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Schumer, Long-Time Supporter of Staten Island Sea Wall Project, Helped Secure Federal Funding for Necessary Resiliency Project to Finally Implement Coastline Defense Along East Shore Communities

Army Corps is Finalizing Sea Wall Report and About to Start the Internal Review Process; Schumer Says Army Corps Could & Should Utilize a Newer, Expedited Review Process That Could Shave Months Off  Project Approval Timeline

Schumer: When It Comes to Resiliency Measures on Staten Island, Like The East Shore Seawall, Let’s Cut the Red Tape & Move Forward As Swiftly As Possible

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the overall timeline for the Staten Island Sea Wall Project. The Army Corps’ Staten Island Sea Wall project, that Schumer has 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. Schumer explained that a Project Partnership Agreement for Phase 1, the legally binding agreement necessary to commence with a water resources project, is expected to be executed in early 2017 according to the Army Corp’s current schedule. However, Schumer said that the Army Corps has the means to move forward more quickly by utilizing a new type of internal review process known as a “Director’s Report” and if they choose this route, the PPA could be finalized up to 60 days earlier. Schumer is urging the Army Corps to utilize the “Director’s Report” so that the Sea Wall is expedited.

"When it comes to better protecting Staten Island communities, we should do all we can to cut back on unnecessary delays and red tape so that construction on resiliency projects can begin as quickly as possible,” said Schumer. “The Staten Island Sea Wall Project is a top priority for residents and should be a top priority for the Army Corps. As a long and strong supporter of the Staten Island Sea Wall Project, I am urging the Army Corps to utilize an expedited review process that could allow this important resiliency project to be approved by the end of this year.”

Borough President Oddo said, “The Seawall project is vitally important to the future of the East Shore and those who live in our shore communities, and I support all efforts to expedite it. The project simply must be built as soon as possible to provide the East Shore with the level of protection it needs. Thank you to Senator Schumer for identifying a simple way to get the project underway even quicker. Some Staten Islanders might still doubt that reality of this project; the sooner the project starts the more clear it will be that this protection really is on the way. I am hopeful the Army Corps will consider this reasonable proposal and act on it.” 

Schumer today explained that the next step in the Army Corps’ review process of the Staten Island Sea Wall Project is to finalize the report and initiate internal reviews before authorizing specific construction activities. There are two different types of reports that can be issued: a “Director’s Report” or a “Chief’s Report.”  Schumer explained that a “Director’s Report” is quicker. Therefore, Schumer is urging the Army Corps to move forward with a “Director’s Report,” instead of the typical “Chief’s Report” for the Staten Island Sea Wall Project. According to the Army Corps, the “Director’s Report” does not require a Civil Works Review Board and therefore, expedites the review process because it cuts out this unnecessary step. Currently, the Army Corps is scheduled to execute a Project Partnership Agreement in early 2017. Schumer explained that if the Army Corps moves forward with a “Director’s Report” as opposed to a “Chief’s Report,” the PPA could be finalized up to 60 days earlier.

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).  Previously, Schumer urged the Army Corps to conduct public forums on Staten Island so that impacted residents can review the Army Corps plans and project alternatives and provide experts with necessary community input.