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FACT SHEET - Spring Creek South (Howard Beach), Queens, NY

Multi-Purpose Feasibility Study

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published Jan. 23, 2023

DESCRIPTION: The Spring Creek South site is located on the northern shore of Jamaica Bay, part of Gateway National Recreation Area (gate) administered by the National Park Service. The site consists of approximately 237 acres of undeveloped land along 2.4 miles of coastline on the east shore of Old Mill Creek between Cross Bay Boulevard and Belt Parkway. The site was filled in with millions of cubic yards of dredged material during the first half of the 20th century, which degraded the existing salt marsh community. In addition, the site was used as a sanitary landfill and is currently the subject of a Remedial Investigation conducted by the National Park Service. This degraded site currently contains disturbed low functioning marsh, dune, freshwater wetland, maritime forest, and grassland, with a majority (188 acres of 237 acres) of the site containing urban meadow covered with invasive species (Phragmites and mugwort).

The Howard Beach community was impacted during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, causing damage to property, interruption of services, and endangering public safety. Howard Beach experienced record flooding due to storm surge and tidal conditions. Jamaica Bay waters flooded into the streets and overtopped the bulkheads that border Shellbank and Hawtree Basins. In Howard Beach, 62 percent of all residential buildings were damaged by the storm. Nearly 2,000 homes in Howard Beach reported having flood depths of at least two feet in their interiors. In addition to flooding inside residential structures, the Queens Library in Howard Beach, the St. Helen Catholic Church, the Rockwood Park Jewish Center, the U.S. Postal Service Howard Beach Station, the Howard Beach Jewish Center, two Con Edison substations, and the PS 207 Rockwood Park School sustained flood damage. The Howard Beach pumping station located at 155th Ave. and 99th St. was also damaged and shut down, which resulted in back-flooding through the sewers into hundreds of homes. Additionally, the U.S. Geological Service high-water marks showed flood depths approximately 2.5 feet above the ground throughout the Howard Beach neighborhood. 

The purpose of this study is to investigate ecosystem restoration and hurricane and storm damage risk reduction solutions for Spring Creek South and Howard Beach community within Queens, New York. The integrated and comprehensive solutions would provide benefits to the Howard Beach Community and several adjacent Potential Environmental Justice Areas (PEJA) throughout Kings and Queens counties and will further the goals set forth in President Biden's executive order (EO) 14008 on climate change, Justice 40.  Restoration of the site will result in climate resiliency, carbon sequestration, water quality improvements, environmental sustainability improvements and other ecosystem services to the surrounding communities and within Jamaica Bay. The Study is also consistent with Justice 40 objectives as the project restores “public lands and waters, increases forestation, restores biodiversity, improves access to recreation and addresses the changing climate”.

AUTHORIZATION: House of Representatives Committee on Public Works and Transportation Resolution (Docket Number 2356) dated August 1, 1990; Congressional direction to expedite completion in WRDA 2020: Title IV- Water Resources Infrastructure, SEC. 202 Expedited Completions (a) Feasibility Reports (48) Project for ecosystem restoration and hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, Spring Creek South (Howard Beach), Queens, NY. 

STATUS: The multi-purpose Feasibility Study will be initiated following execution of a Feasibility Cost Share Agreement with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) as the local non-federal sponsor.  The study would build upon prior investigations including the Jamaica Bay Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study, East Rockaway to Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay Reformulation Study, Howard Beach NY Rising Community Reconstruction Plan, NYSDEC/FEMA Hazard Mitigation Program and National Park Service Remedial Investigation.  All federal funding for the study has been appropriated through the FY22 Consolidated Appropriations Act ($500,000) and the 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law ($1,200,000). 


Estimated Feasibility Federal Cost: $1,500,000 + $200,000 for Independent External Peer Review

Estimated Non-Federal Cost: $1,500,000
Total Project Cost $3,200,000


Ms. Lisa Baron
Project Manager
P: (917) 790-8306 and (C): (646) 385-1429
Email: lisa.a.baron@usace.army.mil
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District 
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278

Congressional District:  NY-8