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Contact: Reina Becnel, 718-354-4606
The National Park Service, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFLHD), is preparing an environmental assessment (EA) in support of a proposed project to address damage that resulted from a breach that occurred at the West Pond of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge during Hurricane Sandy.
NPS is asking the public to help the park define both the natural and cultural values and characteristics important for protection of this popular area. To do this, the Gateway National Recreation Area will host an open house public meeting on July 17, 2014, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center at Cross Bay Boulevard, Queens, N.Y. The meeting is the first step in the development of an EA.
“We know that this is one of the most visible reminders of the damage from Hurricane Sandy in Jamaica Bay,” said Gateway Superintendent Jennifer Nersesian. “An environmental assessment will help us make the smartest choice for the west pond and what future storms may bring.”
The purpose of the proposed project is to provide for environmentally sensitive and resilient conditions along the West Pond Trail area that support a diversity of Jamaica Bay habitats and wildlife. The EA will address any potential impacts to natural or cultural resources that may result from the proposed project. NPS will gather input from park staff, other agencies and the public to consider the potential effects of the proposed project.
The EA will look at the area’s natural and cultural resources to be sure that they are protected as part of the assessment. “We will be asking the public to share their knowledge about this special area with us as a part of the work,” said Acting Chief of Resource Management Dave Taft. “We will gather information from the public, non-profit organizations, and other federal and state agencies to ensure that we understand fully what they value about this popular and important area of Jamaica Bay.”
The EA will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act to provide a decision-making framework that: 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives; 2) evaluates potential issues and impacts to park resources and values; and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.
The public has two opportunities to formally comment on the project: during the public scoping period for the EA, and again during a 30-day public review following release of the EA. Public scoping comments about the proposed project may be submitted electronically from June 30 through July 30, 2014, at the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment web site: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/.
Comments may be submitted online at https://www.nps.gov/gate/contacts.htm or mailed to the park at the following address:
Gateway National Recreation Area
ATTN: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, West Pond EA Comments
210 New York Avenue
Staten Island NY 10305
About Gateway National Recreation Area
Established in 1972, Gateway National Recreation Area offers more than 26,000 acres of marshes, wildlife sanctuaries and recreational athletic facilities, miles of sandy beaches; indoor and outdoor classrooms; picnicking and camping areas, as well as historic structures and military installations, airfields, a lighthouse, and adjacent waters around New York harbor. The park offers urban residents in two states a wide range of recreational opportunities year round. Gateway is one of the ten most visited national parks in the country. For information about Gateway's upcoming public programs, see the park's Web site at https://www.nps.gov/gate/index.htm. To join the conversation about Gateway, like us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/Gatewaynps.