Need to get away from the confines of New York City’s concrete jungle? Thanks to the Parks Department of New York, the Army Corps of Engineers and $8 million, burnt-out city dwellers need travel no further than southern Brooklyn to re-acquaint themselves with the peace and harmony of the beauty and bounty of nature.
"It's a tremendous opportunity living in the city, to come out and have a horizon and have green open space, the sense of openness," said Mike Feller of the Parks Department Natural Resources Group.
On Monday city officials came together at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center to discuss the changes which have taken place to the ecosystem which will provide a much friendlier environment for the growth of the native plants and animals inhabiting the area.
"You can restore, you can certainly work to undo that which humans have done, and I think this is the most remarkable wetland and upland restoration that's been done in the City of New York," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
the park has been closed for the past three years while the Corps of Engineers added 18 acres of tidal marshland and 23 acres of grasslands. Not only adding land, but taking away sand and soil was part of the improvement plan. The sand had been dumped there over many years, especially coming from the dredging of Jamaica Bay. An invasive species of reeds called Phragmites was also removed, as it was interfering with the ability of native species to take hold and thrive.
"In fact, we moved 60,000 cubic yards of sand and soil here which ends up being more than 2,000 big truck loads, so it was a significant amount of earth moving activity, and a specific amount of planting," said US Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Dan Felt.
The money for the project came from federal, state and city sources. Also built was a completely new nature trail which gives a much improved view of the area than the previous trail had done.
"You were walking under a tunnel of 12-foot high Phragmites, so you would walk through the Phragmites and sometimes come out to a place like this and have a glimpse of the marsh and then you were back into your tunnel, it was much more claustrophobic. This is tremendous," Feller said.
The wonderful new area is set to open to the public in October at the end of the long summer growing season.