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Nov 16 2016 nps presentation west pond[2995]

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Presentation by NPS Superintendent Jen Neresian on the project to repair the West Pond and the restoration work underway at the North and South Gardens

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Nov 16 2016 nps presentation west pond[2995]

  1. 1. West Pond Update: • Breach and Trail Repair • North and South Gardens Gateway National Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay Unit, West Pond National Park Service
  2. 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. 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. 4. 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 4
  5. 5. Primary breach Secondary breach 5
  6. 6. Primary Breach Secondary Breach GATE 201449 6 Storm Damage
  7. 7. 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. 7 GATE 201449
  8. 8. 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 8
  9. 9. West Pond project GATE 201449 9 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
  10. 10. 10 Current Project: Breach/Trail Repair GATE 201449
  11. 11. GATE 201449 11 Current Project: Breach/Trail Repair
  12. 12. Visitor Access During Construction
  13. 13. Construction Access from Cross Bay Boulevard
  14. 14. Construction Staging and Safety
  15. 15. 15 GATE 201449 Current Progress and Next Steps • Contract has been awarded. $1.7m for repair of breach and water control structure. Mobilized October 11th. • Currently scheduled for 250 days, with completion date of June, 2017 (bird-dependent). • Working with NYC on fresh water source • Contract just awarded for design of living shoreline.
  16. 16. 16 GATE 201449 Current Progress and Next Steps
  17. 17. 17 GATE 201449 N&S Gardens Restoration • $800,000 partnership project between The Nature Conservancy, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and the National Park Service • Purpose is to eradicate invasive plants and promote a more diverse, sustainable and resilient ecosystem • During 2016-2017, approximately 20,000 native plants will be planted
  18. 18. 18 GATE 201449 N&S Gardens Restoration • October planting in South Garden • Follow-up invasive treatments in spring and late summer 2017 • Restoration planting in North Garden 2017
  19. 19. 19 GATE 201449 N&S Gardens Restoration • October 25-30th, 2016 volunteer planting: • 278 volunteers • High schools, corporate volunteers, general public and local residents, TNC staff • 7,851 trees planted
  20. 20. 20 GATE 201449 N&S Gardens Restoration
  21. 21. Questions? 21 GATE 201449

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