Friday, February 3, 2012

Trees Being Dumped Into Lake In Prospect Park

A popular lake at Brooklyn's Prospect Park has quietly become a dumping ground for thousands of rotted branches, boughs and trunks of diseased and dead trees. After a rash of negative publicity the Parks Department finally went in and began clearing out decades of dead, dying and deceased trees. Prospect Park activists Ed Bahlman and Anne-Katrin Titze have been sounding the alarm.

"If you are in the Park this week, you may see a large team of New York City Parks Department and Prospect Park Alliance staff clearing away fallen trees and branches and taking down some trees that are aging or damaged. It is part of a Parks Department initiative called “5 x 5”, which is short for “Five Boroughs for Five Days.” (Photo: Gregory P. Mango)


A popular lake at Brooklyn's Prospect Park has quietly become a dumping ground for thousands of rotted branches, boughs and trunks of diseased and dead trees, according to the New York Post.

A Post reporter touring the 60-acre freshwater lake’s perimeter yesterday saw what seemed to be an endless trail of freshly cut tree debris sunken along its shore at the park’s southern and eastern end.

Park activists Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman, who monitor the lake by walking along it at least three times a week, said it began dramatically filling up with tree scraps over the past month as city forestry workers started uprooting and trimming many of dozens of diseased lakeside trees that park advocates told the Post in August were in danger of falling.

“It looks like a disaster area. They came and ripped the trees out as fast as they could without caring if the debris landed in the lake,” said Bahlman, who, along with Titze, witnessed some of the sloppy work firsthand.

Some of the uprooted trees were so hollow from disease that they were previously used by squatters as Keebler Elves-style tree houses.

Paul Nelson, a Prospect Park Alliance spokesman, defended the workers saying the tree debris splashed into the lake “accidently” during the pruning and uprooting process and “wasn’t intentionally dumped.”

He added that removing the pieces could be troublesome because the lake’s floor is muddy and unstable and that the Alliance doesn’t consider this a problem because “having trees in the lake can be good for its ecosystem” by providing shelter and nutrients for fish, frogs and other lake inhabitants.

However, Titze, a state-licensed wildlife rehabilitator, and other environmentalists say too much tree dumping could threaten aquatic life in a lake.

Jim Mahoney of Windsor Terrace, who was fishing lakeside Wednesday, said he wished someone would clean up the mess so his line wouldn't get caught on the debris.

“I’ve been fishing here 30 years, and I have never seen it this bad,” he said.

Much of the lakeside trees’ poor health has been attributed to a longstanding problem of barbecuers illegally dumping coal remnants nearby. Besides covering much of the soil in coal, some picnickers last summer were even barbecuing inside the hallow trunks.

Read More:

New York Post - February 3, 2012 - By Rich Calder

WPIX - January 2012 - By Hilary Whittier

1 comment:

  1. Of course, sometimes snags in the water are a good thing. A basking place for turtles. A resting place for ducks. Shelter for young fish below. Sure hope that fisherman takes all his line home, otherwise it's a lot worse for the animals than some trees in the water.