Climate change’s effects on Jamaica Bay to be studied

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.    Credit: Nature Conservancy
Researchers are looking at the future of Jamaica Bay and what changes a warming world will bring.
Credit: Nature Conservancy

A new Science and Resilience Institute in Jamaica Bay will study the effects of climate change on the ecosystem and promote its restoration, city and federal officials announced Monday.

“Jamaica Bay is one of the greatest natural treasures any city has within its borders, and our administration is working hard to make the bay an even greater, stronger and more resilient natural resource for decades to come,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

A consortium headed by CUNY will lead the new institute, which officials said will not only help in Jamaica Bay’s revitalization but provide guidance for global resiliency efforts. In October, the institute will hold a symposium on urban ecosystem resilience during an era of climate change.

“Working together, we will develop and coordinate approaches to coastal resiliency for Jamaica Bay that can serve as a model for communities around the world threatened by climate change,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said.

The institute will also research how best to protect regions like Jamaica Bay from storms like Hurricane Sandy, which will become more frequent with the effects of climate change. Already, more than 300 members of a federal and city restoration corps have helped the region recover from Sandy, planting grasses and removing debris.

City and federal officials announced last year that they would cooperatively manage 10,000 acres of parks in and around Jamaica Bay. More than 330 bird species — more than half of species in the Northeast — have been spotted in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the last two decades.

The new institute will temporarily operate from Brooklyn College beginning in the fall.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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