Jamaica Bay is located on the southern side of Long Island and is divided between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
This body of water is an important ecosystem that contains over 325 species of birds, 50 species of butterflies and 100 species of fin-fish.
Council members Costa Constantinides, Eric Ulrich, I. Daneek Miller, Adrienne Adams, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and other community leaders and residents came out to celebrate the passage of a legislative package that will help restore and protect this New York ecosystem and its surrounding communities.
Many community members refer to Jamaica Bay as a ‘hidden gem’ or a ‘national treasure,’ and are relieved to see political action being taken to preserve it.
The legislative package aims to provide a plan to preserve the health of Jamaica Bay, protect southern Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods that are prone to flooding (that have an increased number of basements with groundwater seepage), and overall make coastal areas more resilient to future storms and climate change.
The first part of the legislative package, Intro 750, will reinstate the New York City Jamaica Bay Task Force that was shut down five years ago by Mayor Bloomberg. The force will consist of 11 people, six chosen by the mayor, five chosen by the speaker of the Council. They will discuss solutions for sewage overflow, rising tides and chemicals from JFK Airport.
The second part of the package, Intro 749, mandates New York City to look into whether or not the groundwater flooding southeast Queens homes can be used for cooling and heating through geothermal exchange as an alternative to water boilers and for electricity.
The third part of the package, Intro 628, requires the city to study which coastal regions are at risk for flooding and plans to be made to prevent future damage. The study will be required every four years to keep up with the evolving rate of change the climate is facing.
Elected officials and community members have high hopes for this new legislation package’s effectiveness in preserving the Bay and improving the environmental status of surrounding neighborhoods.
“The legislation we’re heralding, the passage of supplements, the progress made over the last few years through the Administration’s near $2 billion, commitment to flood mitigation in the region by implementing a series of proactive measures that will direct the City to anticipate future floods, fortify prone neighborhoods, harness the energy of excess water, and protect the integrity of Jamaica Bay,” Miller said.
The legislation was passed unanimously.