Today’s news:

$8M war on weeds

The Army Corps of Engineers will be taking aim shortly at very specialized trespassers in a portion of southern Brooklyn, the invasive phragmites plants that have taken over portions of the Salt Marsh area of Marine Park.

Thus, early in December, ACE will begin the year-long, $8 million Gerritsen Creek Marine Park ecosystem restoration project, being done in partnership with the city’s Department of Parks & Recreation, that is aimed at eradicating the invasive plants and replacing them with a variety of coastal grasses “that would be native to the area,” explained Dan Falt, project manager for ACE’s New York District.

“We are working to restore the habitat,” stressed Falt, who said the project would encompass 67 acres adjacent to the nature center on the north side of Gerritsen Creek. In total, he went on, “We will be creating approximately 32 acres of marsh and 25 acres of coastal grassland.”

The entire project, Falt went on, will take approximately one year, with construction beginning early this month. The first step is grading, which, said Falt, will take place over the winter, with planting occurring in the spring, “So people will be able to see big changes rather quickly.”

As a result of the project, he added, “The nature trail will be closed to the public for the construction duration.”

However, once the project is complete, “There will be additional trail area,” and visitors will “be able to see a lot more, because the really tall phragmites will be gone,” Falt said.

Besides revamping the vegetation growing in the area, ACE will also be putting in what Falt called “features,” such as poles for osprey, in hope of attracting the birds to the area.

All in all, Falt said, “The aquatic marshland will be an excellent bird and aquatic habitat. Anything that would come to Jamaica Bay,” he added, “will hopefully be a happy camper here.”

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