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FACT SHEET-Raritan & Sandy Hook Bay- Highlands, NJ

Flood Risk Management Study

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published Jan. 4, 2024

DESCRIPTION: The Highlands study area, about .7 square miles in extent, is located at the eastern limit of the overall Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay study area and is bordered to the north by Sandy Hook Bay, to the west by the corporate limits of Atlantic Highlands, and to the east by the Shrewsbury River and Route 36 bridge. The Borough of Highlands is located in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Highlands is generally about 2,000 feet wide, and its topography is flat for about 1,500 feet onshore from the bay, after which the ground rises rapidly to an elevation of 240 feet NGVD. This is a fully developed community with most year-round residences and commercial establishments located on the low-lying area along the bay. Highlands has a history of devastating flood damages. Approximately 880 residential, trailer home, apartment, and commercial structures are subject to severe flooding with approximately 670 located below 8 feet NGVD. Many low-lying roadways are flooded during severe storm events, cutting off access to large portions of Highlands.  This area was devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

AUTHORIZATION:  The current study is authorized by a resolution of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, U.S. House of Representatives, adopted August 1, 1990.  Subsequent funding and authorization was provided via P.L. 113-2, The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013.  The project was authorized for construction under the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 that was enacted on December 27, 2020.

STATUS:  In response to the flooding from back-to-back December 1992 Nor’easters, Congress funded the Corps to conduct a reconnaissance study of the Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay Communities.  In March 1993, the Corps issued a favorable Reconnaissance Study and in May 2000 issued a favorable Pre-Feasibility Report recommending that a feasibility study be conducted.  The State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection concurred with the Corps recommendations and signed a Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement (FCSA) on August 1, 2001 to cost share the feasibility study.  Work completed to date on the feasibility report includes a topographic survey and mapping, initial baseline studies, a structure inventory, and development of an existing conditions hydrology and hydraulics model.  The draft feasibility report has been completed and released to the public on 17 July 2015 and the comment period closed on 31 August 2015.  The tentatively selected plan has been optimized and the report completed.  The municipality rescinded their resolution not to support the project so that the NJDEP could provide a letter of support to allow USACE to finalize the study (recently provided in January 2023).  The Chief’s Report was approved on 25 August 2020.  Project was appropriated funding under the BIL and DRSAA supplementals.  NAN is currently performing data collection for the implementation of the Plans & Specifications for the first constructible element, flood closure gate.  It is anticipated the Plans & Specifications for the first constructible element will be completed in the fall of 2025.


Bethany McClanahan P.E., CFM

Project Manager

P: (917) 790-8426

Email: bethany.m.mcclanahan@usace.army.mil

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District

Programs and Project Management Division, Civil Works Branch

26 Federal Plaza

New York, NY 10278

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS:  Congressional Districts: NJ-06