Jamaica Bay cleanup to continue: Ulrich 1

A 30-foot boat sinking a couple of years ago into Hawtree Creek, which leads into Jamaica Bay.

Another round of funding will target abandoned boats that remain in Jamaica Bay, following a similar initiative last year but this time with more money behind it.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) announced on Tuesday that his office has secured $65,000 to continue removing the boats, $10,000 more than last year.

“Though we made progress last year, many derelict boats remain in Jamaica Bay. They’re not only unsightly and dangerous, but they pose a serious environmental hazard to the local ecosystem,” Ulrich said in a statement.

“I’m proud that my final budget as a Councilman includes this important funding to target the most problematic areas in this local treasure,” said Ulrich.

He will be term-limited out of office at the end of the year.

“I’d like to thank the Parks Department — as well as Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers — for their commitment to restoring our environment,” he said.

It is estimated that there are still more than 100 neglected vessels floating in New York City’s waterways and many of them are cast about Jamaica Bay. Some boats are abandoned by owners who can no longer afford to maintain them or pay the docking fees.

Aside from being eyesores, they can cause environmental harm.

Betty Braton, chairperson of Community Board 10, noted that removal of the vessels is difficult but necessary because they hinder safe navigation for other boats, especially in narrow parts of the canal.

“Community Board 10 appreciates the efforts of Councilman Ulrich to secure additional funding to remove derelict vessels creating hazards in our waterways,” said Braton.

Dan Mundy, president of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, called this “great news” as there is currently no federal, state or city agency addressing the problem. He hopes to eventually see a long-term, citywide effort, he said in a statement.

“Councilman Ulrich has once again funded a targeted removal effort that will allow for these vessels to be hauled away, eliminating their impact to the bay — which can include oil/fuel spillage, destruction to the wetlands, and an aesthetic impact to the beautiful shorelines of this National Park,” said Mundy.

Funds for the project were allocated to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation through the “NYC Cleanup Initiative.”

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