“It’s important Lt. Gen. Spellmon have strong knowledge of what we’re doing in New York,” said New York District Commander Col. Matthew Luzzatto, adding, “Our portfolio of projects is the largest of any Army Corps District in the Nation, serving many densely populated low lying areas vulnerable to flooding from severe storms.”
Marine Terminal Tour
The first day included a visit to the Caven Point Marine Terminal in Jersey City, N.J., an Army Corps dock with a fleet of vessels for waterborne missions. Spellmon toured the facility that was completely rebuilt after being destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
One focus was a two-story, 47,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art flood-resistant structure housing the Physical Support Branch, Survey Section and Construction Division, equipped with unique features to reduce flood risk and infrastructure damages.
Army Corps Honors
Spellmon also attended a virtual event where the Army Corps was presented with the 2020 Hero of the Harbor Award from the Waterfront Alliance, an area organization advocating a resilient and accessible waterfront. The honor recognized emergency assistance during COVID-19, navigational missions, and wetlands and coastal restoration achievements.
Spellmon presented Commander’s Coins to New York District personnel and told the audience: “I recognize all the important work you’re doing here. You’re really leading the way for the nation in so many areas.”
Rockaway Beach Visit
Site visits and project briefings comprised much of the second day. Boarding the Army Corps vessel HAYWARD with District leadership and staff, the first stop was Rockaway Beach (Queens, New York) on the Rockaway Peninsula ̶ a narrow strip of land bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the south and Jamaica Bay to the north. The area suffered severe erosion from Hurricane Sandy.
Briefings were conducted by Anthony Ciorra, chief, Coastal Restoration Special Projects Branch, Programs and Project Management Division, and Daniel Falt, project manager.
Spellmon walked along the beach inspecting huge stones ̶ most weighing several tons ̶ that will be used to build new groins (jetties). (Stones were stockpiled nearby in preparation for construction.)
The East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay, New York, Coastal Storm Risk Reduction Project provides approximately $600 million in federal funds for groin construction, sand placement, reinforced dunes and public access walkways.
Staten Island Tour
Then it was on to Staten Island, New York, a borough of New York City also battered by Sandy. The Staten Island East Shore Coastal Risk Management Project involves a miles-long sea wall to mitigate flood risk from tidal surges and severe storms. During the tour field crews were digging shovel test pits to ensure no cultural resources were present (artifacts and historical items from the past) that might be impacted by construction.
New Jersey Flood Control
The final stop was Green Brook and Bound Brook, two communities in central New Jersey that have experienced flooding for decades, the latest in 2007 when a severe storm inundated the business district. Army Corps personnel from the Metropolitan Area Field Office provided an overview of the Green Brook Sub Basin Flood-Control Project that consists of pump stations, tidal gates, flood walls and levees to reduce flood risk. Additional work is planned for the site.