“It just makes sense,” he said. “It’s just intuitive to protect it.”
He paused, then continued.
“Because it’s beautiful — and natural,” he said.
– Don Riepe, the “Guardian of Jamaica Bay”
The above sentiment resonates with all of us at MSC. The City of Scottsdale and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve share an interesting issue with a place across the country – Jamaica Bay, a natural wetlands area, at the edge of Queens and Brooklyn, New York. Both the organizations and individuals who steward Jamaica Bay and MSC seek to protect natural places on the edges of metropolitan areas. The Bay’s story is quickly circulating as an example of successful environmental cleanup and lasting preservation. It is so close to the city, it can be reached by subway. Given its place and history of abundant pollution, this effort is remarkable.
The Bay has gone from being a raw sewage outlet, a place for dumping dead animals, and a repository for toxic industrial waste, to a slowly but surely recovering wetland habitat.
With the help of organizations like the Natural Resource Defense Council and committed citizens, the condition of this habitat continues to improve. Where there was once only toxic waste, there are now birds, seals, oysters and sea grass. New Yorkers flock to this area to enjoy a peaceful place with the backdrop of the New York skyline.
Researchers believe that this could be a testing ground for the issues that face natural places on the borders of cities. While protection efforts are slow-moving, the outlook is positive. This is great news for cities with nearby natural lands at their borders, such as New York City and our very own City of Scottsdale, and hopefully encouragement for many other cities to understand the balance between preservation and urban growth.
For the full story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/nyregion/jamaica-bay-a-wild-place-on-the-edge-of-change.html?pagewanted=3&_r=3&ref=science – “Jamaica Bay, Wild Place on the Edge”, By Alan Feuer, New York Times, July 29, 2011