Unfortunately, Jamaica Bay salt marshes have been deteriorating at an alarming rate that appears to be accelerating; experts worry that if this rate of loss continues, marsh islands in Jamaica Bay could vanish completely in the next 20 to 25 years. In 2003-4, I participated in an experimental pilot project aimed at restoring a two-acre parcel of degraded marsh in Jamaica Bay. Sediment was applied to the marsh surface at Big Egg Marsh and then planted with over 20,000 seedlings of marsh grass. See some photos here of the planting.
It is important to note that none of this would be possible without the hard work of the Army Core of Engineers, the North East Chapter of the American Littoral Society, the Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers (led by Dan Mundy Sr. and his son who are like local champions of the Bay...at least for me), the vision of government officials and most importantly, the hundreds of volunteers who have put in thousands of hours, giving their time and effort to the restoration of the bay they love so much.
Today, as I did my shorebird survey, I was over-washed with joy as I watched in satisfaction over 2 thousand shorebirds wheeling around and resting in Big Egg Marsh in Jamaica Bay Queens NY, during high tide. A treat was counting over 300 Red Knots roosting and sometimes feeding in the marsh as the tide came in. Other shorebirds included, Willets, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitchers, Semi-palmated Plovers, Black-belied Plovers, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Dunlins and Rudy Turnstones.
|Red Knots were the majority shorebirds in this image, which I cropped.|
|Red Knots in breeding plumage.|