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May 5 2016 NPS presentation-update on west pond breach repairs

  1. West Pond Breach and Trail Repair Gateway National Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay Unit, West Pond National Park Service
  2. Overview West Pond is one of the most popular sites within Gateway National Recreation Area and is a local, national, and international destination. • West Pond is 44 acres, 3 - 6 feet deep. • 1.5 mile loop trail, Visitor Center. • West Pond provides opportunities for birding, walking, and environmental education. • Average yearly visitation over 575,000 pre-Sandy. • Over 5,400 school groups from 2010-2015. 2 GATE 201449
  3. Pre-Sandy Conditions • Despite a long history of intense development, Jamaica Bay is rich in fish and wildlife communities, with large and diverse populations of resident and migratory species. • Jamaica Bay is recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as valuable habitat for migrating birds along the Atlantic. Some of these species have special regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and state-level protections. • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that nearly 20% of North America’s bird species migrate through or breed in the Jamaica Bay area. • The West Pond freshwater wetland habitat of pre-Sandy conditions, unique and rare within Jamaica Bay, was a significant factor in the diversity of species. GATE 201449 3
  4. Freshwater Wetlands In the past century, over 90% of the freshwater wetlands in NYC have been lost. (NYC Wetland Strategy, May 2012; plaNYC A Greener, Greater New York) • 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. GATE 201449 4
  5. Hurricane Sandy • West Pond was breached and inundated with sea water from Jamaica Bay, which has continued to increase salinity, create tidally influenced conditions, and change the habitat composition from brackish to more saline conditions. • The existing breach continues to widen and is vulnerable to future damage from storm activity and erosion. GATE 201449 5
  6. Primary breach Secondary breach 6
  7. Primary Breach Secondary Breach GATE 201449 7 Storm Damage
  8. Post-Hurricane Sandy • Currently, due to the loss of the freshwater wetlands, the West Pond does not provide habitat that supports the diversity of species that existed pre-Sandy. • Loss of the loop-trail affected the visitor use and experience. • Although the West Pond area continues to provide excellent habitat for shorebirds, waterbirds with freshwater associations have declined. • National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology data from 2011-2014 show a decline in species since the breach to West Pond. • Visitation numbers for the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge have dropped significantly since Hurricane Sandy. • A 37% reduction in visitation occurred between 2011 and 2014. 8 GATE 201449
  9. Project Purpose GATE 201449 9 The purpose of this project is to provide for resilient conditions within the environmentally sensitive West Pond area, which will support a diversity of Jamaica Bay habitats and wildlife and enhanced visitor experiences.
  10. Project Work Current Project Work: • Berm/breach repair • Trail repair at berm/breach • Replace water control structure • Implement water replenishment source • Design for Shoreline Restoration Future Work (Covered in EA but not funded by Sandy): • Shoreline Restoration Implementation • Living shoreline • Marsh restoration • Terrapin Point • Habitat enhancement • Invasive species control • Trail system • Visitor Amenities • Viewing blinds / platforms • Trails / boardwalk systems GATE 201449 10
  11. West Pond project GATE 201449 11 Current Project Work Water Control Structure Current Project Work Secondary Breach Repair Current Project work – Primary Breach Repair/ Trail Repair Future Work Terrapin Point Habitat Improvement Current Project Work – Design Shoreline Restoration Future Work – Implementation Current Project Work – Water Source Future work Trail Amenities
  12. Resiliency Current Work: Will provide resiliency. • Improved structural stability of pond embankment and loop trail system. • Repairs to breach will reduce surface erosion at breaches. • Restores the capability to manage water surface elevations for optimum depth within the pond and reduces site specific flood risk. • Designed to be inundated and overtopped on occasional storm events. • Water control structure and water source decrease recovery time after inundation • Includes design for shoreline restoration Future Work: Will enhance resiliency. • Shoreline restoration would improve resilience. 12 GATE 201449
  13. 13 Current Project: Breach/Trail Repair GATE 201449
  14. GATE 201449 14 Current Project: Breach/Trail Repair
  15. Relocation of Water Control Structure to Minimize Construction Impact on Wetlands
  16. Visitor Access During Construction
  17. Construction Access from Cross Bay Boulevard
  18. Construction Staging and Safety
  19. 19 GATE 201449 Next Steps: • Early July 2016 - Advertise on FedBiz Opps • Mid August 2016 - Open bids • Early September 2016 - Award Contract • Early October 2016 - Notice To Proceed • April through June 15, 2017 - Suspend work to protect Red Knots* • June 16, 2017 - resume work • Late August 2017 - Substantial Completion * If Red Knots are not present in project area then work can proceed and substantial completion is May 2017
  20. Questions? 20 GATE 201449