Marsh planting © Courtesy of Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy
New York City is known for its bustling urban landscape, but many people are surprised to learn that the city is also home to an unparalleled oasis of nature—Jamaica Bay. Covering 26 square miles, Jamaica Bay is the city’s largest open space in the very backyard of millions of New Yorkers. More than 10,000 acres of public parklands and beaches surround the Bay and Rockaway Peninsula, offering a haven for hundreds of species of plants and animals and providing recreational opportunities for locals and visitors alike.
Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) was formed to ensure that these natural, recreational, historical, and cultural resources are preserved for generations to come. JBRPC is a public-private partnership dedicated to improving public parklands throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway Peninsula. One of the key focuses of JBRPC is building ecological resilience and reducing vulnerability for the entire Jamaica Bay community.
Although the area boasts abundant natural resources, the frontline communities here regularly face issues such as persistent flooding and erosion, inadequate air quality, insufficient employment opportunities and access to stable jobs, limited transportation choices, and a lack of waterfront and open spaces for recreational activities and health benefits. During Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the neighborhoods around Jamaica Bay suffered significant damage. For these communities, economic and environmental resilience is an important goal.
JBRPC brings together communities, government entities, and all New Yorkers to support Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Parks. Uniting a unique ecosystem larger than Manhattan, JBRPC works with governmental agencies, elected officials, non-profit organizations, the business community, and the public to improve public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula. Through partnerships, JBRPC brings everyone together, connecting the areas of education, public engagement, stewardship and volunteerism, and physical park improvements along a continuum. Rather than being separate programs, these areas are all connected, emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated approach to parkland preservation
In its first decade, JBRPC has removed more than 30 tons of trash and debris from shorelines and parks, planted more than 70,000 native plants, hosted more than 60,000 people at public art events, and welcomed more than 6,000 students into our education programs.
The positive benefits of JBRPC’s work are widespread. Habitat creation and restoration, for example, provide crucial spawning and nursery habitats for over 80 migratory and estuarine fish species, more than 300 bird species, several turtle species, and the living fossil Horseshoe Crabs. This work also supports the comeback of raptors like the osprey and bald eagle, and the return of harbor seals, which are now breeding on Jamaica Bay’s marsh islands. The Bay is also home to the largest terrapin population in New York.
In addition to its ecological work, JBRPC’s programs create opportunities for public access and recreation in these
Whether through donations, volunteering, or attending events, supporting JBRPC’s efforts will help preserve the natural, recreational, historical, and cultural resources in parklands throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways for generations to come.
- Learn to kayak, surf, or stand-up paddleboard
- Go fishing at Canarsie Pier
- Bike the Jamaica Bay Greenway
- Explore the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
- Discover aviation history at Floyd Bennett Field
Visit jbrpc.org to support the tides of change!
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) is a public-private partnership established in 2013 that is dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula for local residents and visitors alike.