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Mayor Bloomberg Details Progress on Resiliency Projects Outlined in the City's Long-Term Plan to Protect City Against the Effects of Climate Change on Hurricane Sandy Anniversary

October 29, 2013

73 Percent of Short Term Milestones in the City’s Resiliency Plan – “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” – Have Been Met or Near Completion

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway and Director of Resiliency Daniel Zarrilli today toured locations in Staten Island, the Rockaways and Coney Island where resiliency projects are being installed to strengthen those areas vulnerable to severe storms and other climate events. The projects are part of the Administration’s comprehensive and ambitious plan to protect the city from the impacts of climate change, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York.” The Mayor released the plan in June and it builds on the Administration’s long-term planning and sustainability initiatives outlined in PlaNYC. “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” details 257 specific recommendations to harden infrastructure and protect neighborhoods and 73 percent of the short-term milestones in the report have been met or are near completion. The report details the need for major long-term projects further fortify the city against climate events, which will require substantial investment and commitment to complete the projects in order to ensure neighborhoods do not remain vulnerable.

“In June, we released ‘A Stronger, More Resilient New York’ – our plan to build New York City back stronger and smarter,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Today, we saw first-hand examples of work being done citywide to help make New York City’s infrastructure withstand future severe weather events. As we continue working to help families recover from Hurricane Sandy, we’re also working to make New York climate-ready so we can protect our most vulnerable communities and strengthen our economic future for generations to come.”

“As we mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, New York City continues to invest in measures to build a stronger, more resilient New York,” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “The risks from extreme weather and climate change are real, and the City has responded with an ambitious and achievable plan – a multi-layered strategy of strengthening coastal defenses, upgrading buildings, protecting critical infrastructure, and making neighborhoods safer and more vibrant.”

“We are making immediate progress toward our goals of a stronger, more resilient New York while also planning for the future,” said Daniel Zarrilli, the City’s Director of Resiliency. “Working with many partners, we are already making the city safer. The City has placed over 1.2 million cubic yards of sand on beaches in the Rockaways, Coney Island and Staten Island and is increasing the heights of its dunes to reduce wave action and storm surge. We have modified current waterfront projects to add new resiliency measures such as tide gates to reduce the risk of flooding along Beach Channel Drive. We have passed new laws upgrading the building code and will continue to pursue additional legislation that adopts the best-available flood hazard information into the code. We are working with utility providers to ensure smart investments to protect vital substations and telecommunications infrastructure, and we launched new neighborhood revitalization programs like the Game Changer competition.”

The following is information on the projects the Mayor visited today:

Dune Fortification on Crescent Beach, Staten Island

What happened during Sandy: Storm surge inundation was devastating to the East and South shore of Staten Island, including wave damage that battered beaches and homes, with 23 percent of the yellow- and red-tagged buildings citywide in Staten Island’s East and South Shores. Nearly half (48 percent) of those were destroyed, which is higher than the ratio citywide (38 percent). Many areas of East and South shore saw inundation well above 10 feet and some areas saw inundation more than six feet as far as a mile inland.

Proposal in A Stronger, More Resilient New York: Beach replenishment and addition of dunes for the East and South Shores of Staten Island. Replenishment and dunes are critical to protect against storm surge and wave action. The dunes and sand attenuate wave action and can shield neighboring communities from storm surge. Over time, the dunes will be reinforced with dune grass, which are critical as the roots strengthen the dunes and make them less susceptible to erosion during coastal storms.

Next steps: Work is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Examples of other resiliency projects on Staten Island:
Roadway and Sewer Projects: Completing roadway and sewer capital projects along Hylan Boulevard especially in vulnerable South Shore areas. Transportation was a significant issue during Sandy and Hylan Boulevard is a critical route on Staten Island. Completing these sewer projects will address a drainage capacity issue that was greatly exacerbated by Sandy.

East Shore Levee: The City is working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a levee along the East Shore of Staten Island and to study further coastal risk reduction measures on the South Shore. The city has committed the local match of $50 million for the project. The State is required to put approximately $100 million into its budget to complete the local match requirements.

Expanded Bluebelts: Bluebelts are ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system. They make use of natural drainage corridors such as streams, ponds and wetlands to convey, store and filter stormwater. The Mid-Island bluebelt is planned for the Midland Beach neighborhood, which was severely impacted during Sandy.

