The National Park Service is seeking public input to support the development of a Stewardship Plan for the East and West Pond area of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. The plan is in the early stages of development, and the National Park Service needs your help identifying key issues and potential management strategies. Let us know what you think!
How to get involved
Answer these questions and help us identify issues to address:
If you currently visit the East or West Ponds, what do you enjoy about the area?
If you do not normally visit this area, is there any particular reason why?
What is the park doing well at East or West Pond that you would like to see continue?
Have you volunteered at these sites in the past? How do you think the park can effectively engage volunteers in the stewardship of these areas (see more information below)?
How would you like to see the park implement the vision of the 2014 General Management Plan?
Please send answers to the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website (https://parkplanning.nps.gov/StewardshipPlan), or mail them to the following address:
Gateway National Recreation Area
210 New York Avenue,
Attn: East and West Pond Stewardship Plan
Staten Island, NY 10305
The comment period closes on June 7, 2022.
A virtual open house was hosted on May 17. Just want a copy of the presentation? Here it is.
Virtual Open House to discuss the East and West Pond Stewardship Plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
What geographic area will the East and West Pond Stewardship Plan cover?
The scope of the management plan is the East and West Ponds on Rulers Bar Hassock to the north of Broad Channel, as well as the surrounding areas accessible to visitors of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and its surrounding trails and interpretative exhibits.
What is the purpose of the East and West Pond Stewardship Plan? How does it relate to prior plans?
The last formal plan for the East and West Pond area was completed in 1981. Much has changed since then: climate change and sea level rise have begun to threaten the area; partner investment in the Refuge has increased; the composition of flora and fauna has morphed; habitat has been transformed; and NPS management policies have evolved. As urban development continues and natural lands are altered across the metropolitan area, the Refuge has become more important than ever, both to the remnant native plants and animals dependent upon its habitats for their survival, and to the people who find relaxation and enjoyment there.In that context, the purpose of this plan is to preserve and protect this beloved area by identifying and developing strategies to advance management goals in several areas. The Stewardship Plan will identify management actions related to the protection of resources including freshwater ponds, migratory bird species, resident wildlife species, aquatic resources, upland habitats, vernal pools, wetlands, and soundscapes. The Stewardship Plan will also outline objectives related to engaging a diverse community of visitors and volunteers, managing a robust volunteer workforce, education and interpretation, and providing opportunities for continued public use and enjoyment of the East and West Pond area.
How does the East and West Pond Stewardship Plan relate to the park’s General Management Plan?
The guiding document for the East and West Pond area is Gateway’s 2014 General Management Plan (GMP), which provides a 20-year vision for the entire park. The GMP established park management zones to describe the desired conditions for park resources and visitor experiences in each area of the park. The entire East and West Pond area falls in the Natural Zone, which defines undeveloped areas that are managed to preserve natural resources while also allowing for some passive recreation and enjoyment, such as walking and wildlife viewing. Within the Natural Zone, the special sensitive resource subzone defines natural areas that warrant the highest level of protection, such as the East and West Ponds themselves and their adjacent saltmarshes. These areas are appropriate for scientific investigation, monitoring, and restoration, but public access is restricted to minimize impacts.Regarding programming, the GMP called for the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to remain a popular destination for nature study, environmental education, and nature-based interpretation while engaging youth and families through nature-based educational and stewardship programs. Regarding infrastructure, the GMP laid the groundwork for an expanded network of trails, boardwalks and nature study facilities (e.g., scopes, blinds, observation decks) to facilitate self-guided exploration as well as interpretive tours and educational programming throughout the Natural Zone. Regarding resources, the GMP called for habitats at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, including the East and West Ponds, to be protected and maintained, especially to support a diversity of migratory birds. Finally, the GMP calls for the refuge to increase migratory bird identification, counting, and research. The Stewardship Plan seeks to advance each of these directives from the GMP by articulating goals, objectives, and associated management strategies.
What is the timeline for the development of the East and West Pond Stewardship Plan? When will the public have input into the plan?
Gateway is currently seeking early public engagement on issues to be addressed or evaluated in this plan. A key step in the public engagement is a virtual open house to be held on May 17, 2022 at 7:00 p.m., during which NPS staff will introduce the Stewardship Plan effort. Participants are also encouraged to submit questions in advance of the event when they register. More information about this event, including registration, can be found here: https://stewardshipplan.eventbrite.com.From April 26 to June 7, 2022, individuals, government agencies, non- profit and for-profit organizations are also welcomed to provide feedback through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website (https://parkplanning.nps.gov/StewardshipPlan)social media (@gatewaynps on Facebook or Twitter), or in writing at Gateway National Recreation Area (ATTN: East and West Pond Stewardship Plan), 210 New York Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10305.After the public comment period closes on June 7, 2022, NPS staff will review input received and incorporate comments into the development of a draft Stewardship Plan. Gateway will also produce a document showing how it has considered, evaluated, and incorporated public feedback. With this input in hand, NPS staff will explore viable concepts and strategies, determine relevant indicators and thresholds, and gather information and expertise.The result of this effort will be a draft Stewardship Plan that will undergo public and stakeholder review before NPS staff evaluate compliance and consultation needs, complete consultation and compliance, and finalize the plan. During the implementation phase, the Stewardship Plan will support the development of standard operating protocols that will lead to the desired outcomes identified in the Plan for the East and West Ponds. The Stewardship Plan will provide a roadmap for serving visitors and conserving natural resources over the next five-to-ten years.