Group Tours Little Neck Bay

September 12, 2008 at 2:43 pm Leave a comment

Daniel Egers, president, and Vince Tabone, counsel to Friends Of Oakland Lake and Ravine, Inc. (“FOLR”) joined with members of the North Eastern Queens Community Action Network (“NEQ-CAN”) to organize a tour of the coastline of Little Neck Bay on August 23, assembling volunteers expert in canoeing, environmental conservation, photography, journalism and area history to assist in inspecting the coastline and waterways for signs of environmental degradation affecting this important estuary and ecosystem. Among the participations were Victor G. Mimoni of Community Board 11 and Patrick McShane a member of Community District Education Counsel 26 and an expert in canoeing, along with avid outdoors and kayak enthusiasts Frank Kenna, Esq. and Jason Hoyer. Victor Mimoni is also an award -winning journalist and Jason Hoyer is an accomplished photographer.

FOLR is most known for organizing plantings, cleanups and preservation projects at or around Oakland Lake. Oakland Lake is an 18,000-year-old, spring-fed glacial kettle lake located in Alley Pond Park and is a neighborhood and national treasure.

FOLR also distributes copies of The History and Ecology of Little Neck Bay (“History”) by Dr. Aline Euler of the Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC), an educational primer on past and ongoing efforts to protect Little Neck Bay and the surrounding watershed- especially to neighborhood children to foster public awareness and to engender respect for the natural heritage.

NEQ-CAN is an ad hoc committee comprised of citizens from the surrounding area concerned about conservation and preservation of green space, quality of life and community service issues. NEQ-CAN focuses on partnering with established community groups and volunteers to achieve community goals and promote public awareness of issues affecting the community that may require community action or public attention.

FOLR/NEQ-CAN assembled a group of volunteers to visually inspect and photograph portions of the coastline of Little Neck Bay from the vantage point of canoes. Using a Coastal Fish & Wildlife Habitat Rating system made available by the Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources, the volunteers looked for examples of activities, impacts and visible degradation that could be destroying or significantly impairing the surrounding habitat, water quality, biological productivity or diversity. The intent was to record visible indications of water pollution, such as chemical contamination, oil spills, excessive turbidity or sedimentation, and any improper waste disposal.

The two-canoe team embarked from the jetties to the northwest of Fort Totten, making their way across Little Neck Bay to the shoreline immediately south of Kings Point and headed in a southerly direction while hugging the shoreline to better observe conditions, passing Saddle Rock and Harbor Hills until entering Udalls Cove and the marshy embankments of these state tidal wetlands. At this juncture, volunteers photographed conditions observed on the shore, including debris and refuse as well as the decidedly unsightly exit terminus of a waste treatment facility that marred the otherwise scenic natural landscape. The team made its way into the interior of this cove and photographed such flora and fauna as could be observed. From there, the teams toured the coastline from Great Neck Estates, Douglaston and Parsons beach, but left exploration of Alley Pond Park proper for a subsequent trip along the shoreline of Bayside proper that runs parallel to the Cross Island Parkway. The volunteer teams took a brief respite at the Bayside Marina, observing local pier fishermen before completing the tour again at a point west of Fort Totten.

Written observations and photographic evidence of adverse environmental impacts and of flora and fauna will be shared with the state Department of State Division of Coastal Resources & Waterfront Revitalization, state Department of Environmental Conservation and New York City Department of Environmental Preservation, and with local elected officials including Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, state Senator Frank Padavan and Assemblymember Mark Weprin, who have been very effective advocates with regard to environmental conservation and preservation issues, and with area media in the hopes that advancing awareness of the importance of the Bay and the ecosystem it supports will be advanced.

By identifying the adverse impacts observed it is hoped that programmatic resources and volunteer efforts can be directed toward addressing these conditions. Observations will also be shared with longstanding and effective advocacy groups like Friends of Udalls Cove, whose membership and history, institutional knowledge and strong vested interest in Little Neck Bay and its environs remain unparalleled.

For more information, contact President Daniel Egers or Executive Director Vince Tabone, Friends of Oakland Lake & Ravine, Inc./North Eastern Queens-Community Action Network, POB 610506, 45-35 215th St., Bayside, NY 11361.

Queens Gazette

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Entry filed under: Dive In, Go Coastal, Natural Waterfront, Queens. Tags: , , , .

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