Posts tagged ‘Staten Island’

Hurricane Sandy Impacts: Staten Island

Seth Wollney, naturalist and program associate at the Staten Island Museum, sent us an email describing the damage Sandy has caused to certain areas in Staten Island, including Wolfe’s Pond Park and Great Kills Park among others.

 

Greetings,

 

Due to the low elevation of Staten Island’s east and south shores, the Island was one of the hardest hit areas of the city during Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29th this year.  While much media attention has been given to our “forgotten borough” in terms of the human impacts, there are also substantial effects to our beach front.  The Lenape name for the island “Aquehonga“ can be translated as “where the sand cliffs end”.  If the Lenape witnessed the island after Sandy that name might not have been given to describe the island.  While there still are cliffs, or bluffs as we commonly refer to these features, at such locations as Mt. Loretto Unique Area or the north-west facing Conference House Park, there were approximately 3.7 kilometers of bluffs or sloped beach front flattened in one way or another by Sandy along the island’s east and south shores.

 

The loss of certain sections of bayside bluffs is going to mean the loss of at least one established bank swallow colony at Great Kills Park and relocation of a colony at Mt. Loretto Unique Area.  Many local and city birders are familiar with the “salt flats” at Great Kills as a waterfowl, shorebird, and gull location, but few realized that there was a healthy colony of bank swallows at the bluffs just west of the flats during the late spring and summer for the last decade. Sandy’s actions have caused these bluffs to erode, extending the sloped beach inland about 45 feet from where the colony (bluffs) used to stand, up to the sidewalk-parking area. Likewise, a smaller but active bank swallow colony located on the bluffs at Mt. Loretto Unique Area was also wiped out, but as these bluffs are still standing there is hope the swallows and a pair of belted kingfishers will return to this location next summer.

 

The entirety of Crooke’s Point, which makes up Great Kills facing the Raritan Bay, was impacted to some degree during Sandy.  Continue reading ‘Hurricane Sandy Impacts: Staten Island’ »