August 2022 Update:
The New York and New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries coastal storm risk management feasibility study (HATS) has resumed work in fiscal year 2022 in earnest (following substantial curtailment during 2020-2021 due to lack of federal funding). On July 26, 2022, a successful Tentatively Selected Plan milestone meeting was held between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) vertical team (including USACE Headquarters, Division and District offices) along with the HATS non-federal partners (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of State, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and New York City, represented by the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice).
A Notice of Intent for preparing a HATS Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is now under development and is planned for release shortly. Further, the Draft Feasibility Report and Integrated Tier 1 EIS (Draft Report) is scheduled for release by the end of September 2022. Following this Draft Report’s release, the formal public review period of the Draft Report will begin. USACE along with our non-federal study partners will be holding public meetings and outreach efforts throughout the vast HATS area to present information contained in the Draft Report and to seek comments from other agencies, stakeholders and the public.
The alternative that has been tentatively selected is Alternative 3B, as conceptually described in the Interim Report (see above). The Draft Report will have considerably more information about Alternative 3B (and the other alternatives considered) than the Interim Report as well as the rationale and information that formed the basis for this tentative plan selection.
There is a considerable amount of work to be done in the remaining phases of the HATS and details to be determined. That work will be focused and informed based on the feedback that USACE receives on the Draft Report from our non-federal partners, other agencies, stakeholder groups, and the public. This will lead to development of the Final Feasibility Report and Final Tier 1 EIS which is then used to develop the study’s final product, the Chief of Engineer’s Report, which is currently approved to be released no later than June 15, 2024. For this reason, USACE encourages anyone interested in learning more about the HATS to please provide your email to USACE (see below) so you can be notified when the Draft Report is available for your review.
USACE hopes that the description and details of Alternative 3B that will be contained in the Draft Report and the rationale for its tentative selection will serve as a good framework for further plan refinements leading to ultimately a broadly supportable, economically justified, and environmentally acceptable plan for addressing coastal storm risk for this highly urbanized and nationally important study area. Given the uncertainties associated with future climate change (including sea level rise) along with other complexities, the final recommended plan will likely have components that are layered in application, phased in implementation, and able to be adapted over time. Ultimately, the ONLY alternative that USACE will NOT recommend is Alternative 1 – the “No Action” alternative. The existing and future coastal storm risk facing this vital study area is too serious and concerning to do nothing more.
The public is invited to submit comments by mail to:
NYNJHAT Study Team, Planning Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
26 Federal Plaza, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10279-0090
or by e-mail to: NYNJHarbor.TribStudy@usace.army.mil
Please include the project title and the commenter's contact information with submitted comments. Comments are always welcome and will be considered in the study as it continues.