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Army Corps’ New York District continues its Coastal Restoration Mission

USACE New York District
Published Oct. 29, 2019
Fire Island Inlet to Moriches Inlet Stabilization Project, Long Island, N.Y.

Bulldozer crews placing sand along the southern shore of Fire Island, NY at the Army Corps' Fire Island Inlet to Moriches Inlet Stabilization Project in September 2019.

It’s been seven years since the New York District began its mission in response to Hurricane Sandy.

Sandy made history as the largest Atlantic hurricane on record when it made landfall on Oct. 29, 2012. With wind gusts in excess of 75 miles per hour and storm surge that inundated much of the New York and New Jersey coasts, the storm caused more than $50 billion in damages.

For the New York District, coastal restoration in the District’s AOR continues its highly successful coastal restoration mission, as it further enhances areas of resiliency and lowering risks from future coastal storms.

Building on experiences from Sandy, the New York District continues its efforts and has made continuous progress in sustaining its capabilities. 

On the occasion of the seventh year since Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic Coast on Oct. 29, 2012, New York District has completed several authorized and funded projects, flood control and coastal emergency projects and made great progress across its area of responsibility along the New Jersey and New York shorelines. 

And since 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 and constructed projects that had been previously authorized.  

Following 2012, with federal funds appropriated, the New York District placed millions of cubic yards of sand on identified beaches in its area of responsibility, and restored dunes and berms to their authorized specifications. 

Consistent with the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, the New York District collaborated with federal, state, local government, and non-governmental agencies, and academic organizations on studies to assess the flood risks of vulnerable coastal areas affected by Sandy.

Completed were various coastal storm damage risk reduction projects, engineered beach restoration projects, and repairs to Sandy-damaged navigation channels and structures along the coast including ongoing studies.   Study focus areas continue to be analyzed by the Corps of the coastline in order to develop effective solutions in the future in planning future protection of the coastline.

Anthony Ciorra, Chief of Coastal Restoration leads New York District's Coastal Restoration Branch, where he oversees coastal restoration programs and projects along the Jersey shore, Long Island, and New York City.

“Since 2018, the New York District has restored beaches along New Jersey and southern Long Island,” said Ciorra. "The focus is on constructing coastal projects to reduce risks to coastal communities. The District has accomplished a tremendous amount of work in collaboration with our partners and sponsors."

The District's projects are designed to lower storm risk for communities including studies that are now projects that have moved forward, such as the South Shore of Staten Island.

This will involve construction and engineering designed to reduce risk to the infrastructure including features such as seawalls, tide gates, floodwalls, levees, and pump stations.

“There have been challenges, but we’ve worked to prioritize actions such as reviews and advancing the design for some of the projects—this has been helpful to line everything up to go to construction,” said Ciorra.  “Once we’re in construction, things move quickly.”

To date, the District has repaired and restored eight coastal flood risk reduction projects (13 construction contracts) substantially completed by December 2014 less than 18 months after construction started in July 2013. Over 15.2 million cubic yards of sand was placed on beaches for projects in New York City, Long Island, and Northern New Jersey.

Twenty eight of 29 federally maintained navigation projects for channels and structures impacted by Hurricane Sandy have been repaired, and the Corps' Caven Point Marine Terminal reconstruction is nearing completion. 

Ongoing studies including Hurricane Sandy General Reevaluation Reports, the District completed 10 Feasibility Cost-Sharing Agreement amendments, two Design Agreement amendments, and executed one new Federal Cost Shared Agreement; six completed feasibility studies (including four with no Federal interest); three final General Reevaluation Reports scheduled for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works approval in FY 2020. 

Authorized but Unconstructed Projects include nine Hurricane Sandy Limited Reevaluation Reports (HSLRRs) approved; 10 Project Partnership Agreements (PPAs) executed; 15 construction contracts awarded; 12 contracts physically completed. 

Signings included the Director's Report for the New Jersey Passaic River Tidal study, and the Chief's Report for the New York Rockaway / Jamaica Bay project that are both significant milestones met as the initiation of construction approached.

"In addition to coastal protection it serves as a side benefit for beach recreation and a place for habitat," added Ciorra.

Ciorra highlighted the South Shore of Staten Island Coastal Project that and is now in the design phase and picking up momentum.

“The Project Partnership Agreement was signed last year, and an important milestone as the south shore of Staten Island impacted by the storm that included 24 fatalities,” said Ciorra.  “Looking forward, the District anticipates awarding the first contract for this project in 2020.”