Sunday, 10 February 2013

Bird’s eye view of Sandy’s fury

By Lisa L. Colangelo / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on Rockaway and Broad Channel as well as the fragile eco systems that surround them.

As residents struggle to rebuild their homes, environmentalists are trying to determine the best way to repair damage to Jamaica Bay, Jacob Riis Park and other Queens sections of the Gateway National Recreation Area.

New aerial photographs released by the National Park Service show stunning before-and-after images of the storm’s fury.


The West Pond of Jamaica Bay, a man-made freshwater pool of water, was breached. Salt water now pours into the pond, endangering the habitat for wildlife.

Sand blanketed acres of Riis Park, while waves knocked down part of a brick wall behind its historic art deco bathhouse.

“It was shocking,” said Dave Taft, coordinator of the Jamaica Bay Unit for the National Park Service. “This is an important scenic place for New Yorkers and it’s a place where naturalists cut their teeth.”

The storm created a channel from Jamaica Bay into the freshwater pond, created more than 50 years ago. It is a popular spot for bird watchers.

Taft said the agency is mulling ways to restore a portion of the pond as freshwater so it doesn’t lose the population of snapping turtles, muskrats and migrating birds that have grown to call it home.

“This is a wrenching question for the Park Service,” said Dan Hendrick, who is working on a documentary about Jamaica Bay. “Does it make sense to rebuild some of the man-made structures that didn’t hold up? Water quality is also an issue. It had been improving.”

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