SCHUMER, JEFFRIES, DEUTSCH, TREYGER URGE ARMY CORPS TO FOCUS ON SOUTHERN BROOKLYN COASTAL PROTECTION PROJECTS IN UPCOMING FEASIBILITY REPORT FOR NEW YORK HARBOR; LAWMAKERS SAY SOUTHERN BROOKLYN REMAINS VULNERABLE AND DOESN’T HAVE ANY ADEQUATE LONG-TERM RESILIENCY MEASURES PLANNED BY FEDS; FINAL REPORT MUST INCLUDE PROPOSED MITIGATION FOR BROOKLYN SO COMMUNITIES ARE BETTER PROTECTED IN THE FUTURE
Southern Brooklyn Communities, Including Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Canarsie Were Hard-Hit By Superstorm Sandy; In Some Communities, Floodwaters Reached a Height of Ten Feet, Destroying Homes, Businesses & Infrastructure
Following Superstorm Sandy, Schumer & Jeffries Secured Federal Funding in Sandy-Relief Bill for a 2-Year Comprehensive Study to Identify Areas of Flood Risks Along North Atlantic Coast; Feasibility Study for Protection Projects in New York Will Soon Be Started by Army Corps and Should Include Southern Brooklyn
Lawmakers Urge Army Corps to Make Sure the Study Focuses on and Includes Projects for Southern Brooklyn; Area Currently Does Not Have Adequate Long-Term Federally-Funded Resiliency Projects Planned ; Lawmakers Say These Communities Are In Desperate Need of Mitigation Measures & Southern Brooklyn Should Not Be Ignored by Army Corps
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Council Member Chaim Deutsch and Council Member Mark Treyger today called on the Army Corps of Engineers to include coastal protection projects along the waterfront communities of South Brooklyn. After Schumer’s and Jeffries’s push in Congress, the recently passed FY16 Appropriations bill included federal funding for a New York/New Jersey Harbor feasibility study, which will study and provide recommendations for mitigation and resiliency projects throughout the harbor.
Specifically, the study will examine Sandy-related coastal flooding, test various solutions to prevent such flooding in the future and make a final recommendation on how to best alleviate flooding in these communities. The lawmakers today urged the Army Corps to make sure the study’s final recommendation includes protection projects for Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Canarsie, Coney Island and other communities throughout Southern Brooklyn. The lawmakers explained that these coastal communities have endured significant flooding on numerous occasions and are therefore in desperate need of mitigation measures. These communities do not currently have adequate long-term federally-funded resiliency projects. The Army Corps did complete sand placement on Coney Island Beach following Sandy, but did not study a regional South Brooklyn system of protection as they are doing for Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay and Staten Island’s East and South Shores and as HUD and the City are doing for Lower Manhattan.
“We all remember the significant flooding Superstorm Sandy caused throughout areas in Southern Brooklyn, and it is critical that these communities are not ignored by the Army Corps as they propose mitigation projects throughout New York,” said Senator Schumer. “The need for flood protection throughout Southern Brooklyn must be recognized, and that’s why I’m urging the Army Corps to make sure these vulnerable communities are included in the upcoming recommendation report.”
“SuperStorm Sandy decimated many of the communities I represent throughout Southern Brooklyn, including Seagate & Coney Island. We have come a long way in helping area residents rebuild and repair their lives, but there is much more to be done. The inclusion of Southern Brooklyn in this report is a critical step in that process,” said Rep. Jeffries.
"For more than three years since Hurricane Sandy, my district has suffered from incremental flooding. High tide, sewer backups, and forecasts of stormy weather have the residents of Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, and Brighton Beach living in fear," said Councilman Chaim Deutsch. “As the Army Corps conducts this study, I join with Senator Schumer and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to call on the Army Corps to ensure that Southern Brooklyn is not left behind. Our shoreline is in critical need of resiliency improvements. This study is crucial to determine the vitality of these sections of my district and examine potential improvements to our infrastructure, as well as our protection against future storms.”
Councilman Deutsch continued, “During and after Hurricane Sandy, I brought hundreds of volunteers to our waterfront communities to assist residents with basics such as food, water, clothing, basic every-day essentials, and emergency accommodations. The storm’s destruction took everyone by surprise, and the aftermath demonstrated just how susceptible we are to floodwaters. In the three years since Sandy, I have worked with Mayor de Blasio and Senator Schumer on major recovery efforts. With Build it Back Director Amy Peterson, we achieved 100% reimbursement for 48th Council District applicants who laid out the funds to rebuild their homes. Dozens of homes in the district have already begun elevation construction, and more are scheduled to begin in the coming months. We ensured significant funding to strengthen the resiliency at many of our schools, precincts, and firehouses. We secured hundreds of millions of dollars for Coney Island Hospital to repair and expand their emergency services. Working with NYC Parks, we replenished the sand on our beach, funded additional greenstreets along the waterfront, and set aside money to restore the Sheepshead Bay Piers. Yet we still remain dangerously defenseless against flooding. Our sewers and infrastructure are not resilient, as we saw during high tide this month. This study will be vital to Southern Brooklyn’s future safety and protection, and I look forward to working alongside my colleagues and the Army Corps of Engineers to make our waterfront as durable and strong as the peoples who reside there.”
“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been committed for resiliency work to the Rockaways, to lower Manhattan, and to Staten Island. All Southern Brooklyn has gotten so far is a Coney Island Creek study and some sand. Over three years since Superstorm Sandy and our communities are still vulnerable to another extreme coastal weather event. I have been sounding this alarm since day one. We need a regional coastline protection plan for all of Southern Brooklyn that safeguards life, property, and affordability against climate change and rising sea levels. These resiliency studies and funding have the potential to mitigate rising flood insurance costs, as well. I would like to thank Senator Schumer and Congressman Jeffries for working to alleviate the very real concerns of Southern Brooklyn residents,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency.
According to New York City’s report, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge affected Southern Brooklyn’s oceanfront areas and also via inland waterways. In some areas, floodwaters reached a height of ten feet.
The Sandy Relief Bill included $20 million for a comprehensive study to identify vulnerable coastal populations that were affected by Superstorm Sandy – from Virginia to Maine. The Army Corps’ North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study was made possible through Schumer’s efforts in the Senate to pass a disaster relief bill for New York residents. In this study, the Army Corps concluded that there were nine vulnerable focus areas that needed to be protected, one of which was New York/New Jersey Harbor. At the end of last year, Schumer secured federal funding in the Appropriations bill for a feasibility study in the New York/New Jersey Harbor. The next step is for the Army Corps to study and provide recommendations for mitigation and resiliency projects as part of the New York/New Jersey feasibility study.
Schumer, Jeffries, Deutsch and Treyger today called on the Army Corps to make sure Southern Brooklyn communities are included in the final recommendation report that will soon be released. The lawmakers explained that the Army Corps’ final recommendation report will include a list of proposed resiliency projects that will eventually be constructed in-and-around New York Harbor. The lawmakers went on to say that because Southern Brooklyn was hit so hard by Sandy and does not currently have adequate long-term federally-funded resiliency projects, the final report should make sure that resiliency projects are proposed for these communities so that they are better protected in the event of a future storm.
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