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HomeNatureMilitary Corps proposal for NY-NJ Harbor: Get knowledgeable and converse out

Military Corps proposal for NY-NJ Harbor: Get knowledgeable and converse out

Riverkeeper and companions oppose storm surge limitations throughout NYC waterways and name for flood safety planning that’s complete, ecologically sound, and domestically pushed.

It is a essential time to turn into knowledgeable and converse out in regards to the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers’ proposal to construct a $52 billion suite of flood safety initiatives all through New York-New Jersey Harbor from 2030 to 2044. The proposed funding of federal funds for regional resiliency is sorely wanted. However the plan, as proposed, has essential flaws that will omit essential flood protections for some communities whereas unnecessarily impairing water and aquatic habitats. A public remark interval on the Corps’ plan is open via March 7, and communities all through New York Metropolis, northern New Jersey and the Hudson Valley all have a stake.

GET INFORMED: Register now to attend Riverkeeper’s free webinar February 22

TAKE ACTION – Inform the Military Corps: Reject storm surge limitations, prioritize nature-based options

Key to the Corps’ “tentatively chosen plan” is the development of 12 storm surge limitations throughout the mouths of waterways similar to Jamaica Bay, Newtown Creek, Flushing Creek and the Gowanus Canal, the place they stream into the harbor. (Learn extra in regards to the plan in our earlier put up.) Such limitations are made up of varied sorts of moveable gates, supported by big constructions in-built and across the water. Bigger programs – similar to a barrier envisioned on the entrance to Jamaica Bay – would come with synthetic islands, sills and different everlasting constructions constructed into the water.

These constructions – even when the gates are open – threaten to choke off the tidal stream, impede fish migration, and entice contaminants in waters already burdened by air pollution and degradation. As a flood-control measure, they’re at greatest a partial, short-term answer in a world of rising water. Designed to shut solely throughout uncommon storms, these options focus narrowly on flooding from storm surge, and fail to guard in opposition to the long run certainty of elevated flooding from sea degree rise, heavy downpours and rising groundwater.

Riverkeeper and our companions help specialised, locally-driven options that present extra holistic safety, and that work with nature, tackle air pollution, and defend the life in our waters. Actually there are areas, similar to Decrease Manhattan, the place laborious shoreline partitions and raised promenades might be vital to guard infrastructure and neighborhoods from storm surge danger. And there are areas the place a fastidiously managed “retreat” is the one lifelike situation with sea degree rise. However all through New York Metropolis – an archipelago with a mess of waterways and coastal habitats – there are alternatives to design berms and different shoreline measures that permit rivers to stream, present public entry to the water, incorporate inexperienced stormwater infrastructure, improve pure habitat, and defend neighborhoods from the total mixture of storm surges, rainfall and rising waters.

To prioritize these fashionable options, and to take a position federal {dollars} correctly, we want significantly better coordination between the Corps and state and metropolis companies. We have to faucet the Corps’ personal experience in “engineering with nature” now, not later. The present proposal is just too narrowly targeted on storm surge limitations and fails to issue within the worth of rivers, wetlands, shallows and creeks, and the creatures that depend on them. We have to make sure that the waters of New York and New Jersey are wholesome and life-sustaining, particularly as we face the extremes of a altering local weather. All of us depend on these waters.

Following are Riverkeeper’s particular suggestions to the Corps and its non-federal examine co-sponsors, New York and New Jersey States, in addition to its non-funding accomplice New York Metropolis. Please take a second to go to this web page join our February 22 webinar.

Shift to a “domestically most popular” flood safety plan. New York Metropolis, New York State and New Jersey have to take co-leadership roles within the examine, in partnership with the Corps, to establish essentially the most essential federal investments vital for flood safety for our area. Presently town and state companies are taking a again seat, receiving draft paperwork similtaneously the general public. Whereas these roles can’t substitute for deep engagement with neighborhood members, state and metropolis governments are in a greater place to reply to native voices than the Corps, and their mandates are a lot broader to guard the general public from all forms of flooding, in distinction to the Corps’ concentrate on storm surge. Furthermore, the non-federal companions’ experience in native planning, water and sewer infrastructure and present resiliency initiatives must be serving to to form the plans.

Shield dwelling rivers: No storm surge limitations throughout our waterways. Every of the 12 limitations within the Corps’ “tentatively chosen plan” are a lot smaller in dimension than within the extra drastic plans envisioning gates throughout the Hudson the place it meets the ocean, however their potential destructive impacts are related. They might intervene with tidal power, scale back sediment transport, and gradual the flushing of pollution, for instance. Waters affected by the proposed storm limitations embody Flushing, Newtown, Coney Island, and Gerritsen Creeks; Gowanus Canal; Jamaica and Sheepshead Bays; Shellbank and Hawtree Basins; the Arthur Kill and Kill Van Kull; and the Hackensack and Passaic rivers in New Jersey.

Shield important fish habitat. The Military Corps’ cost-benefit evaluation fails to place a worth on rivers and their life, together with our endangered species just like the Atlantic sturgeon. Scientists have famous that marine life has been stopped by storm surge limitations elsewhere. Marine habitats might be completely altered by the proposed gates, in methods which are troublesome to foretell. The constructions, and the sooner currents they might trigger, would possible limit the motion of quite a few small species across the limitations. Smaller creatures can be unable to successfully maneuver via the turbulent waters, and can be extra weak to predators at these places. Some constructions would require a big sill alongside the underside of the waterway to help the burden of the limitations and would act like a dam, impeding fish and invertebrates. And what little habitat stays in New York Harbor – marshes, sea grass, oysters – can be imperiled.

Eradicate air pollution – don’t worsen it. Storm surge limitations would worsen issues in city waterways already affected by industrial and sewage air pollution, in addition to channelization and overdevelopment. Even when open, they might considerably slim the channel width on the mouths of those waterways. When closed, which might happen an increasing number of ceaselessly as sea ranges rise, they might acutely entice contaminants and exacerbate air pollution. Two of the waterways are among the many nation’s worst-polluted waters, Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek, and are in want of in depth cleanup over the approaching many years.

Prioritize environmental justice – don’t worsen inequities. The proposed funding of federal funds all through the area is sorely wanted. However the plan depends on a benefit-cost evaluation solely based mostly on actual property and infrastructure values, ignoring the safety of human life, well being, and the atmosphere and perpetuating historic inequities brought on by redlining and different racist insurance policies. The fee-benefit evaluation ought to issue within the demographics of these protected or in any other case impacted by its plan, amongst many different issues. New York Metropolis, New York State and New Jersey should work with communities and the Corps on extra methods, together with the potential advantages of prohibiting or minimizing new growth in floodplains and/or implementing flood buyout applications.

Plan for every type of flooding mixed – not simply storm surges. Due to the Corps’ slim concentrate on storm surge, the tentatively chosen plan overlooks different dangers from different forms of flooding, similar to rising groundwaters, tidal flooding, and precipitation-related flooding like what New York noticed throughout Hurricane Ida. In reality, the Military Corps has said that stormwater flooding is outdoors the scope of its examine. Its plan, due to this fact, is fatally flawed and irrationally skewed in favor of in-water storm limitations.

Use lifelike eventualities for sea degree rise. The Military Corps is counting on outdated local weather projections – much less change in sea degree than predicted by the New York Metropolis Panel on Local weather Change and the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Riverkeeper calls on the Corps to amend its estimates to replicate the perfect science and most up-to-date modeling to raised inform the examine, defend communities, and prolong the helpful lifetime of any infrastructure developed as a part of the plan.

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