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Army Corps’ New York District continues its Coastal Restoration Mission Eight Years following Sandy

USACE New York District
Published Oct. 29, 2020
Coastal restoration progress reflects the Army Corps’ New York District continued commitment for storm risk management and reducing risks to coastal communities that remain vulnerable from future storms.

Building on experiences from Sandy, the New York District continues its efforts and has made continuous progress in sustaining its capabilities as it further enhances areas of resiliency and lowering risks from future coastal storms.

Following Sandy in 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was extensively involved in the response, recovery and mitigation mission.   New York District stood up its Emergency Command Center and Recovery Field Offices in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Following Sandy in 2012 Debris removal in New York alone amounted to 5.25 million cubic yards of debris, enough to fill the Empire State Building three times. This punctuated a monumental clean-up effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform a debris removal mission to identify, remove, and haul debris from along the New York shores resulting in the establishment of the New York Recovery Field Office.

Eight year since Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the Atlantic Coast on Oct. 29, 2012, the Army Corps’ New York District has completed several authorized and funded projects, flood control and coastal emergency projects and made progress.

Building on experiences from Sandy, the New York District continues its efforts and has made continuous progress in sustaining its capabilities as it further enhances areas of resiliency and lowering risks from future coastal storms. The New York District restored miles of shoreline and beach protection projects and constructed projects that had been previously authorized.   

Completed were various coastal storm damage risk reduction projects, engineered beach restoration projects, and repairs to Sandy-damaged navigation channels and structures along the coast including ongoing studies.   Study focus areas continue to be analyzed by the Corps of the coastline in order to develop effective solutions in the future in planning future protection of the coastline.

Restored were beaches along New Jersey and southern Long Island.  New York District has awarded construction contracts for major coastal storm risk projects in New Jersey, the Rockaways and Fire Island, N.Y.

“We've awarded contracts for the Jersey Shore and other areas where we're building resiliency into the shorelines, said Joseph Seebode, the Army Corps’ New York District Deputy District Engineer. "The District has accomplished a tremendous amount of work in collaboration with our partners and sponsors."

Repaired and restored were eight existing coastal flood risk reduction projects (13 contracts) that were substantially completed by December 2014 less than 18 months after construction started in July 2013. Placed was 15.2 million cubic yards of sand on beaches to repair Sandy damages to projects in New York City, Long Island, and northern New Jersey.  Twenty-nine Federally maintained navigation channels and structures projects impacted by Sandy have been repaired.   

A Chief of Engineers Report was signed in July for the Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, New York Coastal Storm Risk Management Project.  “The signing of this report represents a culmination of decades of work and is a significant milestone for the Fire Island to Montauk Point Project; the Army Corps of Engineers’ recommendations provides a holistic and sustainable coastal storm risk management solution that spans 83 miles with project features on both the shorefront and back bays,” said Col. Matthew Luzzatto, the Army Corps’ New York District Commander. 

Projects are designed to lower storm risk for communities including studies that are now projects that have moved forward, such as the Staten Island East Shore for the Coastal Risk Management Project on the eastern side of the south shoreline of Staten Island, N.Y.  This will involve construction and engineering designed to reduce risk to the infrastructure including features such as seawalls, tide gates, floodwalls, levees, and pump stations. Vegetation management was recently completed to minimize phragmites and cultural resources investigations are underway. 

 “The cultural resources investigations involve a field crew throughout the area where construction will occur to ensure that there are no National Register Eligible cultural resources adversely impacted by the construction of the project,” said Frank Verga, Project Manager.

In April, the New York District awarded the first contract award for the East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay, New York Coastal Storm Risk Reduction Project.  It is the first of several contracts for the construction of storm risk reduction infrastructure on the Atlantic Ocean shoreline and Jamaica Bay shoreline of the Rockaway Peninsula, N.Y.   It involves construction of new stone groin structures and rehabilitation of existing groins on the Atlantic Ocean side to provide erosion control and stabilization.

Consistent with the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, the New York District collaborated with federal, state, local government, and non-governmental agencies, and academic organizations on studies to assess the flood risks of vulnerable coastal areas affected by Sandy.

It's expected that if another Sandy were to hit today, there would be much lesser coastal damage to areas where beach nourishment and restoration has taken place for protection and flood and storm damage reduction, environmental coordination, permitting and monitoring was and continues to be accomplished in cooperation with partners that include the States, cities, municipalities, and sister government agencies.