We are very happy to announce that our proposal for a comprehensive program to protect and enhance the habitat for shorebirds and other wildlife in Jamaica Bay, and to foster a commitment to stewardship by local residents, was awarded a grant under National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s prestigious Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. Our project was one of 58 community-led wetland, stream, and coastal restoration projects awarded grants this year through the program.
Our project will protect migratory and nesting shorebirds in Jamaica Bay by engaging hundreds of volunteers; restoring 22 acres of habitat; and organizing beach cleanups at Plumb Beach and North Channel Beach, a marsh-planting event to plant Spartina on Jamaica Bay’s marsh islands, and a dune-planting event in Averne, in the Rockaways.
We will continue our longstanding citizen science program of monitoring shorebirds and horseshoe crabs in the Bay and will also add an educational component: a three-part unit designed to teach Brooklyn middle schoolers about the ecology of Jamaica Bay and the connection between shorebirds and horseshoe crabs. Our project will also continue to increase awareness of and decrease disturbance to nesting birds through “Be a Good Egg” program outreach events.
We look forward to working on these efforts with our project partners, which include the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, the American Littoral Society, Sadhana, New York University’s Wallerstein Collaborative, Audubon New York, New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, and New Jersey Audubon.
The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program seeks to develop nationwide community stewardship of local natural resources in order to preserve these resources for future generations and enhance habitat for local wildlife. Since 1999, the program has supported more than 820 projects, with more than $9.8 million in federal funds, $7.9 million in private and corporate contributions, and $67 million in matching funds at the local level. Programmatic support for 2016 Five Star and Urban Waters program is provided by the Wildlife Habitat Council, and major funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FedEx, Southern Company, Bank of America and Alcoa.
We are grateful to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and their partners for this tremendous support. The Jamaica Bay watershed is a 21,000-acre estuary that supports 325 species of birds and many species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Despite its location within the most densely populated city in the U.S., Jamaica Bay is a globally recognized Important Bird Area and is particularly important for shorebirds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway.