A College Point environmental activist helped save about a dozen horseshoe crabs in College Point Park after they got stuck in a boom that is part of a water main and sewer project.
Kathryn Cervino of the Coastal Preservation Network, a nonprofit organization that works on shoreline restoration at MacNeil Park and Powell’s Cove Park, was jogging last week in MacNeil Park when she noticed horseshoe crabs moving in the water, which was at low tide.
She saw the boom that the contractors had put up to keep pollution from going into the water during construction.
“I saw things trying to move and I assumed it was horseshoe crabs just because I know June is prime mating month for horseshoe crabs,” Cervino said. “They come onto the beach en masse and they meet and they lay eggs and so this is the time of year when that happens.”
She was able to rescue at least a dozen of them by moving them to the other side of the boom that was adjacent to the water but one died. There were also two that were in the process of mating, which she had to separate and carry one by one because they were heavy.
Cervino hopped the fence and climbed down the rocks and through the weeds and down the beach to get the crabs out of the boom.
She picked them up by the tail, which she said is what the crabs use to flip themselves over and get back on the right side.
“I got them out of the boom,” she said. “I lifted them up physically.”
The portion of the project that required the boom to protect the health of the harbor has been completed and that the contractor removed the portion last Friday, according to Daniel Leibel, junior public information officer for the city Department of Design and Construction.
“Someone involved in the project came and remove the boom, took the boom off of the beach so now there’s a clear line of travel,” Cervino said. “So it a victory for the horseshoe crabs.”
Cervino said it is key for agencies to remove booms that are harmful to marine life when they are working on coastline projects.
“If they just leave a boom, that can be a detriment. That’s not an OK way of operating,” she said. “They have to do it more responsibly, but I do appreciate the quick action once we called them.”
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour
©2016 Community News Group
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