May 5 2016 NPS presentation-update on west pond breach repairs
West Pond Breach and
Gateway National Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay Unit, West Pond
National Park Service
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
• Average yearly visitation over 575,000 pre-Sandy.
• Over 5,400 school groups from 2010-2015.
• 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
• 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.
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
• 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-
• 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.
• 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
• National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology data
from 2011-2014 show a decline in species since the breach to West
• Visitation numbers for the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge have
dropped significantly since Hurricane Sandy.
• A 37% reduction in visitation occurred between 2011 and 2014.
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.
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
• Shoreline Restoration Implementation
• Living shoreline
• Marsh restoration
• Terrapin Point
• Habitat enhancement
• Invasive species control
• Trail system
• Visitor Amenities
• Viewing blinds / platforms
• Trails / boardwalk systems
West Pond project
Current Project Work
Water Control Structure
Current Project Work
Secondary Breach Repair
Current Project work –
Primary Breach Repair/
Current Project Work –
Future Work – Implementation
Current Project Work –
Will provide resiliency.
• Improved structural stability of pond embankment and loop trail
• 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
• Designed to be inundated and overtopped on occasional storm
• Water control structure and water source decrease recovery time
• Includes design for shoreline restoration
Will enhance resiliency.
• Shoreline restoration would improve resilience.
• 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