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Marine Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Major Habitat Restoration And Trail Development Project Gets Underway This Fall In Marine Park


Daniel Avila

Project partners include NYC Parks, the Natural Areas Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy

This fall, NYC Parks, the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC), The Nature Conservancy, and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) kicked off a large-scale habitat restoration and park improvement project in Marine Park, Brooklyn’s largest park. Scheduled for completion in 2017, the project will improve the park’s ecologically unique forest by planting thousands of native trees and shrubs and create a new, formalized trail network for hikers, recreational walkers and birdwatchers. The development of the new trail network will be guided by scientific data, as well as recent surveys that studied the interests and preferences of park visitors.

“NYC Parks looks forward to continuing the important work we have been doing in Marine Park with our partners at the Natural Areas Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and in the community,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “This is a beloved open space in Brooklyn and improving its accessibility and sustainability makes it that much more valuable to all visitors.”

“The Natural Areas Conservancy is excited to help lead restoration of Marine Park’s unique coastal forest and creation of a safer and easier to follow trail network,” said NAC Executive Director Sarah Charlop-Powers. “As Brooklyn’s largest park and one of its most ecologically significant natural areas, Marine Park’s visitors will greatly benefit from our improvements to this special place.”

“The JBRPC is proud to be working with The Nature Conservancy on this key restoration project that advances our goal to expand public access and preserve and restore natural areas, including wetland and wildlife habitat in Marine Park and throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway Peninsula,” said Tom Secunda, Chairman, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy. “The technical expertise provided by The Natural Areas Conservancy, working hand-in-hand with NYC Parks, will help ensure the long-term sustainability of the site.”

“The Nature Conservancy is thrilled to be a partner in this project to enhance Marine Park and enable nature – including migratory birds and native pollinators – to thrive,” said Emily Nobel Maxwell, The Nature Conservancy’s New York City Program Director. “Parks and green spaces like Marine Park play a critical role in New York by providing habitat for wildlife, places for people to enjoy nature, and protection against impacts of climate change such as extreme heat and flooding.”

"Marine Park is one of Brooklyn's undiscovered treasures, with miles of land and sea and countless species of flora and fauna to explore,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “For decades, this unique ecosystem has been neglected, but I am pleased to be a part of a newly invigorated effort to polish this natural gem for the full benefit of the community. I look forward to continued collaboration with local stakeholders to ensure Marine Park gets the attention and resources it deserves."

“I am very pleased that NYC Parks, the Natural Areas Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy have embarked on a program to improve the ecology of Marine Park as well as the trail network,” said City Council Member Alan Maisel. “This is an area that has been neglected for a long time and I look forward to its timely completion.”

“Gerritsen Beach Cares and its Board of Directors are in deep gratitude to the Natural Areas Conservancy and NYC Parks for selecting Marine Park South in the Gerritsen Beach Peninsula as the beneficiary of the grant to conserve and promote a sustainable natural seaside forest in our community,” said the group. “This park is a gem and will be beneficially improved by this conservancy project.”

The Natural Areas Conservancy will lead improvements on a 133-acre site on the western side of Marine Park, focusing on closing several miles of unofficial trails that fragment the park’s sensitive ecology and creating a formalized trail system with signs and markers. This will allow better access and easier navigation of the park’s unique coastal maritime forest, one of only two remaining in New York City. The park surrounds an inlet of Jamaica Bay and is prime habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

Project contractor, Student Conservation Association (SCA), will employ youth from the Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach neighborhoods to participate in clean-up projects and trail work in summer 2016. Remaining labor will be completed through volunteer events and by professional contractors. Already this fall, SCA workers have removed more than 200 bags of storm debris and garbage from the park.

NYC Parks, the Natural Areas Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and partners are committed to extensive outreach and neighborhood participation, convening two community meetings regarding this project on September 27 and December 8, as well as meetings with more than 20 stakeholder groups and elected officials. For more information on these meetings and community engagement, please contact Public Engagement and Restoration Manager Justin Bowers at justin.bowers@parks.nyc.gov.

Natural Areas Conservancy

Created in 2012, the Natural Areas Conservancy is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with NYC Parks to improve New York City’s 10,000 acres of forest, marshes and wetlands to enhance the lives of all New Yorkers. www.naturalareasnyc.org.

Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy

The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy is a public-private partnership established in 2013 that is dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula for local residents and visitors alike. With its partners at the National Park Service and the NYC Parks, JBRPC works to expand public access; increase recreational and educational opportunities; foster citizen stewardship and volunteerism; preserve and restore natural areas, including wetland and wildlife habitat; enhance cultural resources; and ensure the long-term sustainability of the parklands, including the development of the Science and Resilience Institute.

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at www.nature.org.

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