Tags: wildlife

Snowy Owl Sighted at Freshkills!

The snowy owl, a bird made increasingly famous by its role as Hedwig in the Harry Potter movies, was spotted at Freshkills Park last week. As its name suggests, the bird can be recognized by its snowy white color, though they have varied amounts of black and brown markings on their wings and chest.

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Gowanus Canal Cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its cleanup plan for Gowanus Canal. The Brooklyn Canal, bound by Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, was declared a Superfund site in 2010 and communities have long been pushing for its cleanup.

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Bird Breeding at Freshkills

Last week several members of the Freshkills team assisted Dr. Mark Hauber, a professor of Psychology at Hunter College, in checking bird nestboxes in the park. Dr. Hauber is gathering data on the bird populations and breeding success at Freshkills Park, a site which has acted as a stopover for bird species along the Atlantic Migratory Flyway since the closure of the landfill.

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Co-existing with Coyotes

As habitat is restored in Freshkills Park, many animal species have already returned to the site, including foxes, turtles, egrets, rabbits, deer, and, as of recently, a coyote. In fact, coyotes are becoming increasingly prevalent in urbanized areas across the U.S., leading to conflicts over how to handle these wild animals when they come into contact with humans.

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The impact of domestic cats on urban wildlife

Have you ever wondered what kind of mischief a pet cat could get into at Freshkills Park? Given that household cats are non-native predators in the urban environment, one might wonder what impact, if any, the intrepid felines of Staten Island will have on the native wildlife that make their home in the restored habitats of Freshkills Park.

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Adios Goats!

Freshkills Park bids a fond farewell to the herd of goats who have spent the past few weeks “mowing” the invasive phragmites at the North Park Wetlands Restoration Site. This quirky group of goats, with names like Mozart, Haydyn and Van Goat, not only did a fantastic job of removing the vegetation from the site, but also seemed to thoroughly enjoy their pleasant surroundings at Freshkills Park.

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A Baby Goat Joins the Herd at Freshkills Park

A few days ago, an adorable baby goat joined the herd that’s spending the summer at Freshkills Park. The small kid spent her first few days of life enjoying a restful and shady corner of the park surrounded by tall grasses, before, as their devoted herder Larry Cihanek had planned, she and her mom were taken back to their farm in Rhinebeck, N.Y.

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‘Mussel Raft’ aides water filtration

An interesting experiment in water pollution management is taking place in the Bronx River estuary near Hunts Point in New York City. Scientists are testing the use of a ‘Mussel Raft’ for addressing nitrogen pollution from treated sewage that ends up in the water from a nearby treatment facility.

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More photos of Freshkills Park’s newest residents!

Be sure to check out our Facebook and Flickr pages for tons more photos of the goats in action. Our newest residents, with names such as Mozart, Haydn and Van Goat, seem to already be enjoying life (and lunch) at Freshkills Park!

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Wetland restoration on former landfill (with a little help from goats!)

With the support of a New York State Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant, the Department of Parks & Recreation is undertaking restoration of two acres of wetland habitat along Main Creek within Freshkills Park that will include goat grazing as a method of invasive plant control.

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Checking in with New Wildlife at Freshkills Park

Last Friday, a few members of the Freshkills Park team headed out to South Park to check on the bird nestboxes that were set up there last August by Dr. Mark Hauber, a Professor of Psychology at Hunter College. Dr.

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Wildlife refuges increase home property values

In addition to the ecological benefits of wildlife refuges, a new study from North Carolina State University for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illustrates the community economic benefits. Researchers found that proximity to a wildlife refuge increases metro-area home value, with the Southeast showing the biggest property value increase (7 to 9% higher), followed by metro-area homes in the Northeast (4 to 5% higher).

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City outlines strategy to protect and create wetlands

Mayor Bloomberg and several City of New York agencies recently released The Wetland Strategy report, which outlines plans to protect and improve city waterways. The report contains strategies to address goals in PlaNYC 2030. Among the 12 initiatives are plans to:

  • invest $48 million in projects that restore and enhance nearly 127 acres of wetlands and neighboring areas,
  • add 75 acres of wetland to the New York City Parks system,
  • create the natural areas conservancy to encourage a public-private partnership for wetlands management,
  • create a wetlands mitigation banking or in-lieu fee mechanism for public projects.
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Coyote spotted at the park

New wildlife sighting! A coyote was spotted earlier this month at the Freshkills Park site by Nick Mirto, who was delivering a truckload of soil to finish capping Section 1/9, the future West Park. The photo above is courtesy Mr. Mirto’s iPhone.

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Eel populations return to Staten Island

Eel populations are making a comeback in the metropolitan region and along the eastern seaboard.  After years of rehabilitation of the area’s waterways, eel populations are showing signs of a resurgence in Staten Island.

Joining the work of the American Eel Research Project, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has set up a testing site in Staten Island’s Richmond Creek, one of the improved waterways.

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Next Freshkills Birding Tour: Sunday, January 22

Join us for our first tour of 2012 as we search for the birds of Freshkills Park along the site’s wetlands, creeks and meadows. This tour, like all of our bi-monthly birding tours, will be held jointly by naturalists from the Staten Island Museum and a member of the Freshkills Park development team.

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Bird-watching as citizen science

The WildLab is an iPhone app that allows bird-watching citizens and students to contribute to research about bird populations and distributions. The app helps institutions like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology develop mobile strategies for citizen science initiatives, engaging learners with curricula and projects that contribute to scientific research.

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New York, new bees

Four new species of bees have been identified in New York State. Among them is  Lasioglossum gotham, discovered at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, as small as a grain of rice. It burrows its home underground. The species was distinguished  from other tiny look-alikes through DNA bar coding and digital imaging.

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NYC parks are good resources for migrating birds

A recent study by scientists at the Wildlife Conservation Society has found that urban parks are comparable stopover landscapes to non-urban sites in providing refueling grounds for migrating birds. Researchers examined migrant stopover biology in Prospect Park, Inwood Park and Bronx Park to better understand how birds use city parks during migration.

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Study examines wildlife-friendly biofuel crops

A two-year study at Michigan State University finds that growing native prairie grasses for biofuel harvesting is more beneficial to wildlife populations than monoculture stands of corn. The research team, headed by biologist Bruce Robertson, attempted to identify ecologically sound biofuel alternatives that are as cost-effective as corn, which is currently the primary feedstock for deriving ethanol in the US.

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