Plans for NYC’s storm-surge barrier raise environmental concerns

Opponents argue Army Corps is moving too quickly

New York /
May.May 19, 2019 02:00 PM

In the years since Hurricane Sandy wrought havoc on the tri-state area, city, state and federal authorities have been racing to put together plans to prevent another such disaster. But some are worried they may be moving too quickly.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has been working since 2016 on a plan to help New York and New Jersey manage the risk of coastal flooding, is set to pick a “tentatively selected plan” by next January, Crain’s reported. But environmental groups say a more thorough environmental analysis is needed first.

“The idea that the corps at this point would select a plan to focus on without taking into account in a real way the environmental impacts that can happen across this estuary is a huge concern,” said Erin Doran, an attorney for environmental watchdog Riverkeeper, to Crain’s.

The plans under consideration include four possible configurations of storm-surge barriers, ranging from 1-mile-long, 22-foot-high gates north of the Verrazano-NarrowsBridge to 5-mile-long, 46-foot-high gates in the outer New York Harbor. Estimated costs range from $32 billion to $119 billion.

Opponents to the plans say some barrier configurations could disrupt fish migration and spawning grounds, and interfere with the river’s tidal flow.

“The tide is the heartbeat and respiration of the Hudson,” Riverkeeper’s John Lipscomb said. “It brings salt from the ocean and oxygenates the water.”

Another Riverkeeper demand is that the Army Corps include climate change-related sea-level rise in its analysis, rather than focusing narrowly on storm surges. But the Army Corps says that the focus on storm surges stems from its mandate from Congress.

Last week, a report from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer found that the city has been slow to make use of the $15 billion in aid it received for Sandy since 2013 – in fact, the city’s spent less than half of it so far.

The report also found that properties in the floodplain are now worth $101 billion, more than 70 percent higher than in 2010, further raising the stakes.

New York state, New York City and New Jersey are the Army Corps’ partners in the storm-surge barrier study and will have a say in the final decision. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office has yet to express an opinion on the matter. [Crain’s] — Kevin Sun


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
HNA Group's Guoqing Chen (left), SL Green CEO Marc Holliday (right), and 245 Park Avenue (SL Green, World Travel & Tourism Council - via Wikimedia Commons, LoopNet)
HNA must pay SL Green fat sum over 245 Park Avenue
HNA must pay SL Green fat sum over 245 Park Avenue
A photo illustration of 6 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene (Compass)
Townhouse set to smash Fort Greene price record
Townhouse set to smash Fort Greene price record
Mayor Eric Adams and Extell's Gary Barnett (Photos by Paul Dilakian)
Real estate’s titans talk building, selling, and reinventing the city
Real estate’s titans talk building, selling, and reinventing the city
Ryan Serhant and Bess Freedman (iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
Ryan Serhant fires back at Bess Freedman, calls legacy brokerages “scared”
Ryan Serhant fires back at Bess Freedman, calls legacy brokerages “scared”
ICSC at Las Vegas (photos by Joe Lovinger and Suzannah Cavanaugh/The Real Deal)
“Hot girl real estate” reigns at ICSC, Covid be damned
“Hot girl real estate” reigns at ICSC, Covid be damned
25 North Moore Street (Compass, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
Manhattan luxury market slumps back toward normal
Manhattan luxury market slumps back toward normal
281 President Street and 1 John Street, Brooklyn (Streeteasy, Compass, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
Jumbo Dumbo condo claims top Brooklyn contract
Jumbo Dumbo condo claims top Brooklyn contract
(iStock)
Banks, tech among departures sinking Midtown office market
Banks, tech among departures sinking Midtown office market
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...