Prospect Park needs a real wildlife plan

for The Brooklyn Paper
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To the editor,

Brooklyn deserves a caring and compassionate response from the newly created Wildlife Management Advisory Committee (“Park officials: We’ll save geese this time,” online, Oct. 5) to the disturbing events that took place on July 8, not more smoke and mirrors.

Would the Prospect Park Alliance notice if the entire lake and its wildlife disappeared overnight?

The wildlife mismanagement of Prospect Park and its lake was never more evident than on July 8 when the park was turned into a slaughterhouse by federal authorities.

For five days the media as well as park visitors were told contradictory cover-up stories by different sources working in and for the park. When concerned park visitors inquired, “Where are the geese?” or “What happened to them?” there were a number of implausible responses.

One response was, all the geese flew to Jamaica Bay, including, the goslings born the previous week. (We were supposed to believe they had grown flight feathers overnight.)

Another response was that the geese were all still here, hiding from the heat.

Hiding from the heat? Hiding pretty deep — all dead and buried in a landfill.

Our air safety was not improved one bit by these killings. In fact, air safety had been enhanced by having resident Canada Geese at Prospect Park Lake. The killings destroyed decades of stability and have done harm to the balance naturally created.

The future protection of the wildlife and their habitat in a city park is at stake here. Wildlife is not an abstract.

The first item on the agenda for the newly created Wildlife Management Advisory Committee should be to correct the years of neglect to the wildlife habitat of Prospect Park.

The lake is being polluted year after year through the dumping of petroleum distillates, such as barbecue coals, and other debris into the watercourse. The evidence of erosion and disrepair of the lakeside is overwhelming to those who care for the environment. There is no plan to restore and clean the existing lake. The loss of acres of the watercourse due to the unsound ecological practices needs to be addressed. The overgrowth of phragmites has become pervasive and the failure to remedy this in a timely fashion is a bigger problem than what any wildlife can be blamed for. The infestation of mosquitoes this year lakeside, is in direct proportion to the numerous stagnant pools of filthy water and the drastic culling of the waterfowl.

The Prospect Park Alliance, Audubon Center, Parks Department and the city are using Canada Geese as scapegoats.

We want wildlife management that supports the protection of our urban wildlife, as well as the maintenance of their habitats in the parks in New York City.

Without this promise from those in charge, many are dreading the consequences of the continuing widespread abuse and neglect.

Anne-Katrin Titze, Sunset Park

The writer is a finalist for the Brooklyn Community Foundation “Do-Gooder” award and a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator.

‘Welcome’ back

To the editor,

What a surprise to read your paper and see a photo of the “Welcome to Brooklyn” sign (“ ‘Welcome Back’; Kotter sign found and restored,” Oct. 15).

There must be at least two of them around since I have the exact same one (well, the graffiti is a little different). Mine ended up in Pennsylvania after the old Brooklynite, who had it, moved and took it along with him.

A friend of mine saw it 10 years ago at a yard sale and called me up to see if I was interested. I was. It’s quite happy to be back in Brooklyn where it belongs after its banishment to the boondocks.

Brian Walls, Carroll Gardens

Nabe ‘a disgrace’

To the editor,

I moved from Park Slope to Sunset Park because I could not afford the high rents, and now find that I made a big mistake.

I find it a disgrace that people seem to speak only two languages here, Spanish and Chinese, so I communicate with few people due to the language barrier. If you want to live in America, it’s time to learn our language.

People in Sunset Park are also rude and inconsiderate. They walk on Fifth Avenue with their heads down, not looking where they are going. If I bumped into one of them I guess it would be my fault for me not getting out of their way.

The area is very dirty and litterbugs abound. I never encountered this in Park Slope where people are not slobby.

Stores here have misspelled signs in their windows. An amusing but not funny one was in a laundromat offering “dorp-off” service. It’s a disgrace.

Most of the space in the park on 56th Street and Sixth Avenue is taken up by Asians gambling or playing card games. This is obviously illegal, but nothing is done about it. I would say that half of the vendors along Fifth Avenue are illegally selling their wares but rarely is anything done. More disgrace.

