In the race to prevent damage and destruction from the rising tide of climate change, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a recommendation: raise 14,000 homes along Long Island’s South Shore.
The plan is one of several coming from a $6 million Nassau County Back Bays study focused on preventing flooding along the shore. Another recommendation is to flood-proof 2,500 business and industrial buildings near the water, according to Newsday.
Those affected by the proposed changes make up half of the Nassau County population. Approximately 350,000 people and 100,000 assets with an estimated total worth of $60 billion were considered in the study.
Other recommendations include raising businesses and industrial buildings three feet off the ground and better protecting walls, windows and doors from potential storm surges.
The report comes the same day Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced several construction initiatives aimed at protecting homes and businesses on the South Shore from flooding. ABC7 reported the projects included installing self-regulating tidal gates and reconstructing drainage systems in addition to elevating and reinforcing areas of Silver Lake Park in Staten Island.
The study’s suggestion to raise tens of thousands of homes is estimated to top out at more than $3 billion. The Army Corps is set to detail more of the plans during a series of upcoming virtual meetings before the plans face approval from local and national officials, as well as a vote from Congress.
It’s not clear how the bill for these improvements would be footed. Similar projects in the past have seen 65 percent come from the federal level and 35 percent from the local level, but no funding decision has been made for this project, Newsday reports.
The study was commissioned five years ago after storm surges and flooding caused about $65 billion of damage to the South Shore as a result of Superstorm Sandy. That could only be the beginning of the costs of climate change, according to the study, which projects an estimated $1 billion in damage every year without improvements.
Surge barriers and tidal gates don’t appear to be under consideration, though, after the study determined that they failed to reduce water levels and even increased the potential for flooding in certain areas.
[Newsday] — Holden Walter-Warner