FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2012
SCHUMER URGES FEMA TO EXPEDITE AID PROCESS FOR STATEN ISLAND’S WOLFE’S POND, DAMAGED BY HURRICANE IRENE
Though Hurricane Irene Left Wolfe’s Pond Significantly Damaged Nine Months Ago, FEMA Has Not Completed Essential Project Review
Schumer Calls on FEMA to Approve the Pond’s Berm Project – Berm Serves As Critical Buffer Between the Pond and the Ocean
Schumer: Let’s Restore Wolfe’s Pond to Its Former Glory
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expedite the process of an outstanding project worksheet related to repair and restoration work at Wolfe’s Pond on Staten Island, which had been damaged by Hurricane Irene nine months ago. When Hurricane Irene hit New York State in August 2011, Wolfe’s Pond, a 16-acre fresh water pool, was hit particularly hard by this storm. What was once a pristine and picturesque pond, parkland, and beach has been reduced to a mud-filled hole. Since that time, while FEMA has studied approving federal reconstruction work at the Pond, it has yet to give its final sign-off on reconstruction of the berm that protected the pond from the ocean. Senator Schumer urged FEMA to quickly approve the project so that work can begin as soon as possible.
“Wolfe’s Pond is a Staten Island treasure, but unfortunately Hurricane Irene has turned this once beautiful site into nothing more than a mud-filled hole,” said Schumer. “It’s been nine months, and FEMA still has yet to give final approval to this essential restoration project. Staten Island deserves better, and that’s why I’m calling on FEMA to move quickly to approve the project so the City can begin restoration of this important site with the confidence of knowing that all projects will be reimbursed by the federal government.”
Wolfe’s Pond is a 16-acre fresh water pool just yards away from the Atlantic Ocean. New York City’s Parks Department acquired the pond in 1929 and built an embankment to reinforce the natural barrier that kept the fresh water from mixing with the salt water. In its heyday, it became one of Staten Island’s largest parks, and a home to a wide variety of wildlife. However, Hurricane Irene caused salt water to breach the berm that had protected the pond, and the results have been devastating. The damage has left this pond a mud hole – unattractive to both human and animal visitors.
In March, the Parks Department announced that FEMA was reviewing the case, and while FEMA has approved three project worksheets for Wolfe’s Pond, it has yet to give final approval for the fourth and most vital piece of the project, restoration of the berm. Senator Schumer today urged FEMA to expedite the approval process to ensure that the historic area of Wolfe’s Pond is returned to their former state as quickly as possible.
A copy of Schumer’s letter is below.
June 12, 2012
The Honorable Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20472
Dear Administrator Fugate:
I write today to urge FEMA to expedite any outstanding project worksheets pertaining to the damages inflicted by Hurricane Irene on New York City’s Wolfe’s Pond.
As you know, New York City was not spared from the wrath of Hurricane Irene. FEMA has projected the City has more than 400 public assistance projects that will need federal assistance, totaling more than $100 million. Wolfe’s Pond, a 16-acre fresh water pool, was hit particularly hard by this storm. What was once a pristine and picturesque pond, parkland, and beach has been reduced to a mud-filled hole.
It is absolutely imperative that we bring communities in New York and in other disaster-ravaged locations back to pre-disaster conditions as quickly as possible, and at this time I respectfully urge you to expedite the processing of any outstanding project worksheets related to repair and restoration work at Wolfe’s Pond. I thank you for your consideration of this important request and for your continued dedication to helping New Yorkers recover from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my staff at 202-224-6542.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator