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Sen. Seeks Fed Funds to Shore Up Shoreline

Funds Various Jamaica Bay Projects

Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced he is pushing the federal Department of Interior (DOI) to support five separate projects that will better protect New Yorkers against major weather events like Hurricane Sandy by making Jamaica Bay a more effective buffer against future coastal storms and bolstering resilience along the Rockaway Peninsula.

These five projects-for which the senator is seeking $17.5 million-are a key part of the City of New York’s official application to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grants Program, which will award more than $100 million in grants throughout the region affected by Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy demonstrated how critical Jamaica Bay can be as a natural barrier against storms, and Schumer is urging DOI, which oversees NFWF, to fund these five critical Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Peninsula projects.

“Superstorm Sandy wrought tremendous damage across the communities surrounding Jamaica Bay, but the damage may have been even worse were it not for Jamaica Bay’s natural ability to act as a shield against storms,” said Schumer. “Sometimes our best defense against Mother Nature’s wrath is actually Mother Nature itself, and these five projects will take what is already a natural storm defense and make it even more effective at protecting the homes and livelihoods of thousands of New Yorkers. These five projects are exactly what this grant program was created to fund, and I am urging the Department of Interior to give these the green light as soon as possible.”

Schumer said DOI’s competitive grants program is an opportunity to advance projects that enhance coastal resources and neighborhoods, not only to address serious long-term storm and flood mitigation issues, but also to help victims of Hurricane Sandy in Queens and Brooklyn communities surrounding Jamaica Bay rebuild in a more resilient and sustainable manner.

Queens and Brooklyn communities surrounding Jamaica Bay were seriously impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Critical infrastructure and facilities were damaged, including extensive damage to homes, utility systems, park buildings, roads, piers, docks, waterfronts, parking lots and cultural resources.

The five projects Schumer is supporting to enhance the resilience of Jamaica Bay, the Rockaway peninsula, and its surrounding communities are:

– Sunset Cove Salt Marsh and Maritime Forest Restoration;

– Rockaway East Resiliency Preserve;

– Spring Creek Salt Marsh and Coastal Upland Restoration;

– Jamaica Bay Head Of Bay Oyster Restoration; and

– Jamaica Bay Bathymetric and Sediment Model.

The Sunset Cove Salt Marsh and Maritime Forest Restoration will restore 6.7 acres of salt marsh, enhance 4.5 forest acres, and construct berms on Broad Channel Island in order to restore a vital ecosystem and promote make Broad Channel more resilient during future storm events. New York City is requesting $5 million from DOI for this project.

The Rockaway East Resiliency Preserve (RERP) is a duneconstruction and beach habitat development project in Arverne, an urban area severely impacted by Sandy. The project seeks to designate part of the Arverne Urban Renewal Area as a nature reserve and another part as a beachfront preserve. The proposed double dune would increase protection along the coastline and reduce storm vulnerability for adjacent densely populated areas. New York City is requesting $5 million from DOI for this project.

The Spring Creek Salt Marsh and Coastal Upland Restoration will restore and enhance 11 acres of salt marsh and 16 acres of coastal forest and scrubland in Spring Creek Park, where extensive marshland has been filled and remaining marshes are degraded by debris. These proposed improvements would improve the resiliency of the surrounding Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods in the face of future storms and sea level rise.

New York City is requesting $5 million from DOI for this project.

The Jamaica Bay Head Of Bay Oyster Restoration project will be located in the Northeastern end of Jamaica Bay and seek to establish a self-sustaining oyster population. This oyster population would filter the water, and the constructed oyster bed structure would protect the adjacent shoreline from erosion and future coastal storm surges. New York City is requesting $1.5 million from DOI for this project.

The Jamaica Bay Bathymetric and Sediment Model project would develop and test a model to illustrate and understand sediment transport in Jamaica Bay and its environs. The effort would be specifically designed to answer critical public policy questions regarding the impact of the marsh restoration. New York City is requesting $1 million from DOI for this project.

This group of projects is the first major federal funding package aimed at enhancing Jamaica Bay’s natural resiliency. This Jamaica Bay and Rockaway package is the most significant component of New York City’s grant application, which also includes other projects around the five boroughs.

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