MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s weekly radio address
New York City’s waterfront is an incredible resource that contributes to the great quality of life we New Yorkers enjoy. It’s also a backyard for millions of families and our first line of defense against future storms and flooding. We’re hard at work strengthening those defenses – including in the Rockaways and nearby Jamaica Bay, where last week we made major progress on several initiatives that will make the area more resilient than ever, as well as benefit our entire city for decades to come.
The first is our work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete an all-out sand replenishment effort in the Rockaways. It will help fulfill one of the pledges we outlined in “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” our comprehensive plan to protect our city from the effects of climate change. In the next couple of months, the Army Corps will bring about 3.5 million- cubic-yards of sand to Rockaway Beach, and last week I visited the beach with Parks Commissioner Veronica White to inspect our progress. A first phase of about 600,000-cubic- yards of sand is being pumped now from Beach 89th to Beach 149th Streets.
Replenishing the sand at Rockaway Beach complements our earlier work there, including building a series of protective walls and installing sand-filled “trap bags” that will serve as the core for a new dune. Together, these measures will not only reverse damage to the beach done by Sandy – they will make the beach stronger than it was before the storm, and more protective for nearby communities.
Rebuilding our beaches is vitally important; but in addition to building back stronger, we’re also continuing the coastal protection work that we began before Sandy struck. That includes our effort to both protect one of our great natural treasures – Jamaica Bay – and create a world-class Science and Resiliency Institute there whose focus will be protecting and preserving urban ecosystems from development and from the effects of climate change.
Last summer, the city and the National Park Service signed a historic cooperative agreement for co-managing Jamaica Bay’s 10,000 acres of federal and city-owned parkland. I joined Interior Secretary Sally Jewel to announce the formal establishment of the new Jamaica Bay – Rockaway Parks Conservancy. The organization will help raise funds for the parkland covered by the agreement, collaborate with the community on programming, and help promote the parkland as a destination. We also announced that a consortium led by the City University of New York, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, will head the new Science and Resiliency Institute at Jamaica Bay. The Institute will serve as a coordinating body for the fieldwork taking place around the bay, and provide lab space for researchers and students. We expect the Institute’s work will do a lot to help reduce dangers to our city from future storms, and help other cities around the world confront the challenges of climate change as well.
From restoring our coastline to establishing a new ecology research center, we’re helping to prepare our city for all the climate risks we face, both now and in the future.