Since its inception in 1972, when Jamaica Bay became part of the Gateway National Recreation Area (GNRA), numerous partnerships have developed between a variety of agencies, universities, and organizations. While their activities have ranged from research and management to education and recreation, these groups by virtue of their mission and objectives, share a common stake in the bay's preservation and well being. Through the years, observational data has proven that the health of the bay's ecosystem has taken a negative turn. The National Park Service (NPS) is relying on its partners to help address these observations, and prescribe solutions, to ensure a healthy future for the bay.
Over the years, the bay has had its share of issues pertaining to its existence as the largest urban national park. The Jamaica Bay Task Force (JBTF) members have pointed out an overall lack of coordination between the National Park Service, New York City & State government, and the community to preserve the bay. These issues include:
- USACE Borrow Pit restoration project - is backfill material the right material?
- Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan Advisory Committee have its pulse on long-standing issues raised at JBTF meetings?
- Dumping of sewage from JFK airport
- Invasion of the Asian Shore Crab
- Dead Horse Bay landfill erosion:
Along the southernmost shoreline of what is now known as Dead Horse Bay, there is an area of very old landfill that is suffering from extreme erosion.
As the shoreline has eroded over the years, the buried garbage that the landfill is comprised of has become exposed, and a tremendous amount of toxins have possibly been allowed to run off into the bay.
Visiting the site, the first thing one notices is that the entire shoreline is covered with broken glass and bottles, many of which are marked with a skull and crossbones signifying that they once contained poisonous materials. It is not uncommon to find areas where substances appear to be leeching from the sands below to the surface.
This issue seriously needs to be addressed and action needs to be taken to halt the erosion that exposes more landfill to the bay each year.