Panhandlers rule the sidewalks. I have seen them enter restaurants and use the bathroom. The manager doesn’t seem to care that business is being siphoned away by people shamelessly begging in front of their establishments. Ninety-nine percent of shoppers in the supermarket present welfare cards, and most women have at least two children. It actually seems overpopulated here.

Maybe, I am spoiled because I come from Park Slope where things are different and people don’t act like this, or maybe I am wrong and Sunset Park is a great place to live, but I feel very out of place because I speak English, I pay with a debit card, I don’t throw garbage on the street and I am not rude. If I could move again, I would be gone in a minute.

It’s time for Sunset Park to get its act together.

Steve Yanowsky, Sunset Park

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Reasonable discourse

Colin from Windsor Terrace says:
The heading to your letters to the editor page could not be more appropriate:
"Prospect Park needs a real wildlife plan"
For years Prospect Park and the only lake in Brooklyn have suffered from a lack of care from those responsible.
That resident Canada Geese had to die at the hands of humans is a disgrace.
This disgrace should not be minimized, nor forgotten.
Oct. 29, 2010, 10:37 am
John from Park Slope says:
We do not want those who were in charge on July 8, 2010 involved in the process of formulating a wildlife plan for Prospect Park.
The total disregard in response from the Alliance for the actions taken on that day and immediately after it happened is inexcusable.
Ms Tupper Thomas' use of the word euthanasia to describe the killings is an ignorance and/or arrogance beyond belief. Maybe it is believable when one takes a walk around Prospect Park Lake.
The years of ignoring the obvious, the decaying conditions, severely taints her legacy.
Oct. 29, 2010, 11:14 am
Mark from Windsor Terrace says:
Who are the individuals on this Wildlife Management Advisory committee?
I do not like the use of the word management in the name of the committee. The Prospect Park Alliance needs to be managed more closely, not the wildlife of Prospect Park.
What happened to the so-called "Task Force" Tupper announced in July.
This advisory committee has the smell of a paper tiger insincerely put in place.
Oct. 29, 2010, 11:40 am
Karl from Park Slope says:
Prospect Park's trees and the lake have been harmed by Tupper Thomas' short-sighted barbecue anywhere and everywhere policy.
Oct. 29, 2010, 12:24 pm
Joan from Park Slope says:
The lake IS suffering from being used as a garbage dump. The birds who would find the lakeside trees prime habitat for nesting are smoked out by harmful fumes coming from ILLEGAL barbecuing being lighted right under the trees.
This is what you get Madame President when you close your eyes to abuses.
Oct. 29, 2010, 1:04 pm
ASteinberg from Brooklyn says:
Let's also not forget the discarded fishing wire that has severely and painfully crippled numerous swans, geese and ducks in the park - and nothing is done to address this terrible situation. Those birds are suffering tremendously and park rangers do NOTHING to help. Not only should fishing not be allowed where the birds congregate, but stupid people play catch and release with the fish - except that they keep them out of the water far too long showing them around and taking pictures of them, and by the time they finally put the poor fish back in the water, it's dead. People need to be taught to respect nature, not desecrate it, and for that to happen, there needs to be educational outreach and a clear and interested presence by the park officials and rangers. A LOT more needs to be done.

