The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made continuous progress in improving its capabilities before, during, and after disasters. Recovery was at the heart of disaster response following Sandy and it is often where the Corps is tasked to contribute its resources and expertise. Collaboration with its many partners was critical to the Corps mission and having a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities.
Over the last five years, The New York District's performance during the Sandy response and recovery operations highlight this progress.
When disasters occur, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers teams and other resources are mobilized from across the country to deliver our response missions. Building on the Corps' experiences from Sandy, New York District has continued its efforts to respond to catastrophic events.
There have been many occasions where partnerships have been critical to project successes. Commitment and collaboration among the Corps and its valued partners combined strengths led to project success.
On the occasion of the fifth year since Hurricane Sandy, New York District has completed several projects and began studies and made visible progress across the region with coastal restoration completed at critical areas along the New Jersey and New York shoreline.
The District has built momentum to further enhance areas of resiliency and reducing risks from future coastal storms.
"When Congress appropriated $5.3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (or Public Law 113-2), the New York District received $3-3.5 billion," said Anthony Ciorra Chief, Coastal Restoration Branch, Army Corps’ New York District.
"Nearly $1 billion has been obligated for restoring existing beaches and projects damaged by the storm and for constructing new projects that were previously authorized." “From July 2013 to December 2014 alone, the Corps replaced over 15 million cubic yards of sand to restore beaches,” said Ciorra. “
The New York District is conducting preliminary work on projects that had been authorized before Sandy.
For example, Port Monmouth, N.J. project specifically includes post-hurricane damage assessment, clean-up and repair.
This area was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. The project involves the construction of about 7,070 feet of levees, 3,585 feet of floodwalls, 2,640 feet of dune, and beach re-nourishment at 10-year intervals along the Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. The project provides protection to low-lying residential and commercial structures, built upon and near salt and freshwater marshes that are experiencing flooding caused by coastal storm inundation.
During the study phase of the project data was collected in this area which included post hurricane damage, hydrology, economic vitality, etc. This data was used to propose a plan to build a flood risk management solution for the area of Port Monmouth. Coastal Flood Risk Management project that were completed in the New York District's area of responsibility performed as designed in providing the necessary protection from coastal flooding.
Following Sandy, the New York District has performed its mission of coastal restoration and wrote the chapter on resiliency by restoring miles of shoreline and beach protection projects that Sandy pounded and constructed projects that had been previously authorized.
Several projects have been completed and studies have come to fruition.
For example, repair and restoration of 8 coastal flood risk reduction projects (13 contracts) substantially were completed by December 2014, less than 18 months after construction started in July 2013 at a cost of $240 million. On beaches for projects in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey 15.2 million cubic yards of sand has been placed.
Twenty-eight of 29 Federally-maintained navigation projects (channels and structures) impacted by Sandy have been repaired at a cost of $160 million with the Corps’ Caven Point Marine Terminal reconstruction nearing completion.
Ongoing Studies include 10 Feasibility Cost-Sharing Agreement amendments, 2 Design Agreement amendments, and one new Feasibility Cost-Sharing Agreements executed, and five Completed Feasibility Studies with total obligations of $14.6 million to date.
Authorized but Unconstructed Projects include nine Hurricane Sandy Limited Reevaluation Reports approved, seven Project Partnership Agreements executed, 11 construction contracts awarded, seven contracts physically complete with total obligations of $484 million to date.
“The Corps has accomplished a great deal in the past five years,” said Ciorra. “However, the mission is not complete. A significant amount of work is still be done since communities remain at risk.”
Coney Island, Brooklyn, NYC
Shore protection was provided by constructing a 100-foot wide beach berm at an elevation of 13 feet above sea level.
The project included the construction of an 850-foot long terminal groin on the westernmost end of the project. A fillet of sand was placed in Sea Gate to protect the groin against flanking and to prevent down drift conditions from deteriorating beyond those that existed before construction of the project. The project also includes periodic nourishment of the restored beaches on 10-year cycle for a period of 50 years.
Aerial of Coney Island, Brooklyn, NYC.