Bulkhead Repairs on Jamaica Bay

What happened during Sandy: The flooding was so significant that the ocean met the bay on the Rockaway peninsula and a significant amount of the flooding in the Rockaways came in through “backdoor flooding,” from Jamaica Bay on the bayside of the peninsula, which is some of the lowest-lying land on the peninsula. Water came in from the bay through the street drains as well as from over the bulkhead.

Proposal in A Stronger, More Resilient New York: The City had launched a bulkhead rehabilitation project along Beach Channel Drive prior to Sandy, but based on the experience of Hurricane Sandy, the proposal has been expanded to include tide gates, which in this location can prevent water from flooding through the street drains. 25 tidal gates are being installed in this area.

Next steps: Work is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015

Examples of other resiliency projects on the Rockaway Peninsula:

Beach Replenishment: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that 1.5 million cubic yards of sand were lost in the Rockaways during Sandy. To date, 600,000 cubic yards have already been replenished and by next May the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will add another 2.9 million cubic yards. As part of this work, the City worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the beach to add bigger dunes to help reduce wave action and storm surge risks. Over the next two years, the City will work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on further improvements to the beachside, the bayside and within Jamaica Bay through the Rockaway Reformulation study.

Beaches Open for Summer: By Memorial Day of 2013 all beaches were open for the summer providing a vital economic driver for the Rockaways.

New Boardwalk Design: The Parks Department is in the process of designing a new, more resilient $200 million boardwalk to enhance the beach and boardwalk to support Rockaway’s residents and small businesses.

Coney Island Creek Wetlands and Tidal Barrier

What happened during Sandy: The Coney Island area saw 50,000 residents and 1,000 businesses in impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The majority of the flooding in Coney Island and neighboring Gravesend did not come from the ocean, but instead was “backdoor” flooding from Coney Island Creek. As this is some of the lowest-lying land in Southern Brooklyn, this type of flooding will continue to pose a significant risk to the Coney Island community unless creek waters and surge during a storm are managed

Proposal in A Stronger, More Resilient New York: A multi-layered and comprehensive framework for resiliency on Coney Island Creek that can not only reduce risk, but can transform this part of Southern Brooklyn.

The proposal for Coney Creek includes:

  • Coastal Protection: The installation of a new levee and tidal barrier system at the mouth of the creek to manage the flow of water during a similar future coastal storm. As a first phase, the City intends to install shoreline protection along the creek’s lowest lying edges to provide interim protection in advance of a larger investment.
  • Stormwater Management: By incorporating operational controls to the City’s stormwater management system, this system would allow the creek to absorb stormwater runoff and improve drainage to protect adjacent neighborhoods and infrastructure during coastal storms or extreme precipitation events.
  • Parks: By combining Calvert Vaux and Kaiser parks around a renewed and restored wetland and lake complex, this system can bring together two neighborhoods historically separated by Coney Island Creek and achieve better waterfront access and a new destination park in Southern Brooklyn.

Next steps: A portion of the City’s Community Development Block Grant funding has been allocated for the planning of this project. An RFP is currently being developed for a team to develop the concept further and provide critical information about technical, environmental and planning issues as well as costs.

A high-resolution rendering is available here.

Examples of other resiliency projects on Coney Island:

Beach Replenishment: The U.S Army Corps estimates that 272,000 cubic yards of sand were lost from Coney Island beach during Hurricane Sandy. To date, 600,000 cubic yards of sand has been replenished on Coney Island.

Steeplechase Pier: Steeplechase Pier had been destroyed during Hurricane Sandy and was completely rebuilt over the summer and now includes a 2.2 acre public open space serving as the western entryway to a revitalized amusement district that opened last summer.

Coney Island Commons: This 200 unit low to middle income housing development had been underway prior to Sandy but was redesigned to include resiliency measures including deployable flood panels.

Full Implementation

All of the resiliency projects being implemented as a part of A Stronger, More Resilient New York can be viewed here.

The total cost of the 257 recommendations detailed in is nearly $20 billion – a sum that assumes each proposal is implemented along the suggested timeline. The City can rely on $10 billion provided through a combination of City capital funding already allocated and Federal relief, as well as $5 billion from additional, expected Federal relief already appropriated by Congress. The report lists several strategies to cover the remaining $4.5 billion gap, including additional Federal funding and City capital.

Contact: Marc LaVorgna / Jake Goldman (212) 788-2958