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Queens Chronicle

Breach in Gateway lake may be filled in

Pond filled with salt water after Sandy

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Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:49 am, Thu May 9, 2013.

As devastating as Hurricane Sandy was to homes, businesses and infrastructure in southern Queens, the storm also did a number on nature in the area.

The two freshwater lakes in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge — East Pond and West Pond — suffered breaches, which allowed salt water from Jamaica Bay to flow in.

The breach in East Pond occurred below the A train subway tracks. That gap is being filled as the tracks, which were washed out in the storm, are being rebuilt.

But no final decision had been made on the West Pond breach, a deep, almost canyon-like chasm on the south side of the lake big enough to sail a boat through.

“Gateway is bringing in a group of scientists to help us make the best decision and to work through the environmental analysis of different courses of action for the pond,” said Daphne Yun, a spokeswoman for Gateway National Recreation Area.

If the breach is filled, the pond would likely be drained and refilled with rainwater and snowfall runoff next year. It is also possible the breach will be left as is, turning the pond into a natural lagoon.

The two ponds were created at the same time as the wildlife refuge in the 1950s and were the brainchild of 20th-century “master builder” Robert Moses. They have been used as a habitat for migrating shorebirds.

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