Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Portion Of Willow Lake Finally Being Restored


Fourteen of Willow Lake's 106 acres in Flushing Meadows Corona Park are being restored. The project began in Spring 2009, and includes the removal of phragmites and other invasive plants, amending soil, and planting almost 13,000 native trees, shrubs and wildflowers to improve biodiversity, hydrology, and ecosystem function around the lake., according to the Parks Department. Willow and nearby Meadow lakes are, collectively, the largest fresh water bodies in Queens.

Willow Lake was designed as a natural refuge but the Parks Department has abandoned - like most of it's natural areas - the maintenance which has resulted in the vast majority being over taken by invasive species. As a result the public has been prevented from utilizing this valuable resource,  invasive species has greatly lessened the bio-diversity of the area. 

The gates to a major section of the lake have been embarrassingly closed for years. New decorative gates adjacent to Mauro Playground at , Park Drive East and 73rd Terrace, were recently installed at a cost of $ 385,000. The Willow Lake Reforestation project is being done in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2011.  - Geoffrey Croft

WILLOW LAKE Preserve is about to get a little more wild.

The city is reforesting part of the area around the smaller of the two lakes in the southern end oFlushing Meadows-Corona Park. The move is expected to attract more birds, butterflies and other critters to the 106-acre site, according to the New York Daily News. 

Officials are hoping it will also attract more visitors to organized nature walks in the area. The next one is on Saturday.

About 14 acres will be cleared of invasive plants to make way for trees, shrubs and wildflowers, city officials said. The planting will occur next year.

Mike Feller, chief naturalist for the Parks Department's Natural Resources Group, said he has already seen signs of success.

"Spotted sandpipers have now shown interest in the site and are breeding there," said Feller, who is overseeing the project.

The resident muskrats are still there and the butterfly population will become more diverse, he said.

Willow Lake was one of two man-made lakes built for the 1939-40 World's Fair in the park.

It's larger sibling, Meadow Lake, has been used for boating and other activities. Willow Lake has remained a passive recreation area.

Read More:

Nature's course at Willow Lake
New York Daily News -  By Lisa L. CoAngelo - September 21, 2010

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