|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||June 16, 2014|
|Contact:||Alison Zemanski Heis, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association P: 202.454.3332; C: 202.384.8762 or email@example.com
Cortney Worrall, Northeast Senior Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association P: 646.324.2672; C: 917.636.0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org
$11.1M in Sandy Recovery Grants to Benefit Jamaica Bay at Gateway National Recreation Area
New York, NY -- The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) applauds the Department of the Interior for providing $11.1M for four competitive grants awarded today for projects that will benefit the resiliency, ecology, and restoration of areas within Jamaica Bay at Gateway National Recreation Area. The NPCA has worked with many partner groups, especially in our role as co-founder and co-chair of the New York – New Jersey Harbor Coalition, to highlight the critical role that urban parks and ecological restoration projects play in protecting vulnerable coastal communities and national park resources.
Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Northeast, destroying entire communities, causing unprecedented damage to more than 70 national parks, including national icons such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The funds awarded today will greatly benefit Jamaica Bay, which is one of New York City’s largest and most important open spaces, consisting of salt marshes, beaches, residential and commercial areas, and includes the National Parks Service’s Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. As a major stop on the Atlantic Flyway, Jamaica Bay’s restoration and resilience is critical for helping to protect the surrounding urban communities of Brooklyn and Queens from future storms, provides recreational and outdoor opportunities for millions of urban residents, and will improve the overall environmental health of the region.
“What is most exciting about these grants, many of which are matched by funds from our local partners, is the role that they will play in the overall ecological restoration of Jamaica Bay,” said Cortney Worrall, Northeast senior regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association. “These grants will provide badly needed funds to improve the salt marshes, maritime forests, and oyster beds in Jamaica Bay that were impaired and damaged by the compounded impacts of excessive nutrient loadings, dredging, and the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy. The migratory birds, fish, shell fish, and countless other species that depend on a healthy Jamaica Bay will have a chance to thrive while we provide greater protection from future storms for local communities.”
The salt marshes and wetlands of Jamaica Bay at Gateway are one of the first lines of defense for local communities. Salt marshes and wetlands buffer against flooding, erosion, and storm surges while also serving as the nurseries for countless fish and shell fish species and the feeding and spawning grounds of birds, waterfowl, and shorebirds. Unfortunately, studies conducted over the last 15 years show more than a 60 percent loss in salt marshes at Jamaica Bay since the 1950s.
The four projects that will be funded in Jamaica Bay include salt marsh restoration in Spring Creek, wetlands and maritime forest restoration in Sunset Cove, green infrastructure-based storm water improvements in Brighton Beach, and oyster bed enhancements to existing oyster bed restoration projects. Together these projects are poised to improve the overall health of Jamaica Bay’s salt marshes, wetlands, and ecology as well as help to ensure that Jamaica Bay plays a role in protecting the surrounding areas from future storm threats.
To learn more or to view the detailed project list announced today under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program, please visit here.
About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its 800,000 members and supporters, and many partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.npca.org.