Jamaica Bay

The tens of millions of travelers flying each year into John F. Kennedy airport arrive not only at one of the world’s busiest transportation hubs but also arrive on the eastern shore of Jamaica Bay.

From the air, Jamaica Bay is a stunning vista. One sees a large lagoon characterized by coastal ecosystems: beaches, dunes, salt marshes, upland fields and woods, fresh ponds, and penetrated by a dense matrix of urban infrastructure. One can see how the bay is physically separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the barrier beach that is home to the Rockaways. At its western end, the mouth of the bay connects with the sea through the Rockaway Inlet.

Most of the urban area that can be made out in detail from the air is part of the Jamaica Bay watershed, which includes all those areas that drain run-off water into the Bay. Most of the watershed is situated within the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, with portions in the east falling within Nassau County, New York. The heavily urbanized and densely populated watershed is one of the most complicated human landscapes in the world. The watershed houses nearly 3 million people in a diverse range of communities and the management jurisdiction of the watershed is divided among no less than 26 entities.

In February 2016, a formal announcement of the partnership between New York Sea Grant and The Science and Resilience Institute @ Jamaica Bay (SRIJB) was made with the hiring of a Jamaica Bay Coastal Resilience Specialist, who, along with SRIJB, is located at Brooklyn College.

SRIJB is a new research center focused on enhancing environmental, social, and economic resilience in communities of Jamaica Bay funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the City of New York.

NYSG, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

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