2008-07-17 / Other News

Wading In Gerritsen Creek Is A Net Gain

By Dara Mormile

Clockwise from top:  Park rangers supply participants with hip waders and fishing nets; rangers demonstrate how to use a seine (a large fishing net) to catch fish; children and adults are ready to discover what lurks in Gerritsen Creek; specimens are brought out from the water and closely examined.
Clockwise from top: Park rangers supply participants with hip waders and fishing nets; rangers demonstrate how to use a seine (a large fishing net) to catch fish; children and adults are ready to discover what lurks in Gerritsen Creek; specimens are brought out from the water and closely examined. With fishing nets in hand, anxious visitors came to Marine Park's Salt Marsh Nature Center on Sunday to explore what lurks in the waters of Gerritsen Creek. The event promoted an appreciation for wildlife, as well as the history of the site.

Participants were supplied with hip-waders (waterproof overalls) and nets and followed park rangers into the creek to catch silverside fish, ribbed muscles, oyster toadfish and fiddler crabs. While there is a large population of horseshoe crabs that inhabit the creek, catching them was not encouraged.

"They're tails are very sharp and sensitive," visitors were warned.

Park rangers explained how the salt marsh ecosystem serves as a kidney for the ocean, in that it filters out pollutants. Spartina is one species of grass found along the creek which assists in the filtering process by removing salt from the water.

Photos by Dara Mormile
Photos by Dara Mormile The salt marsh is brackish water, a combination of fresh water and salt water, that also acts like a nursery for various plants and animals.

Marine Park is comprised of 798 acres of salt marshes and uplands that flank Gerritsen Creek, the westernmost inlet of Jamaica Bay.

For more information on other events going on at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center, at Avenue U and Burnett Street, call 311 or log on to www.nyc.gov/parks/rangers.


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