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.
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 of Flushing 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.