DEC Releases Coastal Green Infrastructure Plan for New York City

Plan Outlines How to Use Natural Features to Protect New York City

New York NY – March 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Under a state-funded plan, coastal green infrastructure will increase resiliency along the Hudson River estuary shoreline and coastal areas of New York City, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and Department of City Planning is jointly managing the project.

“Governor Cuomo has a clear vision for creating resilient communities in New York State and DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program making this vision a reality through this plan,” Commissioner Martens said. “This project demonstrates how to re-imagine resilient coasts while also improving the ecology of our coastal waters. The plan will help protect coastal communities, provide habitat to help sustain our fisheries and provide opportunities to connect New Yorkers to their local waterfront.”

Coastal green infrastructure strategies create, restore or emulate the ability of natural coastal features to reduce erosion and mitigate storm surge, wave action and still-water flooding associated with coastal flood events. This is the first comprehensive summary of scientific knowledge about the design and construction of these strategies – examining what strategies work best – so that projects now being designed for New York Harbor can make use of the most effective natural infrastructure.

DEC staff is identifying ways to meet the needs identified in the plan through the implementation of the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA) including on-the-ground monitoring methods pre- and post-implementation.

Green infrastructure is a major focus of “Reimagining New York for a New Reality,” the Governor’s $17-billion strategy that aims to improve New York’s infrastructure, transportation networks, energy supply, coastal protection, weather warning system and emergency management network. New York City stakeholders are already using the plan to develop concepts for research grant funding opportunities and the plan is framing many of the discussions related to the evaluation and permitting of Rebuild by Design projects in New York City.

“Natural infrastructure is a critical element of the City’s climate resiliency program,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “The research plan announced today establishes an important framework for evaluating natural infrastructure as part of the City’s coastal resiliency measures and will help to advance our understanding of the effectiveness of natural infrastructure. With further research and innovative investments, we will continue to build a stronger, more resilient New York.”

The research plan examined six coastal green infrastructure strategies:

constructed wetlands and maritime forests;
constructed reefs;
constructed breakwater islands;
channel shallowing;
ecologically enhanced bulkheads and revetments; and
living shorelines.
The study confirms that these nature-based strategies reduce storm-surge and erosion and also have valuable ecological benefits. Constructed wetlands and maritime forests, and constructed breakwater islands also reduce everyday erosion from waves and wakes.

Over the year-long project, a team of state and city agencies, academics, non-profits and consultants also prioritized key research needs, such as understanding and mapping how sediment moves through the harbor, where wake action is the strongest and where ice is likely to form. Understanding these factors could have dramatic impacts on design and construction of planned green infrastructure projects in New York City.

The next step is a partnership effort between the DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, NYC Department of City Planning, the New York/New Jersey Harbor and Estuary Program and the Consensus Building Institute to identify the best ways to move the plan forward for cutting edge research on coastal green infrastructure in New York City in the years to come.

NYSDEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program funded the $80,000 study through the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission using funds from the Environmental Protection Fund. ARCADIS and the Stevens Institute of Technology developed the research plan and The Nature Conservancy, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and SCAPE Landscape Architecture participated in conducting the principal research.

The Coastal Green Infrastructure plan can be found on the DEC’s website.

Contact
Press Office – Lori Severino
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-1016
518-402-8000

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