New York City

When RIOC Destroys Habitat, Birds Get Lost

When RIOC destroys habitat, birds get lost, and that’s just the most visible impact from wrecking Southpoint Park.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Islanders may be more simpatico with the bosses at 591 Main than imagined, seeing geese forced out of their habitats as nuisances, not the careless state agency’s victims.

RIOC had no plan for the future when its reckless assault on the shorelines in Southpoint wiped out the last remaining wild space on Roosevelt Island.

Before RIOC destroy the last bird habitat on Roosevelt Island: First Gosling, 2020, Southpoint Park
Spring 2020, the annual arrival of goslings in Southpoint gifted Roosevelt Island with a return to something like normal. But we’re not likely to see this again. RIOC’s bad absence of planning made sure of it.

RIOC Destroys Bird Habitat

What did they expect, all remaining local wildlife habit plowed under?

Answer: Nothing at all.

While secrecy and deception hides the truth about the rush to destroy Southpoint, heedless of toxic waste and other impacts, one thing is clear. Apart from sculpting a mini Brooklyn Bridge Park, RIOC had no idea about the future.

And now, it’s here…

Traumatically thrown out of their nests, Canadian geese wander around, searching for secure homes and finding none. But this is only a small, but visible piece of the havoc the state rendered.

We weren’t always about animal cruelty and wildlife destruction…

As RIOC expands its claim as host for animal cruelty again, let’s get some perspective.

Before the state decided to remake Roosevelt Island open spaces in the image of a park where your kids could play while you shopped at the mall, you could touch raw nature here, any day.

The Island’s undeveloped south tip filled with people once a year. On the 4th of July, patriots crowded together as fireworks burst overhead, flashing reflections on Manhattan’s glass towers.

But in the meantime, a two-lane dirt trail hosted an occasional PSD car, but it was mostly runners and bicycle riders among the wild grasses and wildlife.

Roosevelt Island's south tip before Four Freedoms Park destroy bird habitats.
Before Four Freedoms Park, spring awakens in an undeveloped space…

A spring highlight was when the Canadian geese came up from the shoreline, goslings following in line. As temperatures warmed and the goslings lost their down, the nuclear families wandered as far north as Goldwater Hospital.

Planned from the start, Four Freedoms Park rose out of the landscape. Perfect and serene, but designers left no room by the river for the birds and other wildlife.

But there was still space, and the birds, small mammals and bees migrated into the last remaining natural space, the shores along Southpoint Park.

Within a decade and without a clue, RIOC destroyed the bird habitat growing in Southpoint and all the grasses, trees and other wildlife that went with it.

So, What Happens to the Birds Now?

Afflicted with EADD*, the state agency rushing to plow under anything appearing natural, wherever it’s found, never had a clue about the future.

*Elbow Ass Distinction Disorder

Frantic petitioning, marches and serious questions about motives and negligence proved no obstacle for RIOC.

“The Southpoint Park project preserves the natural habitat and wildlife that¬†currently exist, while also enhancing the surrounding greenspace paths,” announced acting president/CEO Shelton Haynes.¬†

This proved one of two things. Either he’d never been there, or he had no idea what the hell was going on.

The fact is, none of what he wrote is true, and whoever wrote it, Haynes or someone else, was lying.

So what happens to the birds and other wildlife now? RIOC just destroyed the last vestige of wild space on Roosevelt Island. Where are they supposed to go?

RIOC Destroys Bird Habitat, Shrugs With Indifference

“Have you seen this?” Wildlife Freedom Foundation executive director Rossana Ceruzzi asked in a text message.

She was upset over the Instagram video above.

“The shorelines are gone, and the poor birds are confused.”

RIOC’s mindlessness animal cruelty made this mess unavoidable.

And some residents sing the state’s tune. One suggested turning dogs loose on the geese, a solution only some, including RIOC, could love.

On the other hand, RIOC’s more likely to plead ignorance as it so often does when a mess is made and they have no idea how to clean up after themselves.

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