Schumer, Long-Time Supporter of Staten Island Sea Wall Project, Helped Secure Federal Funding In Sandy Relief Bill for Necessary Resiliency Project to Finally Implement Coastline Defense Along East Shore Communities; Schumer Also Successfully Pushed to Expedite Project’s Internal Review Process 

Staten Island Lawmakers Urge Army Corps to Treat Sea Wall Project As a Top Priority; Express Support for Expedited Stamp of Approval

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Congressman Dan Donovan, Borough President Oddo, State Senator Savino, State Senator Lanza, Assemblywoman Malliotakis and Councilman Matteo today called on the Army Corps of Engineers to officially approve plans for the Staten Island Sea Wall Project. The Army Corps’ Staten Island Sea Wall project, that the Staten Island lawmakers have long supported, is studying storm protection measures along sections of the coastline from Fort Wadsworth to Tottenville, including a proposed seawall. Phase 1 of the project covers Ft. Wadsworth to Oakwood. The plans for this project will soon be headed to the North Atlantic Division of the Army Corps and then to headquarters and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for final approval. Staten Island lawmakers are calling on the Army Corps to be ready to approve these plans so that construction can commence on schedule.

“I’ve always said that the Staten Island Sea Wall Project is a top priority for residents and it should be a top priority for the Army Corps. Now that the plans for this project are headed to the Army Corps’ desk, I am calling for its quick approval so that construction can soon move forward,” said Senator Schumer. 

“This seawall is designed to protect life and property from Mother Nature – it goes beyond politics. Republicans, Democrats, and government agencies at every level are collaborating to advance the project on schedule. I ask that the Army Corps make every accommodation to approve the plans quickly so we can move forward to design and construction,” said Rep. Donovan.

Borough President Oddo said, “With the start of the 2016 hurricane season, and a weekend spent watching the track of Tropical Storm Bonnie, it is once again clear that we remain as vulnerable as ever. The long-promised Seawall project is necessary to protect the East Shore communities that are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy. I join my colleagues, led by Senator Schumer, in calling on the Army Corps to approve the plans as quickly as possible.  

State Senator Diane J. Savino said, “I want to commend my colleagues for taking a stand and calling on the Army Corps of Engineering to formally approve plans for the Staten Island Sea Wall Project. With the approval of this study, we will be able to identify potential risk for hurricane and storm damages in the very areas where families almost 4 years later are still dealing with the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. The hope is that once we’re able to identify possible risks, we are better prepared in the event of another natural disaster.”

“Almost four years after Hurricane Sandy ravaged entire neighborhoods on Staten Island and across the East Coast, many people are still not back in their homes and we all remain at risk from future catastrophic storms,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “Our shoreline needs protection as soon as possible and every day without this protection is a needless gamble. I join Senator Schumer, Congressman Donovan and my other Staten Island colleagues in urging the Army Corps to expedite the Staten Island Sea Wall Project As a Top Priority.”

"I remain enthused and grateful that a real, robust coastal storm risk management project is being implemented in Staten Island.  After decades of fear and waiting, the people of these shoreline communities will finally receive the protection they need and deserve.  It is unfortunate that it took a catastrophe like Hurricane Sandy to move this project forward, but we are eager to see this plan finalized and commence with construction," said Assemblywoman Malliotakis.

“Every year, as hurricane season approaches, residents of Staten Island’s East Shore communities are filled with the dread that a storm will destroy their homes – homes they have just rebuilt, or have yet to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy more than three years ago. This seawall project has given them hope that they will not have to fear for the safety of their homes or their well-being again. We in government owe it to them to move this project forward as quickly as possible,” said Councilman Matteo.

The Army Corps’ “Staten Island Sea Wall Project” aims to study the coastline of Staten Island, from Fort Wadsworth to Tottenville, extending along lower New York Bay and Raritan Bay, and identify possible risk management solutions for hurricane and storm damages in the area. The area was seriously damaged during Superstorm Sandy and previous, the area experience major storm damage during the 1992 Noreaster and the March 1993 storm. These storms caused flood damage, loss of structures, large scale evacuations and several deaths within the communities. The area remains vulnerable to future damage.

After Superstorm Sandy, Schumer secured full federal funding in the Sandy Relief Bill for the “Staten Island Sea Wall project” study and the federal share of funding, 65%, for subsequent construction. According to the Army Corps, the study includes a proposed plan of improvement for the Phase 1 area (Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach) which will consist of a system of buried seawalls, floodwall, levee and acquisition, preservation and excavation of natural open space storage. The study is also assessing potential alternatives for the Phase 2 area (Great Kills to Tottenville).  

A copy of their letter is below:

Assistant Secretary Darcy, Lieutenant General Bostick, Brigadier Graham:

We write to communicate our full and unequivocal support for the U.S. Army Corps line of protection planned for Staten Island’s shoreline and to urge Army Corps expeditious approval. Superstorm Sandy wrought unparalleled destruction on our community, claiming 24 lives and thousands of homes. We each speak every day with residents – some of whom lost loved ones – struggling to rebuild their lives and fearful of future catastrophes. As the recovery process continues, our constituents have looked to their government and this project with hope and confidence for a future of reduced flood risk.  Now that the project has started moving through the approval process we urge the Army Corps to make it a top priority and accelerate approval as soon as possible.

As plans for the line of protection advance to the North Atlantic Division, headquarters and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for final approval, we respectfully urge all involved parties to treat this project as a top priority. We consider the Corps’ work to be a critical foundation for the future sustainability of neighborhoods that tens of thousands of Staten Island families call home.

We would be remiss if we failed to commend the U.S. Army Corps District Office for what has so far been a collaborative and productive venture.  The Corps has worked in a coordinated fashion with its partner agencies at each level of government to resolve issues and advance the project. We are optimistic that this collaboration will continue as we pursue our shared mission of completing the line of protection expeditiously.

In sum, we offer our unwavering support for this critical project, and we are united in our commitment to exercising our oversight obligations at the city, state, and federal levels to work to ensure Staten Island’s line of protection advances on schedule. We are grateful for the mountains of work that have pushed the project to this point, and appreciate your cooperation in working collaboratively to quickly and successfully reach future milestones.


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