SCHUMER CALLS FOR FEDERAL HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF FUNDS TO BUILD BREEZY POINT DUNES; NEW DOUBLE-DUNE SYSTEM WOULD SAVE LIVES AND PROTECT HOMES DURING FUTURE STORMS

Breezy Point Community Lacks Critical Protection Measures Already Under Way for Rest of Rockaway Pennisula—More Than 300 Homes Destroyed and 2,000 Flooded by Sandy
Proposed Coastline Protection Project Will Make Breezy Point Residents Safer and the Community More Resistant and Resilient to Future Storms; Plan Is NYC’s Top Mitigation Priority for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
Schumer: With Congressionally-Funded Army Corps Protection Project Moving Forward for the Rest of Rockaway, We Must Finish the Dune Line and Protect Breezy Point from Future Damage

New York, NY – December 10, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called for federal Hurricane Sandy relief funds to be used to create a new dune flood-protection system in Breezy Point that would make its residents safer and enable the community to be better prepared to withstand subsequent storms. Similar dune protection systems are already under way across the rest of the Rockaway Peninsula, but not yet at the far-western end, which leaves this community exposed to future storms. The project, recently submitted by the City of New York as its top priority to FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) would cost approximately $58 million and consist of the evaluation and construction of a primary and secondary dune system and other protective measures in Breezy Point that would protect future storm surges. These storm-protection methods were not in place when Hurricane Sandy hit, which led to tremendous storm-surge damage throughout the community.

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“For communities close to the water, dunes and bay-side protections are essential first-lines of defense against killer storms. That is why we prioritized federal funding to build dunes and groins, seawalls and more for the rest of the Rockaway Peninsula. And now we must complete that essential line of defense by building a first-class dune and bay-side system at Breezy Point, too,” said Schumer. “Breezy Point residents have been through profound hardship over the past year, so whatever we can do to help this community recover from the storm and build systems that will enable them to avoid similar damage in the future is smart and cost-effective, and that is why New York City has made this project its top priority for the FEMA mitigation program.”

“Our coastal communities are vulnerable to rising sea levels and worsening storm surges that place countless lives directly in the path of danger,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05). “Super Storm Sandy highlighted the need for preventative measures including new dune flood-protections systems to ensure the safety of the community and our infrastructure. I join with my colleagues in calling for adequate protection of the entire Rockaway peninsula to safe guard against storms that in the future could be stronger and more destructive.”

“Few areas were as hard hit by Sandy in this state than Breezy Point was,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. “Many of my constituents are still seeking assistance in returning to their homes. Given the unique geographic location of Breezy Point and its susceptibility to storm damage, I believe federal assistance in implementing a resiliency project which includes dunes, seawalls and other storm damage mitigation measures is a rational and much-needed move.”

“We need to protect our most vulnerable communities to ensure a full recovery for all residents,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Breezy Point). “The much-needed federal funding for this project would not only provide relief for the families of Breezy Point, but it will also ensure that the entire Rockaway Peninsula is adequately prepared for future storms. I commend Senators Schumer for making the safety of our families a top priority and for his continuous advocacy on behalf of all our families.”

Breezy Point was hit extremely hard by Hurricane Sandy. In total, approximately 215 homes were destroyed by storm surges, and 135 homes were destroyed by a fire that broke out in the community. Flooding damaged an additional 2,100 homes. As of today, about half of the approximately 3,000 families who live in Breezy Point still have not returned to their homes.

The Breezy Point Risk Mitigation Project is a critical part of barrier island protection for both the Breezy Point community and the Jamaica Bay watershed and floodplain. The proposed project has two principal components – a double dune system on the ocean side of the community and new protective measures on the bay side. The objective of the proposed double dune system is to provide sustainable, natural flood and erosion protection utilizing natural protective features such as beaches, dunes, beach vegetation and the barrier island. The dune will be designed to withstand the forces associated with a 100-year flood height, as indicated on FEMA’s latest maps, plus sea level rise (2.58feet) over the life of the project and provide long term, sustainable protection.

The principal need at Breezy Point along the ocean side is to provide a double dune system where the primary dune (most seaward dune) can survive the wave impact of a coastal storm and the secondary dune (the landward dune) can provide flood protection from storm surge. On the bay side a series of flood and erosion protection devises, including baffle walls, T-groins, sheet pile and beach fill are needed.

The Breezy Point area was excluded from the US Army Corps of Engineers Rockaway Beach project, which ends at Beach 149th Street, approximately 2.6 miles east of Breezy Point. The Breezy Point community begins at approximately Beach 200th Street. There is currently no active federal, State or City flood or protection project in the Breezy Point community.

Schumer today called for federal funds to be used for a Breezy Point storm protection plan to ensure that the residents who have returned to Breezy Point – as well as those who will return in the weeks and months ahead – will have more protections in place to guard against damage during future storms. The plan supported by Breezy Point Cooperative includes dunes, seawalls, floodwalls and a storm water control and pump system.

The full text of Senator Schumer’s letter appears below:

Dear Administrator Fugate,

As you know, Breezy Point, New York was hit extremely hard by Hurricane Sandy last year. In total, approximately 215 homes were destroyed by storm surges, and 135 homes were destroyed by a fire that broke out in the community. Flooding damaged an additional 2,100 homes. As of today, about half of the approximately 3,000 families who live in Breezy Point still have not returned to their homes.

I write to urge you to approve the City of New York’s (NYC) request for $50 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding for the evaluation and construction of a primary and secondary dune system to protect vulnerable neighborhoods on the Rockaway Peninsula, including Breezy Point. This flood protection project in Breezy Point would make its residents safer and enable the community to be better prepared to withstand subsequent storms. The Breezy Point community has lacked critical protection measures from storm surges and flooding for far too long, and during Sandy hundreds of homes were destroyed while thousands experienced severe flooding. HMGP funding for this project is essential to help a highly vulnerable community become stronger and more resilient against future extreme weather events and protect against loss of life and property.

The proposed Double Dune System project for the Rockaway Peninsula would evaluate and construct a primary and secondary dune system to protect vulnerable neighborhoods, particularly Breezy Point. The proposed project has two principal components – a double dune system on the ocean side of the community and new protective measures on the bay side. The objective of the proposed double dune system is to provide sustainable, natural flood and erosion protection utilizing natural protective features such as beaches, dunes, beach vegetation and the barrier island. The dune will be designed to withstand the forces associated with a 100-year flood height, as indicated on FEMA’s latest maps, plus sea level rise (2.58feet) over the life of the project and provide long term, sustainable protection. These storm-protection methods were not in place when Hurricane Sandy hit, which led to tremendous storm-surge damage throughout the community. Neighborhoods on the peninsula suffered devastating damage from Superstorm Sandy and remain highly vulnerable and susceptible to the effects of extreme weather, especially along the ocean coast. Redundancy of dunes would protect this community against storm surge waves and severe flooding that poses a tremendous threat to the peninsula.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and all of the work you do in helping New York’s recovery from one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

U.S. Senator



 


 

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