City, Feds Hammer Out Jamaica Bay Management Deal

We all know by now that one of the biggest problems with Jamaica Bay – and the parks and beaches that comprise it like Plumb Beach – is that there are too many cooks in the kitchen.

Many of the smaller recreational areas have elements that are overseen by a hodgepodge of federal, state and city agencies – and the lines of what belongs to whom are sometimes blurred. That’s why in Plumb Beach, when long-term solutions were called for, all of the agencies claimed it was all of the other agencies’ jurisdiction, not theirs. And, amidst the finger-pointing, not much gets done.

Good news, everyone! Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and a host of other city and federal officials, at the Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park yesterday to announce that all of the stakeholders are hammering out a formal legal agreement detailing how the city and federal governments will manage Jamaica Bay and its various elements. That means we’ll know exactly who to point the finger at!

We couldn’t make it to the press conference ourselves, but we did coordinate with’s Danny Cavanagh to ensure there was a local getting down the info. He explains the agreement:

Right now some of Jamaica Bay is controlled by the city while some is controlled by the federal park service and there are areas that are controlled by both if not more other agencies. There are a lot of overlapping projects and jurisdictional issues that arise from sharing the area. The Mayor said is best when “Even though these city and federal holdings sit next to one another like a jigsaw puzzle, they don’t always fit well together,” . The agreement signed yesterday, is the building blocks for a new unified governing model that works together and shares planning objectives and goals.
As for what this means for the plumb beach rest stop. Parks Commisioner Adrian Benepe said there will be a major rehabilitation project to rebuild and stabilize the area with the army corps of engineers and the city soon.  Councilman Lew Fidler and newly elected Bob Turner will have to keep pushing to make sure they keep their word and we don’t lose the belt parkway. The Parks Commissioner announced that a project will be started in the near future by the army corps of engineers with the city and in cooperation with the national parks service.

For what it’s worth, there wasn’t a single mention of former-Congressman Anthony Weiner at yesterday’s press conference. But there should’ve been: the now disgraced congressman deserves credit for this deal.

It’s hard to deny that Weiner’s relentless push to get stakeholders to the table at Plumb Beach and elsewhere across his Jamaica Bay-lined district played a role in this accomplishment. And Weiner had been lobbying Salazar and the Obama administration to put more emphasis on Jamaica Bay as early as just days after Obama’s inauguration, when he got Salazar to make his first visit to the area. That visit was followed by several others in the two years since.

Congressman Bob Turner – the Republican who took Weiner’s seat after his resignation – was not invited to the press conference, a source told Sheepshead Bites.