There is even mention of allowing more off-leash areas for dogs, which would be very dangerous for the birds.
Frankly, the park needs far better management by people who care about the animal inhabitants. In my opinion, there should be private interested citizens on the committee to make sure nothing undercover ever happens again, and to ensure that the park is better managed going forward.
Oct. 29, 2010, 5:09 pm
Ron from Kensington says:
The comments above are addressing the failures of the Prospect Park Alliance. Tupper Thomas has been unable to maintain and protect the environment that this organization was mandated to do when it was formed.
She does not speak out against the abuses and the lack of resources. She is a well paid apologist for those who time and time again are out of touch with the realities of the park.
Oct. 30, 2010, 7:33 am
Patrick from Park Slope says:
Mayor Bloomberg please take note:
The out of control barbecuing in Prospect Park thanks to Tupper Thomas is a far bigger health risk for park visitors and the environment.
No enforcement of even the most basic common sense rules takes place because she does not want to do the hard work necessary to keep our park safe and clean.
Oct. 30, 2010, 9:17 am
Carole from Windsor Terrace says:
We who come to Prospect Park to enjoy a break from the streets are disappointed to find our park in serious decline.
It is a reflection on the Alliance's inability to address the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor.
There is a feeling of dread already about the future health of the landscape.
Oct. 30, 2010, 9:35 am
Nancy from Prospect Heights says:
The disconnect from those in charge with maintaining Prospect Park and those who come to enjoy it is growing.
That says a great deal about the lack of leadership.
The meadows' trees have become damaged and there is no preventive maintenance. It is true, the lakeside is suffering from no plan to care for the trees. The roots are exposed and the carelessly placed mulch this spring has of course washed into the lake.
Oct. 30, 2010, 10:05 am
Rob from Park Slope says:
The stonework around the lake is a big mess and there are trip hazards for my children to fall over because of the erosion. There doesn't seem to be any concern for improving the conditions. It's only going to get worse. Thanks for publishing this letter and showcasing our worries, too.
Oct. 30, 2010, 12:53 pm
Bonita from PLG says:
We need people who really care about the park and the ecology to be part of this Wildlife management committee. Anne Titze's passion for local wildlife management and wellbeing has global implications.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:58 pm
Mary Beth from Windsor Terrace says:
Just last week I saw a man dumping charcoal from his grill into the lake, just feet away from the ducks and new geese that are inhabiting the lake area.
The barbecuing is OUT OF CONTROL and needs regulation. The fact that they allow barbecuing anywhere in the park now is just incredibly dangerous on so many levels. This never used to be.

I am sick and tired of having to watch wildlife trapse around garbage both on the ground and in the water. It is heartbreaking to see waterfowl swimming amongst plastic bags, bottle caps, syringes, kitchen sinks, etc.

This wildlife committee HAS to include local residents who have been and continue to be the eyes and ears of the park and who actually care.
Nov. 1, 2010, 9:11 am
Jane from Windsor Terrace says:
People used to make excuses for the declining conditions around the park.
Not any more. It has reached a level of unbearable proportions. The Alliance hirings riding around in "golf carts" as if they are at a country club.
The lakeside is not part of a PGA golf course water hazard.
It is a water hazard to the waterfowl who reside there and the birds who come through the fumes of all the lakeside barbecues and leave the park.
Nov. 1, 2010, 9:27 am
Jen Jie from South Slope says:
The shameful slaughter of wildlife at the park this summer will never be forgotten. We need a plan to protect the migratory and resident wildlife in Prospect Park NOW.
Nov. 1, 2010, 9:34 am
Lawrence from Prospect Heights says:
A MAJOR URBAN PARK being run by a minor league operation. No wonder they want to hide from the public the current state of affairs at Prospect Park.
Disrepair and no accountability.
Nov. 1, 2010, 10:24 am
Patricia from Park Slope says:
The decaying of Prospect Park Lake could only be possible if those in charge do not care for the wildlife that inhabits the park.
This is a betrayal of the public trust.
Nov. 1, 2010, 11:17 am
Jennifer from Windsor Terrace says:
It is clear the lake environment has been left behind. It all makes sense when you remember Audubon Center director Glenn Phillips was quoted this year saying Prospect Park Lake is in very good condition.
Come on now!
Nov. 2, 2010, 9:39 am
Hank from Park Slope says:
The hard work is left undone year after year. The resident Canada Geese end up dead and nobody voices his or her outrage who works in Prospect Park.
This sums it up
Nov. 2, 2010, 11:16 am
OhioOrrin from Wburg says:
canadian geese are an invasive species that foul n destroy habitat essential for native species. since they have NO natural predator, their pop. will continue to enlarge until local foodstocks are entirely consumed.
Jan. 7, 2011, 10:33 am

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