Mowing phragmites – weeds that fuel Staten Island brush fires – could begin in May

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A comprehensive agreement is in place that will permit the mowing down on Staten Island of phragmites, the invasive weed that fuels brush fires.

The work, on city and private lands, could begin May 1.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro announced yesterday that they had secured commitments from the National Park Service, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Parks Department to sign the needed cooperative management agreement.

With the very dry winter, and this week’s five-alarm blaze in wood compost at the former Fresh Kills landfill, the impetus for mowing high-risk areas along the Island’s East and South shores has become greater than ever, Molinaro said.

As if to put an exclamation mark on Molinaro’s remarks, a phragmite-fueled brush fire erupted yesterday in a wooded area of Ocean Breeze Park.

In November 2011, Schumer announced that the Department of the Interior had awarded Gateway National Park $110,000 in federal funding to address these long-standing brush fire issues on the Island.

The funding for Hazardous Fuel Reduction allows phragmites mitigation to commence at Gateway National Park, which is federal land

The funds will also be available to city agencies to combat the problem on non-federal land throughout the Island.

Given the magnitude of the job, the mowing work will be divided into stages:

1) Start in the Fox Beach area (Tarlton Street, Fox Beach Avenue and Fox Lane);

2) move to properties along Delwitt Avenue, Riga Street and Lynn Street;

3) move to Grayson Street;

4) move to Kissam Avenue; and,

5) finish along Roberts Drive, Milton Avenue, and Tysens Lane.

A strategy will also be developed for the swath bordered by Hunter and Seaview avenues, which is considered at high risk.

About joshsorensen34

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