12 storm surge gates: Army Corps proposes $52 billion barriers for New York-New Jersey waterways
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a $52 billion, 14-year construction plan to build 12 flood gates across our waterways as part of the NY & NJ Harbor & Tributaries Focus Area Feasibility Study (HATS). The intent of the coastal barriers proposed in East Harlem, Lower Manhattan, southern Brooklyn, and the entire Rockaway Peninsula is to protect low lying New York City and surrounding areas from damage caused by future storm surges and flooding.
The Army Corps is soliciting public feedback on their report through March 7, 2023, in order to refine their proposal.
NY/NJ Baykeeper has always supported natural infrastructure which is far cheaper, easier to maintain, and better for the environment than the barriers and hard infrastructure proposed in this feasibility study.
- There is not enough information about what happens to the communities outside proposed tide gates including the Raritan Bayshore and Staten Island.
- We don’t want to repeat the same costly mistakes that New Orleans made. Less than a year after a system of levees and sea walls were completed in Orleans in response to Hurricane Katrina, experts indicated it wasn’t enough due to rising sea levels. Since this project is funded by taxpayers, let’s make sure we do it right.
- Closing the gates during major storms would trap rainwater runoff, raw sewage, and other pollutants behind these barriers, causing flooding and pollution inland, in already overburdened communities and parks. The communities in and out of the flood gates matter significantly when thinking about equitable impacts to local, residential communities.
- The proposal would restrict flow on the Hackensack River which is already reduced by upstream withdrawals, which would negatively impact fish, wildlife, and water quality.
- Walls typically aren’t an effective solution and don’t protect against inland flooding.
What we need: A better, more comprehensive plan.
- Nature based solutions should be prioritized and deployed first before grey infrastructure is implemented.
- We need to make sure any plan reduces water pollution. We’re concerned that flood gates will cause pollution hot spots as water is trapped behind the gates.
- Any plan should be led by the communities it will benefit and impact.
The Hudson River Foundation held a seminar this morning on evaluating the impacts of storm surge barriers, looking at one of the HATS proposed barriers. A recording will be posted online – https://www.hudsonriver.org/article/january-2023-ames-seminar
Rebuild by Design will host a Teach-In: https://rebuildbydesign.org/usace-hats/
SUBMIT A PUBLIC COMMENT
The public is invited to submit comments by email to: [email protected]
Please include the project title (NYNJHAT) and the commenter’s contact information with submitted comments.
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