City, Federal Gov'ts To Work Together To Improve Jamaica Bay
Control over Jamaica Bay has been split between City Hall and Washington. Now, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Obama administration are teaming up to make sure the area is better managed. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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Nat Diaz visits Jamaica Bay often but he has other, less frequent visitors on his mind.
"They're not taking care of it," he said. "They should be taking care of it a little more."
He's not talking about just the city. It's the federal government, too.
Oversight of Jamaica Bay, its trails and beaches, are split between the two, which sometimes leads to, well, miscommunication.
"These are two institutions that did not really work together in any robust way," said Jonathan Jarvis with the National Park Service.
That oversight should soon be corrected after Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a new partnership on Tuesday.
The agreement means that while City Hall and Washington will continue to share responsibility for the area's management, they will make sure it's coordinated.
"This agreement will bring tremendous benefits to the bay and to people who enjoy it, benefits like cleaner water and restored natural landscapes," Bloomberg said.
"The people in this room, many of them, are going to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to make this a crown jewel not only for New York, but for the world," Salazar said.
The 10,000 acre area stretching between Brooklyn and Queens has been plagued by pollution problems, including from nearby sewage treatment plants as well as JFK airport. So this new partnership hopes to reverse some of that as well as expand access to recreational activities, such as kayaking, fishing, biking and boating.
The possibilities don't stop there.
"To marinas that will rent out kayaks that you can go paddling through Jamaica Bay to boat tours that will take you on eco-tours through Jamaica Bay," said Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers.
They are also hoping an academic institution is interested in creating a new research program and science center, possibly at Floyd Bennet Field.