The Institute is a partnership among the National Park Service, the City of New York, and a Consortium of nine research institutions. Each of these research institutions offers a range of relevant science and education assets and linkages to Jamaica Bay.
City University of New York
Relevant Research and Capabilities: Baruch College has a project to study the ecosystem services anticipated with bivalve restoration in Jamaica Bay. Brooklyn College’s Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center (AREAC) and the Environmental Science Analytical Center (ESAC) are engaged in water quality research, ecosystem response to climate change, and analyses of urban soils. City College houses the Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center (CREST), and includes The Environmental CrossRoads Initiative, The Coastal Urban Environmental Research Group and The Center for Water Resources and Environmental Research. The College of Staten Island has faculty studying marshes, the movement of metals in aquatic food webs and shorebird ecology, and houses CUNY’s supercomputer (Cray XE6m) facility. Hunter College faculty are currently studying storm surges and climate impacts to the City’s water supply. Kingsborough Community College has faculty studying the biota of Jamaica Bay, and also has a marine facility and education program. Queens College is involved in the Riverkeeper’s “Swimmable Hudson” project, and has other faculty involved in aquatic biology, hydrology, the management of NY Harbor, and, notably, the environmental history of Jamaica Bay. York College has faculty studying trace metal distributions in Jamaica Bay’s watershed, and how climate change and pollutants affect the adaptation of fish. In the social sciences, the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities (CISC) seeks to study and promote sustainability practices throughout NYC. CISC’s Urban Sustainability Extension Service (USES) and The CityAtlas are the Institute’s initiatives to bring CUNY and Community partners together to develop neighborhood-scale sustainability initiatives. Existing Linkages: In numerous grants, CUNY, through its Senior and Community Colleges has maintained strong ties to the National Park Service, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, NYC Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, NYSER- DA, plus grants from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.
Columbia University Earth Institute (includes Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESINS), and Center for Environmental Research and Conservation [CERC), among others.)
Relevant Research: Researchers at LDEO concerned about the reduction of marsh area began a physical, chemical, geological, and biological study in 2000, with many components that have continued into recent years (see: “Integrated Reconnaissance of the Physical and Bio- geochemical Characteristics of Jamaica Bay.” Paleoecological perspective was explored with sediment cores from marshes. Microbial Ecology of the Hudson River Estuary project conducts water quality sampling of the Hudson River estuary, with partners from CUNY Queens College and Riverkeeper. The Center for Rivers and Estuaries studies various aspects of rivers and estuaries world. CIESIN has the Jamaica Bay Research and Management Information Network a growing community-driven knowledge base of past, present, and future activities in Jamaica Bay. Existing Linkages: The Earth Institute Outreach office raises awareness and educates the citizenry about Jamaica Bay and the impact of human activities on its long-term sustainability. The office works on improving coordination among existing groups involved in Jamaica Bay-related education activities.
Cornell University/Cooperative Extension
Relevant research: The Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology has worked on environmental stressors to coastal marine ecosystems for more than 30 years. The Department of Natural Resources uses population genetics to inform aquatic animal management and restoration, in coastal estuaries, including Jamaica Bay. Ongoing efforts include the Jamaica Bay Eelgrass Restoration Project, underway in three locations in the Bay. Cornell University’s Human Dimensions Research Unit utilizes applied social science research to inform community engagement in Jamaica Bay. Additionally, Cornell Cooperative Extension developed a community engagement toolkit designed for urban natural resources professionals and educators. Cornell’s Civic Ecology Lab has done extensive work linking resilience and education at the K-16 level. Cornell also houses the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC), one of six federal centers that disseminate climate data, data products and decision tools to regional stakeholders. Cornell Institute for Resource Information Sciences provides training for youth-led community mapping with a curriculum exploring landscape change over time. Existing Linkages: Partners include the Hudson River Foundation, that collaborated with Cornell and other institutions and agencies on “Target Ecosystem Characteristics” (2007) for the Hudson/Raritan Estuary. The restoration genomics project cooperates on the Oyster Restoration Research Project with 19 diverse agency and NGO partners including NY/NJ Baykeepers and citizens involved in oyster gardening programs. Others partners include the U.S. Forest Service, National Science Foundation, Ittleson Foundation and Hudson River Estuary Program, and Suffolk County’s Eelgrass Program. As part of its Extension Program, CCE NY Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) links Extension educators and emergency managers from across New York, to share resources to enhance resilience and reduce the impact of disasters. Locally Cornell Extension has linkages to the NYC Housing Authority, the USDA and EPA, NYS Dept of Health, faith-based networks and institutions, and community groups among others. Cornell partners with many NGOs, for example, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, NYC Audubon, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, American Littoral Society, and Jamaica Bay Guardian.
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Relevant Research: GISS is part of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, a world- leader in remote sensing observations, critical for climate analysis and for assessment of climate impacts on coastal areas, including ecosystems such as Jamaica Bay. The Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN), funded under NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program, serves stakeholder needs in assessing and managing risks from climate variability and change. It is the only RISA team with a principal focus on climate change adaptation in urban settings. CCRUN is designed to address the complex challenges associated with densely populated, highly interconnected urban areas, such as intense coastal development, urban heat island effects, air quality, settlement along inland waterways, overlapping institutional jurisdictions, integrated infra- structure systems, and fragile socio-economic communities. Existing Linkages: In addition to NOAA, GISS works with the Stevens Institute to integrate sea level rise and precipitation projections into storm surge modeling of Jamaica Bay and the broader region.
