Saturday, December 21, 2013

The big strainer

On this sunny day, we went out with the aim of taking care of the old culvert under the entrance trail. 

It sits at the edge of the main pool, and leads into the pit on the other side of the trail. By and large, having water reach the area is a good thing. Unfortunately, high tides regularly bring with them urban rejects in the form of plastic bags, plywood boards, and anything in between. The said rejects then tend to settle and accumulate there, clogging the potentially fertile ground. 

Also, for some reason, this pit has a propensity for making me feel small and lonely any time I go in there; so, naturally, I have always had hard time remembering to check out the place. And, since it has traditionally been neglected, despite its proximity to the main marsh, I suspect, it has a similar psychological effect on other mortals.

So, after the people from Recovery and Resiliency (see the October 29 entry) had helped us to clean the spot - in fact, it took no more than half an hour, we were determined to partially cover the culvert openings, in order to prevent new debris from coming in. 

The sun was not cooperating, but I managed to take a few snapshots of the historic moment.

Here, Tony is contemplating the scenery, while Danko is removing the most unsightly pieces of trash, choosing a more hands-on approach.

—by Genie Gregor

We have planted poles and are ready to attach wire mesh to them.

A piece of burlap, thrown onto the construction, is supposed to sieve away those offensive bottle caps and the like.

Looks neat.

Tony gives final instructions.

Becky adds last touch ups.

Time to go home. 
Will our plan work as expected? We shall see...

High of 55°F | Humidity (avg) 84% | Wind 6 mph (S) | High Tide 4.9 ft. @ 09:51 | Moon 84% visible.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Student Conservation Association (SCA) – Sandy relief for the Marsh

In July, a Student Conservation Association crew descended upon the marsh.      
— by Genie Gregor

For three consecutive weeks Ashley, Deina, Crystal, Michelle, Stephanie, Tyler, Tajiana, Angerie, Alaywa, Shameek and Ethan had been hauling and lugging...

Puffing and laughing...

Raking and piling, rain or shine...

Cutting wood...

This pile is part of debris brought to the marsh by mighty Sandy and removed by united efforts of the stalwart team.

Thank you, gals and guys!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Marsh Makers do some heavy lifting

On the anniversary of "Superstorm" Sandy the Student Conservation Association worked together with Recovery and Resilliency to carry out some heavy debris that had been waiting in large piles for removal.

Student Conservation Association members visited Rocky Point Marsh regularly during the summer months. The result of their hard work has allowed the marsh to flourish in a way that it probably hasn't in several decades. The native grasses are thick and tall, high tides are flooding the marsh, and wading birds are frequent visitors, and some may have even nested there this summer.

Rocky Point Marsh is a fringe marsh on the bayside of Rockaway peninsula in the Gateway National Recreation Area. This important habitat progressed from looking like a landfill full of decades worth of debris (natural and unnatural) to looking and functioning more like a healthy ecosystem that supports native plants and animals.

We are not only cleaning up the marshland. We are also conducting plant and animal surveys to find out who and what lives there. Most of our work is organized by volunteers and facilitated by the National Park Service.

High of 58°F | Humidity (avg) 48% | Wind 7 mph (NNE) | High Tide 4.7 ft. @ 16:17 | Moon 25% visible.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Before and after Hurricane Sandy

Updated images from Google Earth show the marsh before and after Hurricane Sandy. Notice in the 2012 image the new channels into the marsh, just another opportunity for natural flooding to take place. Also the absence of debris is remarkable.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Your Park Your Health interns show their strength

One of the most highly motivated group of awesome human beings I have had the honor to work with during a much-needed cleanup day.

Sheridan Roberts, Park Guide / Internship Coordinator at the National Park Service and her Your Park Your Health interns, Liang Yi Jiang, Basil Masood, Sabirah Abdus-Sabur, David Monroy, Ani Coaderaj, JustinKallickal, Erick M. Melgar, and Vincent Wong.
High of 79 °F | Humidity (avg) 77% | Wind @ 12 mph (NE) | High Tide 4.9 ft. @ 11:21 AM | Moon 17% visible.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nesting willets make sure they're noticed

Story by Genie Gregor

I went to the Marsh today, having in mind to do some phragmites cutting and collecting specimens of the plants that might be in bloom now. As I was approaching the site from the bay, I noticed a willet - he made sure he does not go unnoticed - making circles above my head and giving out piercing calls.

Although I knew it was the nesting season for Tringa semipalmata, or the eastern Willet, and they are known to be very defensive parents, I was hoping that their nest was away from my path and, if I have a friendly face and move forward at a leisurely pace, they would let me do my stuff... Not even close! With every new step I took, the willet - it was, probably, the male - grew angrier and more feisty, flying closer to me, his screams more and more offensive.

Then his spouse joined in... 

I retreated. The willets stayed. When I looked back, they were sitting on the osprey platform, shouting unpleasant remarks to me.

Once out of their sight, I was able to pick flowers, i.e. collect plant specimens for our herbarium, peacefully.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A group effort opens a channel

Hurricane Sandy casualty. Many of the flags along the main road were found crumpled, ripped and covered in dried mud.

Becky and Danko tackle the big stuff before the job of clearing organic matter (mostly dead reeds) to create a channel. This will encourage water flow and natural flooding.

Genie and Kim-Nora continue the ongoing effort to remove dead organic matter, which contains millions of plastic fragments.

Danko attends to the matter of trash removal from the marsh to the truck, not a thankless job.

High of 53 °F | Humidity (avg) 52% | Wind @ 15 mph (NW) | High Tide 5.5 ft. @ 9:05 AM | Moon 99% visible.