, the breach would remain open  Stabilization of the banks of the primary and secondary breaches  Wetland conditions and species composition would continue to shift in response to saltwater from Jamaica Bay
  12. 12. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment  Alternative A: Net construction costs were not developed because the alternative does not include any planned additional construction.  Alternative B:  Phase 1: $1.7 – 2.5 M  Future Phases: $5.1 – $6.2 M  Total (All Phases) = $6.8 – 8.7 M  Alternative C:  Total $36.0 – $44.0 M  Alternative D:  Steel Truss Bridge Option Total = $5.4 – $6.7 M  Culvert Option Total = $5.3 – $6.6 M CLASS C COST ESTIMATES
  13. 13. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment THE PLANNING PROCESS TIMELINE
  14. 14. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment  Decision document: December 2015  Construction contract award: 2016  Construction completion: 2017 NEXT STEPS AND ANTICIPATED TIMELINE
  15. 15. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond Environmental Assessment Your Participation is Important!  Please share your comments by November 6, 2015.  Comment by any of the following means:  You may view the document and comment on-line at: http:parkplanning.nps.gov/gate  Fill out the comment card, drop it off or mail it in.  Write to us: Office of the Superintendent Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Wadsworth Attention: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond EA 210 New York Avenue Staten Island, New York 10305

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