NEW YORK – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District in cooperation with the non-federal and local sponsors, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the City of New York, respectively, is holding public meetings to provide study information and solicit comments on the revised Recommended Plan for the Atlantic Coast of New York, East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet, and Jamaica Bay Reformulation Study. The Revised Draft HSGRR incorporates comments received on the 2016 Draft HSGRR and is updated to reflect the subsequent changes to the Recommend Plan for addressing coastal storm risk for the communities surrounding Jamaica Bay and along the Atlantic Shorefront of the Rockaway peninsula.
The following public meetings have been scheduled to discuss issues and receive comments from stakeholders:
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Rockaway Waterfront Alliance RISE Center,
58-03 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Far Rockaway (Arverne), NY 11692
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Village of Cedarhurst Hall,
200 Cedarhurst Avenue
Cedarhurst, NY 11516
All sessions will follow the same schedule:
Welcome & Poster Session: 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Presentation: 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Comments, Questions, and Discussion: 7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Second Poster Session & Wrap Up: 7:45 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
If you require special assistance at the meetings or additional information, please contact: Mr. Dan Falt at (917) 790-8614 or Daniel.T.Falt@usace.army.mil.
Background on the Study & Changes to the Recommendation
The East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet Hurricane Sandy Reformulation Study (Rockaway Reformulation Study) team released a Draft General Reevaluation Report and Environmental Impact Statement (report) in August 2016 for public and agency input on the tentatively selected plan. The comment responses were overwhelming in their call for further analysis of one key component of the tentatively selected plan—the proposed storm surge barrier across Jamaica Bay. Conversely, there were also significant calls to expedite and construct a project to help manage coastal storm risk in this area that was hit hard during Hurricane Sandy and remains vulnerable today.
While the Rockaway Reformulation Study evaluated a more comprehensive strategy for managing coastal risk in this area, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) constructed an emergency project in 2013-2014 which still provides considerably more protection from coastal flooding than had existed previously on the Rockaway peninsula from Beach 19th Street to Beach 149th. This project was the widest and highest sand placement in the Rockaways by the USACE and included the construction of a dune, which had not previously existed on Rockaway Beach.
The Rockaway Reformulation Study is authorized and funded under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, commonly called the “Sandy Recovery Act”. This law confers both study and construction authority as long as funds are available. Due to the scale, complexity, and cost of the proposed storm surge barrier, it could be studied under this authority, but would have needed additional money and authority appropriated by Congress in order to construct. Since the release of the draft report, a new study looking at coastal storm risk management from a regional perspective has been initiated—the New York and New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study.
To facilitate timely construction using existing funding, elements of the project requiring significant additional environmental analysis and future appropriations (i.e. the storm surge barrier with tie-ins) have been moved into the larger-scale study, which has a longer timeline that can support the required additional analyses, and which will also need additional money and authority appropriated by Congress in order to construct.
All implementable elements of the Rockaway Reformulation have been recommended and fully evaluated in the revised draft version of the report that was released for a second public and agency review on August 31, 2018. Implementable elements of the plan are assessed with a cost benefit analysis, and meet statutory and policy requirements.
Summary of the Changes
In addition to the deferral of the storm surge barrier component pending further analysis under the New York and New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study, the measures for the communities surrounding Jamaica Bay were further analyzed and refined. In particular, natural and nature-based features, or “living
shorelines” have been added to the recommended plan for the Back-Bay. All of the at-risk communities for the Back-Bay were analyzed. However, most were screened out because they did not meet the requirement to have a benefit to cost ratio greater than one. Three sites did meet that requirement, however, and are recommended.
The revised Back-Bay recommendation includes features to address high frequency flooding that would complement a potential future storm surge barrier but also stand alone. The High Frequency Flooding Risk Reduction Features are recommended for Mid-Rockaway (including the neighborhoods of Hammels, Arverne, and Edgemere), Motts Basin North in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County, and Cedarhurst Lawrence in the Village of Cedarhurst also in Nassau County.
The design at Mid-Rockaway includes five natural and nature-based features as well. The poster below entitled “High Frequency Flooding Risk Reduction Features” gives a visual overview of the recommendation for the Back-Bay and detailed descriptions can be found in the revised draft report (also linked below). The revised draft report and appendices fully detail how the plan was refined, evaluated, and screened, as well as analyze potential impacts of the recommended plan.
The total cost of the Recommended Plan for the Atlantic Shorefront and Jamaica Bay reaches is $526.5 million, which will be fully funded using federal dollars appropriated for Hurricane Sandy recovery, pending availability of funds at the time of the approval of the final report. For more information, visit the project page; http://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Projects-in-New-York/East-Rockaway-Inlet-to-Rockaway-inlet-Rockaway-Beach/
Submitting Comments on the Revised Draft General Reevaluation Report and Environmental Impact Statement;
Comments can be submitted in writing, by October 22, 2018, to: Daria Mazey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Planning Division-Environmental Branch, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278-0090 or by email to: Ms. Daria.S.Mazey@usace.army.mil.
Next Steps and Timeline for Completion
Coordination with agencies is ongoing. Upon conclusion of the public comment period on October 22nd, the study team will consider and respond to comments and make any appropriate changes in order to finalize the report. These will include incorporating comment responses to the ongoing Agency Technical Review. Delivering on an expedited schedule, the team will release the Final Report in November 2018, as long as no significant revisions are required based on the comments. This report will be submitted to our Headquarters for review and approval by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.