New York Sea Grant
New York Sea Grant (NYSG) is a statewide network of integrated coastal research, education, and extension that brings a number of important resources to the JBSRC. NYSG annually supports about $1M of important coastal research at New York Universities statewide, including nearly $500k for research involving Jamaica Bay in the last decade, and over $1.2M total in the New York City Metropolitan area during that time. (When matching funds are included these amounts approach $700k and $2M.) As a SUNY-Wide Institute and a component of Cornell Cooperative Ex- tension, New York Sea Grant is well-connected with New York State Agencies (DEC, DOS, ESDC, and Agriculture & Markets), Federal Agencies (NOAA, EPA, USACE, USGS, NPS, and USFWS), the National and State Estuary Programs around Long Island and New York City (Long Island Sound Study, Peconic Estuary Program, NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program, and the South Shore Estuary Program), as well as many other New York stakeholders. Finally, its extension program on Long Island and in the New York City Metropolitan area includes six staff members experienced in outreach and education in a variety of coastal issues important to Jamaica Bay (coastal processes and hazards, fisheries, storm water, and K-12 STEM education). NY Sea Grant was a major sponsor of two past research conferences on Jamaica Bay: Jamaica Bay’s Disappearing Marshes; March 3, 2004 at the New York Aquarium; in collaboration with the Aquarium and the Gateway National Recreation Area of the NPS (proceedings document compiled, edited, and designed by NYSG); and, State of the Bay: Past, Present, and Future—Revisited; October 20-21, 2011 at Brooklyn College; in collaboration with Brooklyn College (and AREAC), NYSG, the NPS, and the NYCDEC.
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), Stony Brook University
Relevant Research: Current activities of direct relevance to Jamaica Bay include studies on marine pollution and sewage treatment options, tidal wetland loss and the development of TMDL’s for the Forge River and Hempstead Bays. In recent years, SoMAS has developed targeted programs propelling the environmental recovery and restoration of stressed coastal systems in the region, e.g., the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program and the Great South Bay Ecosystem Study, as well as the susceptibility of New York City and the surrounding urban area to storm damage (Storm Surge Research Group). SoMAS possesses extensive scientific and technical facilities, equipment and instrumentation necessary to conduct field and laboratory research, as well as robust capabilities for information and data acquisition, storage and management, including access to the 100-teraflop IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. Existing Linkages: SoMAS has worked closely with international, federal, state and local governmental agencies on issues of common interest and concern. It is a member of the Marine Dis- ease Pathology and Research Consortium, along with NY Sea Grant and Cornell University, to understand disease in wild and cultured populations of marine animals in New York’s waters. SoMAS is the administrative center for the New York Marine Sciences Consortium. The Director of SoMAS’s Living Marine Resources Institute (LIMRI) serves as chairman of the NYS DEC’s Marine Resources Advisory Council. The Director of the Waste Reduction and Management Institute (WRMI) chairs the Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality and the Technical Advisory Committee of the EPA Long Island Sound Study. The School also has linkages with an assortment of non-governmental partners. SoMAS developed and conducted environmental education programs with the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, a local community development organization in the Stony Brook area. The Associate Director of SoMAS chairs The Nature Conservancy’s Bluepoints Bottomlands Council, charged with developing a management plan to restore hard clam populations and seagrass meadows on the Conservancy’s underwater lands in Great South Bay.
Stevens Institute of Technology
Relevant Research: Stevens researchers are already leaders in urban hydrology, urban waterfront design, and quantification of benefits as well as physical stresses on urban shorelines. Stevens has a history of providing ocean observations and forecasts for the region’s waterways, most visibly through our NYHOPS, but also as a major partner in HRECOS and more broadly MARACOOS (of IOOS). Stevens also is part of a large NOAA-RISA funded consortium studying climate related risks to NYC Current projects include “Sustainable shorelines along the Hudson River Estuary,” collaboration with NYS-DEC, funded by NOAA-NERRS, “The Hudson River Flood Hazard Decision Support System – Accurate Modeling of Flood Zones for Combined Sea Level Rise, Storm Surge, and Rain” funded by NSERDA, “Inundation Hazard Assessment for New York City from Hurricane Storm Surge, Rainfall, and Climate Change” funded by NASA/GISS, and “Building resilience to storm surges and sea level rise: A comparative study of coastal zones in New York City and Boston” funded by NOAA-COCA. Existing Linkages: In addition to the above projects, Stevens has links with NYC Parks and Recreation and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Wildlife Conservation Society and the New York Aquarium
Relevant Research: WCS scientists are undertaking historical studies of New York City’s natural communities through the Mannahatta and Welikia projects, and helping New Yorkers visualize their ecological future in Mannahatta2049. WCS’s New York Seascape program, based at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, is designed to restore healthy populations of threatened marine species and their habitats in the New York Bight. The Aquarium provides an unprecedented platform to educate more than 4 million visitors per year about the health and conservation needs of Jamaica Bay. Existing Linkages: The Aquarium has connections with Coastal America as an acclaimed Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center. WCS is working with NYC Parks Department Natural Resources Group, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, National Park Service, CUNY-Queens College, New York University, Stony Brook University, Columbia University, and Stevens Institute of Technology, and is part of the NY Oceans and Great Lakes Coalition. WCS is a partner, and serves an advisory role to New York City’s new Natural Areas Conservancy and their citywide ecological assessment.