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Restoring Jamaica Bay's Salt Marshes, Part I

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Uploaded on Nov 24, 2008

Besides the sand tha Army Corps of Engineers dropped off, spanning 90 acres at Elder's Point east, the subject of this film, Spartina is the other reason these salt marshes may remain for years and centuries as a home for the birds and fish and the people who love them. Spartina alterniflora grows to eight feet in late summer. It is the salt marsh grass that holds the marshlands together despite being submerged in salt water half the time. In the moonlight, fish spawn here and chase each-other. Heroically, it withstands salt water covering it up to 12 hours a day and its deep roots join each-others', so it helps weave together a fabric which helps protect mio tierra from hurricanes, absorbing high tide waters and their impact. We now lose more than 50 acres a year of these precious bio-rich marshlands. They clean our water and air. The Department of Environmental Protection - misnamed - returns the favor by dumping 300 million gallons of barely treated sewage into the waters of Jamaica Bay each day. Long Island and Cape Cod have Tertiary treatment to remove lots of the Nitrogen, and so should we! In the meantime, every 4 years or so the Army Corps throws us a beautiful bone and restores 70 or 90 aces, so far, twice. Here we meet the cast of characters who make it happen from the National Park Service's ecological restoration guru George Frame to truck driver and Cape May Agriculture Center employee James Butell who planted alot of it and trucks it up from Cape May. And we meet some of the birds who love their terra nova, and find out why it is so important to save Jamaica Bay, one of the dplanet's most important fish and bird breeding areas, from impending extinction. We CAN do it. Let's!

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