Jamaica Bay

Jamaica Bay is a shallow bar-built embayment that connects with Lower New York Bay to the west through Rockaway Inlet. Jamaica Bay contains approximately 16,000 acres of surface waters and 3,000 acres of islands and marshes. The mean depth of the Bay is approximately 13 feet, with maximum depths reaching 30 to 50 feet in navigation channels and sand borrow pit areas. Jamaica Bay lies at the southwestern tip of Long Island and is located primarily within the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. A relatively small portion of the Bay is located in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County, New York. This portion of the Bay and its watershed located in Nassau County is outside the jurisdiction of the DEP, the need for any controls on pollutant sources for that area are not addressed herein.

Jamaica Bay serves as an important ecological resource for populations of flora and fauna. The Bay has evolved over the last 25,000 years as a complex network of open water, salt marsh, grasslands, coastal woodlands, maritime shrublands, and brackish and freshwater wetland communities. The wildlife use of these systems is commensurate with this complex network of natural systems. These varied natural communities support 91 species of fish, 325 bird species and provide important habitat for many species of reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals. The Bay is a critical stopover area along the Eastern Flyway avian migration route. Jamaica Bay also provides numerous recreational opportunities such as fishing, boating, bird watching, bicycling, walking, and picnicking.

Get Involved

If you'd like more information about initiatives that involve this waterway and others, please contact ltcp@dep.nyc.gov or visit NYC Waterways.

Long Term Control Plan

For thousands of years, Jamaica Bay has served as an important ecological resource for flora and fauna. The Bay has evolved over the last 25,000 years as an important and complex network of open water, salt marsh, grasslands, coastal woodlands, maritime shrublands, brackish and freshwater wetlands. Jamaica Bay, one of the largest coastal wetland ecosystems in New York State, is a component of the National Park Service’s (NPS) Gateway National Recreation Area (GNRA). The approximately 20,000 acres of water, islands, marshes, and shorelines support seasonal or year round populations of 214 species of special concern, including state and federally endangered and threatened species. Because of its geographic size and very diverse functioning natural habitats, it is no surprise that Jamaica Bay is a nationally and internationally renowned New York City location. Beginning in the 1800s, rapid urbanization and development resulted in Jamaica Bay consisting of six urban tributaries with many water quality challenges. Efforts to address water quality in Jamaica Bay date back to the 1960s, when New York City was constructing Waste Water Treatment Plants to treat sewage and industrial wastes during dry weather and to capture a portion of the combined sewage generated during wet weather.

DEP is developing a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to better understand CSO impacts on water quality within Jamaica Bay. Throughout the LTCP’s development the City collects water quality data, performs extensive modeling, holds multiple public meeting and analyzes potential projects based on costs and anticipated water quality.  To learn more about the Jamaica Bay LTCP and other improvement projects, download the factsheet.

Jamaica Bay CSO Correspondence

Public Meetings

Jamaica Bay Alternatives and Recommended Plan Meeting

April 18, 2018 – Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center, Queens

DEP’s Recommended Plan can be reviewed in this presentation. The comment deadline has been extended to May 18, 2018 and comments should be submitted to ltcp@dep.nyc.gov.

Jamaica Bay LTCP Update Meeting

October 19, 2017 – Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center, Queens

The Jamaica Bay LTCP was originally due to DEC in June 2017. DEP requested and DEC approved a one-year extension for the Jamaica Bay LTCP to June 2018 so that DEP could coordinate with other ongoing projects. On October 19th DEP presented an update on those ongoing projects.

Jamaica Bay Kickoff Meeting

September 22, 2016 – Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Queens

Waterbody/Watershed Facility Plan

Jamaica Bay Feasibility Study

DEP conducted a Jamaica Bay Feasibility Study (Study) designed to evaluate available nitrogen removal technologies and optimization techniques for existing infrastructure to identify potential measures to reduce nitrogen discharges from the four Jamaica Bay Wastewater Resource Recovery Facilities and improve dissolved oxygen (DO) water quality in Jamaica Bay.

Download the Jamaica Bay Feasibility Study