Brooklyn, N.Y. — On the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy striking the Northeast on Oct. 29, 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to move forward with authorized and funded projects, completing the 25th and final Flood Control and Coastal Emergency project and making visible progress in other project areas.
Bulldozers distribute newly-placed sand on Westhampton Beach, N.Y., Nov. 21, 2014. The sand, pumped onto the beach from an approved-offshore borrow site, repaired severe erosion caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. (Photo by James D'Ambrosio)
Together with its federal, state, local and industry partners, the Army Corps' North Atlantic Division, which extends from Maine to the Virginia-North Carolina border and also includes the Europe District, has completed work on 95 coastal storm damage risk reduction projects. Highlighting this effort was full restoration, by December 2014, of all 25 of NAD’s previously constructed beach nourishment projects under the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies program. We also repaired 69 of 86 Sandy-impacted navigation channels and structures along the coast with the balance to be complete by next summer.
“I am immensely proud of the outstanding effort of all of our entire team members," Brig. Gen. William Graham, North Atlantic Division commander, said. “Their selfless professionalism is a testament to our philosophy of 'Mission First, People Always, Team of Teams’”
In the 32 months since federal funds were appropriated, the Corps has placed more than 33 million cubic yards of sand – enough to fill New York City’s Empire State Building 24 times – on identified beaches in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia to restore dunes and berms to their authorized specifications.
Work continues on 16 federally-funded coastal storm risk management studies (including execution of feasibility cost-sharing agreements) – each of which will potentially result in new project construction.
Finally, construction is progressing on nineteen “authorized but not yet constructed” projects that will extend to additional communities the level of protection that was in place when Sandy hit. These beach nourishment projects, similar to those already constructed, were designed and congressionally authorized prior to Sandy but had not been built, or only partially built. One of these is now complete, nine more are in construction, with the remainder ready to build pending coordination with state and local officials.
"Great progress continues to be made across the region with active construction ongoing along the Jersey and New York shoreline. In the coming year, we will build on this momentum further enhancing the region's resiliency and lowering future coastal storms’ risks,” said Joseph Forcina, Chief of the North Atlantic Division’s Sandy Coastal Management Division.
Before Superstorm Sandy made landfall, extensive pre-storm preparations included establishing emergency operation centers, lowering pool elevations behind dams, issuing sandbags, and pre-positioning water and generators. After the storm surge, as part of the unified federal response, the Corps drained 475 million gallons of salt water from flooded critical infrastructure in the New York City metro area; installed more than 200 generators to critical facilities such as hospitals and police stations; removed hurricane debris; refurbished 115 transitional housing units; provided more than 9 million liters of bottled water; and assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in returning affected ports to operation.
Storm risk planning tools
Consistent with the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, the Army Corps collaborated with over 90 federal, state, local government, and non-governmental agencies, tribal partners, and academic organizations on a North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study to assess the flood risks of vulnerable coastal populations in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. This study, which applied a regional framework to reducing risk for vulnerable coastal populations, was submitted to Congress and released to the public in January 2015. Nine new study focus areas resulting from the NACCS will analyze the coastline as a system to develop the most effective solutions in the future. The NACCS framework can be used not only in planning the future protection of the 31,000-mile NAD coastline affected by Sandy, but for customization by other U.S. coastal areas –even other countries— managing similar risks.
To learn more about the North Atlantic Division’s Sandy recovery progress and future plan, visit www.usace.army.mil/Sandy.