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), as amended, 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.” Section 203(a)(4) of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 amended the study authorization.
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 projected 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, the study is also being done in full partnership with New York City represented by the Mayor’s Office.
USACE has 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 of active study to complete the effort with the issuance of a Chief of Engineer’s Report. This study cost and schedule was given an interim exemption from the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) on October 31, 2018, which has subsequently expired in September 2020, due to lack of continued federal funding in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
The preliminary evaluations in the study identified an initial array of 5 conceptual alternatives. The initial focused array of alternatives have been formulated ranging from harbor-wide coastal storm risk management methods to solely land-based, perimeter CSRM methods, with three hybrid alternatives between these.
All alternatives are anticipated to also include complementary non-structural measures and natural and nature-based features as appropriate and feasible. To be conservative, all other ongoing studies and projects by USACE and other agencies that can reasonably be expected to be implemented by this study’s Agency Decision Milestone are assumed to be in place as part of this study’s assumed future “without project” condition. Using USACE fiscal year 2019 work plan and non-federal sponsor contributed funds, the study released an Interim Report on February 19, 2019 which identified the preliminary economic, environmental, engineering and other studies performed to date of these alternatives. The Interim Report with all its technical appendices can be downloaded from the following website: www.nan.usace.army.mil/nynjhats. Eight public meetings were held throughout the study area from spring to fall of 2019 to present this reports findings.
The Interim Report indicated that substantial coastal storm risk remains in vast portions of the study area even with the other planned efforts assumed to be in place. Further studies were underway when federal funding for the study lapsed in the USACE fiscal year 2020 and 2021 work plans. Should the study receive further exemption for additional study time from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and further federal funding, work on the study would resume to proceed to identify the Tentatively Selected Plan to be documented in the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. The TSP would identify which suite of CSRM measures that appear to best manage coastal flood risks that remain in the region from the federal perspective, consistent with USACE planning guidance.
Bryce W. Wisemiller
P: (917) 790-8307
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Programs and Project Management Division, Civil Works Programs Branch
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: NY-03, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 NJ-05, 06, 08, 09 10, 11, 12