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FACT SHEET - New York/New Jersey Harbor & Tributaries Focus Area Feasibility Study

Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published Feb. 14, 2024

DESCRIPTION: This coastal storm risk management study (CSRM) covers the New York & New Jersey Harbor and tidally affected tributaries encompassing all of New York City, the Hudson River to Troy, NY; the lower Passaic, Hackensack, Rahway, and Raritan Rivers; and the Upper and Lower Bays of New York Harbor, Newark, Jamaica, Raritan and Sandy Hook Bays; the Kill Van Kull, Arthur Kill and East River tidal straits; and western Long Island Sound. This focus area feasibility study is one of nine that the USACE North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS) Report, issued January 2015, identified for further study.  This study is authorized by Public Law 84-71, June 15, 1955 (69 Stat. 132) which directs the examination of damages in coastal and tidal areas due to coastal storms such as hurricanes “and of possible means of preventing loss of human lives and damages to property, with due consideration of the economics of proposed breakwaters, seawalls, dikes, dams, and other structures, warning services, or other measures which might be required.”                                                                                   

The New York &New Jersey Harbor region was severely impacted from Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.  While several specific studies and projects by USACE, other federal agencies as well as state and local agencies have subsequently been performed or initiated within the study area following Hurricane Sandy, the broader New York & New Jersey Harbor and tributary region lacks a comprehensive plan for managing future potential coastal storm risks facing the region, including those from predicted sea level and extreme weather events. This study’s goal is to develop such a plan from the federal perspective and in a systems context.

STATUS: The study’s feasibility cost-sharing agreement (FCSA) was executed with the States of New York and New Jersey, represented by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, on July 15, 2016.  In addition to these two non-federal study sponsors, several other agency stakeholders, including New York City, are partnered with the study. 

USACE initially scoped the study in coordination with the non-federal partners and other regional agency stakeholders resulting in a working study estimate of $19.4M and six years to complete the study with the issuance of a Chief of Engineer’s Report.  This study cost and schedule was given an interim approval from the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) on October 31, 2018.

The initial focused array of alternatives were formulated ranging from harbor-wide coastal storm risk management methods to land-based, perimeter CSRM methods, with three alternatives between.   All alternatives were and are anticipated to also include complementary non-structural measures and natural and nature-based features as appropriate.  To be conservative, all other ongoing studies and projects by USACE and other agencies that can reasonably be expected to be implemented in the immediate future are assumed to be in place as part of this study’s assumed future “without project” condition. The study released a preliminary Interim Report on February 19, 2019 which identified the preliminary economic, environmental, engineering and other studies performed to date of these alternatives. This was followed by nine public meetings held throughout the study area from March 2019 to November 2019 to present this Interim Report's findings. 

In early 2020, though, the study was stopped due to a lack of federal funding which continued until October 2021, when work on the study resumed.  During this time period, a second request for additional study schedule was approved by the Senior Official acting on behalf of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) on April 2021 extending the study completion to June 15, 2024. 

In June 2022, the study was converted from cost-shared funding to be 100% federally funded with appropriations from the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (DRSAA) to its completion.  In July 2022, the tentative plan, alternative 3b, was selected by USACE which was then documented in the Draft Feasibility Report and integrated Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement released to the public for review in late September 2022.  A six-month agency and public review period followed with multiple virtual and in-person meetings held throughout the study area which ended on March 31, 2023.  Upwards of 3,000 separate comments were received from the non-federal study partners, other agencies, stakeholder groups and the public. 

Given the limitations of the currently approved study schedule and funding, USACE is currently requesting additional resources for advancing and completing the study with the primary focus upon further development and refinement of alternative 3b, which was given qualified endorsement by the non-federal study partners for advancement.  Concurrent to this request, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) has been requested by the non-federal study sponsors to possibly expand the existing study scope to include other flood risks as authorized by Section 8106 of the Water Resources Development Act. 

Subject to the approval of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) and sufficient DRSAA appropriations, the study may develop (in coming years) further refined Draft Report(s), Interim Chief of Engineer Report (s) and other documents in advance of the final Chief of Engineer’s Report, which is expected to fully describe the comprehensive plan for addressing coastal storm and other possible flood risks facing this study area.


Bryce Wisemiller
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

New York District

26 Federal Plaza

New York, NY 10279-0090