Coastal resiliency projects underway around city to protect vulnerable neighborhoods from flooding

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Thursday, November 4, 2021
Coastal resiliency projects underway to combat climate change
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Coastal resiliency projects underway in Manhattan and Staten Island to protect waterfront neighborhoods from waters after record flooding this summer.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Projects are underway around the city to protect coastal neighborhoods after record flooding over the summer.

"We have the imagination to do this," said Jainey Bavish, the director of climate resiliency of the mayor's office. "To envision transformative solutions. That actually improve quality the of life. While protecting our residence and neighborhoods."

These projects include the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project which would build a 2.4 mile flood protection system including flood walls and flood gates. The $1.45 billion project came as a result of the Rebuild By Design Competition which sought to find solutions for communities impacted by Sandy.

The plan covers an area stretching from Montgomery Street to East 25th Street.

However, some critics fear this project destroys too much of the East River Park and are asking for alternative resiliency options.

Meanwhile, on Staten Island, construction for the New York State Governor's Office of Storm Recovery's Living Breakwaters project is underway to combat coastal erosion.

Much of the Staten Island shoreline has experienced erosion over the last 35 years, including major damage from Sandy.

Many spots average more than one foot per year of erosion.

"The goal is to attenuate waves, break storm wave energy, reduce coastal erosion and then enhance natural habitat eventually," said Chief External Affairs Officer Emily Thompson.

The partially submerged stone structures will be placed in Raritan Bay and are designed to help with oyster restoration.

Tottenville was once protected by an oyster reef, but that reef collapsed due to pollution and over harvesting exposing the shore to waves.

"Oysters do a lot for the water," said Thompson. "They filter the water naturally, they help with pollution, and they used to be plentiful in this part of Raritan Bay."

Construction is projected to be completed by Fall 2024.

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