The Jamaica Bay Guardian is the American Littoral Society's eyes and ears on the waters of Jamaica Bay. In the person of Don Riepe, the Guardian provides a voice for the Bay and the wildlife and people that live, work, and play in its waters, mudflats, beaches, and marshes. Established in 2002 with funding from a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation pollution penalty, the Jamaica Bay Guardian Program focuses on education, community engagement, advocacy and restoration.
Jamaica Bay is the jewel in the crown of New York City’s ecological resources with more than 13,000 acres of water, salt marsh, meadowland, beaches, dunes, and upland buffer woodlands. Despite being surrounded by commercial, industrial, and residential developments in Brooklyn and Queens, Jamaica Bay’s waters, upland salt marshes, and islands provide valuable habitat, migratory and breeding grounds for 330 bird species and 107 species of finfish, along with recreational opportunties for residents.
The tidal salt marshes of Jamaica Bay are disappearing at an alarming rate, some estimate as many as 40 acres per year. Until science isolates the cause or causes, stricter regulations and focused restoration and debris removal programs have been recommended by federal, state and local officials, environmental groups, and the public. The work of the Jamaica Bay Guardian supports and acts on these recommendations.