Letters and reaction to the Turtle Cove Editorial........

The Turtle Cove area is the center of Pelham Bay Park - seen by everyone who drives, bikes or walks through the park. The recent construction transformed an area that looked fine - into an eyesore. Whose idea was it to put a two lane highway through the middle of a salt (brackish) marsh? Worse, the Parks Department people including the Park Administrator and Borough Chief were asleep at the wheel. Did they not review the plans for this site? Did they not have any input on how the final project would look? They should be ashamed at the results of "their" restoration project - because no input/advice from the public, particularly people familiar with the park, was ever asked.


If increased access to the area was the goal - it could have been achieved without the giant road construction. The Parks Dept. promotes the public's use of the park - we all understand that. However, it is also charged with protecting the animal and plant species found in the park - its biological resources. This "project" does a mediocre job of allowing public access - while at the same time causing the loss of biodiversity from the very center of the park. Gone will be the breeding Clapper Rails, March Wrens and Yellow Warblers that were residents in that area. The Parks Dept. people who approved this project should be ashamed at the loss of bird species in that area. What did we get in return that could not have been achieved with a scaled down path?


Speaking as a biologist with about 30 years experience working in and studying that park (I did my PhD research in Pelham Bay Park!), I am deeply disappointed by the lack of planning and oversight by Parks Officials. We can have public access without destroying the species that compose the park. Whatever happened to the the signs in the park that read "Forever Wild?" I suppose they will be replaced by signs touting this "restoration" with the usual names of the Parks Commissioner, Park Administrator and even Borough Commissioner. The sign will read how little money was spent and what Turtle Cove will look like in years to come. It will not show what was lost - nor explain why a "restoration" destroyed bird and plant species - and made the Turtle Cove area into an eyesore. Yes, let us all praise the famous men and women who failed in their responsibility to the public.


As I have watched restorations in Pelham Bay Park through the years, they are marked by a thorough lack of planning...for example, did anyone do a species inventory in this area before the work was considered? Why was the original work, including the cutting of trees with Yellow Warbler nests, done during the breeding season? I expect that left to its own devices the Parks department will have a wonderful park - but lose many of the very species that compose the park - kinda like walking into a museum that has no artwork. But that's ok because the Parks Department knows what is best for people and the park - no public input needed.


Robert DeCandido PhD

The Bronx


(Editor’s note: Dr.DeCandido aka Birding Bob has published several journal articles and leads walks in Central Park.)

Hi Jack,

Thanks for posting the letter about changes at Turtle Cove on your web site. Apparently it's more important to make things look pretty than it is to preserve habitat for Marsh Wrens, Willow Flycatchers, and other birds. I'd rather get bitten by a mosquito or two and walk through a bit of poison ivy to see the birds, if it means they'll have a little patch of weeds to nest in. Widening the path and removing the berm is not in the best interest of wildlife.  I'm sure the birds aren't happy with the change, and I'm not happy either.

Yours,

Deb

(Editor’s note: Debra Allen is a widely published bird and wildlife photographer.)

Jack,

Thanks for the heads up.  Yesterday, while riding the bus to Pelham Bay I observed for the first

time what appears to be a "parking lot" at Turtle Cove.  What a blow.  Only those of us who have

lived with the beauty of the park for years can appreciate the void that now exists.  It's truly painful. 

Thank you for taking your time to address the issue.

Doesn't anybody care? 

Be well,

Terry Stanton

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j,


that's really too bad. that was an awesome spot you took us to. that's progress i suppose. i'm looking forward to owl walks.


best,

d

(Dennis Hrehowsik)

Turtle Cove Editorial

After reading the article in the Island Current about the Turtle Cove “renovation,” I sent the following letter to the newspaper. I don’t know if they will print it.


To The Editor, 

I read your article, Moving Forward in Pelham Bay Park, ( Nov., 2010,) with great interest. I am particularly concerned with the changes at Turtle Cove.


I surmise from your writing that most of the changes will make Turtle Cove more aesthetically appealing and create convenience and accessibility for humans. However, I fear it will it be at the expense of the wildlife that have thrived there. I have spent hundreds of hours in Turtle Cove, observing and photographing birds, so I am particularly concerned about the changes that are being done.

  

Many avian species depend on the brackish water in the cove that is unaffected by the tide. Once construction is completed, all of this water will drain with the tide. Without brackish water, many species like the spectacular Wood Duck may never return to that spot.

   

The now destroyed berm was host to many nesting species. Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Willow Flycatchers, Song Sparrows and many other avian species used the foliage on that berm as a nesting area. Killdeer, Marsh Wrens and Clapper Rails nested alongside the berm for as long as I can remember. As everyone knows, the area is a migratory stopover for Great and Snowy Egrets, Great-blue and Green Herons and Black-crowned Night Herons, to name a few species.


For a birdwatcher like myself, Turtle Cove was always a little piece of heaven in the Bronx.


I am astounded to see how a tiny meandering two-foot wide path transformed into one that appears to be twenty-feet wide. The berm is gone, the foliage is gone, and all I see is a flat wide area that looks like a two lane highway. Soon, a bridge will be installed. I read in your article that it will accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles.


So now an area that was always home to wildlife will become a thoroughfare for bicycles and pedestrian traffic. This will surely bring more refuse, noise and dogs. Not a good thing for wildlife. When construction is finished, and all is said and done, the area will definitely look better to us humans. I know that an incredibly rich and vibrant ecosystem and a fabulous birdwatching area, that was supposed to be “Forever Wild,”  will be “Forever Lost.”

Turtle Cove Editorial

After reading the article in the Island Current about the Turtle Cove “renovation,” I sent the following letter to the newspaper.


To The Editor, 

I read your article, Moving Forward in Pelham Bay Park, ( Nov., 2010,) with great interest. I am particularly concerned with the changes at Turtle Cove.


I surmise from your writing that most of the changes will make Turtle Cove more aesthetically appealing and create convenience and accessibility for humans. However, I fear it will it be at the expense of the wildlife that have thrived there. I have spent hundreds of hours in Turtle Cove, observing and photographing birds, so I am particularly concerned about the changes that are being done.

  

Many avian species depend on the brackish water in the cove that is unaffected by the tide. Once construction is completed, all of this water will drain with the tide. Without brackish water, many species like the spectacular Wood Duck may never return to that spot.

   

The now destroyed berm was host to many nesting species. Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Willow Flycatchers, Song Sparrows and many other avian species used the foliage on that berm as a nesting area. Killdeer, Marsh Wrens and Clapper Rails nested alongside the berm for as long as I can remember. As everyone knows, the area is a migratory stopover for Great and Snowy Egrets, Great-blue and Green Herons and Black-crowned Night Herons, to name a few species.


For a birdwatcher like myself, Turtle Cove was always a little piece of heaven in the Bronx.


I am astounded to see how a tiny meandering two-foot wide path transformed into one that appears to be twenty-feet wide. The berm is gone, the foliage is gone, and all I see is a flat wide area that looks like a two lane highway. Soon, a bridge will be installed. I read in your article that it will accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles.


So now an area that was always home to wildlife will become a thoroughfare for bicycles and pedestrian traffic. This will surely bring more refuse, noise and dogs. Not a good thing for wildlife. When construction is finished, and all is said and done, the area will definitely look better to us humans. I know that an incredibly rich and vibrant ecosystem and a fabulous birdwatching area, that was supposed to be “Forever Wild,”  will be “Forever Lost.”