Encounters with Nature

The salt marsh is a birdwatcher's paradise. Ducks, geese, cormorants, sandpipers, herons, egrets, red-winged blackbirds, and marsh hawks are just a few of the birds that can be seen here. But Brooklyn's salt marsh isn't just important for birdwatchers. Did you know that several important species of sport fish, as well as shrimp and crabs, use the marsh as a nursery before venturing into open waters as adults? That means that the fishing industry is partly dependent upon a healthy salt marsh. The role of our salt marsh is even more crucial because more than 75 % of the original salt marsh in Jamaica Bay has been destroyed, much of it between 1950 and the mid-1970's. Most of that destruction was due to filling of marshes to create more land area for homes and industry. Marine Park's salt marsh, formerly a wasteland filled with trash and abandoned cars, has been restored to its natural condition-- proof that a rare and fragile ecosystem can safely exist even when it borders a heavily urban area like Brooklyn.