Thursday, October 11, 2012

JibberJabber, HR2606 and a Great Urban Park

Let's play the game of: Is it a National Park or an Industrial Park? For the photo above, B is the correct answer. An industrial park. Pat yourself on the back if you got the answer correct but don't feel so bad if you didn't.

Now let's take what the people in power made public during the time that HR 2606, legislation that authorizes industrial infrastructure, a metering and regulating facility to be housed in historic hangars and Floyd Bennett Field, was getting ready to be introduced and decided on and see if what was presented to the public by politicians and the National Park Service was real talk or jibberjabber?

1. "National Parks are America’s most precious treasures and Gateway National Recreation Area is New York City’s rough-hewn jewel of open space. I’m so pleased that we now have a plan to make Gateway and Floyd Bennett Field a sight to see in New York City, and I look forward to turning this blueprint into reality in the years to come,” said Senator Charles Schumer. - June 2011.

2,"The President is spotlighting great urban national parks," Salazar said, "and there is no better place to talk about that than in New York City." Feb 17, 2011 as Salazar and Bloomberg annouce a new Urban park initiative, with NPS Director Jon Jarvis by their side

3. "New Yorkers feel a strong sense of pride for our parks…," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We're home to over 29,000 acres of parkland. Parks represent an oasis in the city and even in tough economic times, we recognize how important they are." Feb 17, 2011

I'm going with jibberjabber.

It's the same kind of jibberjabber that Senator Schumer's office gave out this week when it said that HR2606 only authorizes the Dept of Interior to engage in negotiations about the leasing of airplane hangars in Floyd Bennett Field. And here I thought it was a bill about allowing natural gas pipeline facilities in the park just because that's what the bill's language says. Silly me. Good thing there are leaders to set me straight.

Floyd Bennett Field: This area includes the upland and shoreline of the civil aviation facility that was largely created by the filling of salt marsh islands in the bay. The airfield was decommissioned in 1950 and became a haven for grassland and open-country birds until the last several decades when succession of open areas into shrub and developing forest eliminated habitat. In 1985, a portion of Floyd Bennett Field was restored to grassland and now about 57 hectares (140 acres) are maintained through clearing, mowing, and burning. This is one of the few sizable grasslands within the urban core of New York City; it supports a variety of grassland birds, several of which are rare and/or declining in the northeastern United States. Grassland birds confirmed nesting in or near the grasslands in recent years include grasshopper sparrow, horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), eastern meadowlark (Sturnella magna), upland sandpiper, savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), northern harrier, American kestrel, and common barn-owl. Use of this area by grasshopper sparrow increased significantly in average abundance and shifted their distribution into the grassland management area between 1984 and 1992. In 1996 there were no grasshopper sparrows nesting at Floyd Bennett Field, but there were 22 pairs of savannah sparrow. Overwintering grassland birds at Floyd Bennett Field include northern harrier, rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus), American kestrel, common barn-owl, short-eared owl, horned lark, eastern meadowlark, and savannah sparrow. Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) is a regular migrant visitor in the grasslands. Grassland birds, especially upland sandpiper, also utilize the grassland habitat along the runways at John F. Kennedy Airport. In recent years, there have also been two nesting locations for American oystercatcher along the northeast shoreline of Floyd Bennett Field. The rare Schweinitz's flatsedge is found in the southern and northern portions of the area, and willow oak saplings occur in the bayberry thickets at the northern end of this site.(This isn't the most current info, but still. The field is most definitely not a wasteland.)

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