Post-Sandy Safeguard For Breezy Pt.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Rep. Gregory Meeks announced last week a $58.2 million plan for a comprehensive flood protection system for Breezy Point in the Rockaways.
The governor and congressman urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to approve the proposal, which was submitted last Thursday, Mar. 20, to the agency for consideration under its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
“Superstorm Sandy brought an unprecedented level of damage to Breezy Point, and as we rebuild from that tragedy, we must do so in a way that makes us stronger in the face of future storms,” Cuomo said. “This plan was developed by the local community, is designed to meet the challenges of extreme weather, and will go a long way toward creating a community that is safer and more resilient than ever before. I urge our federal partners to help us move this proposal forward.”
“I am delighted to partner with Governor Cuomo in urging FEMA to approve the proposal for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for Breezy Point. Our coastal communities are vulnerable to rising sea levels and worsening storm surges that place countless lives directly in the path of danger,” added Meeks. “These preventative measures will save lives as well as, go a long way to protecting a community that was heavily damaged during Superstorm Sandy and ensuring that this type of destruction does not happen again. I am confident that with the help of the governor, all our communities on the Rockaway Peninsula will emerge from the shadows of this storm stronger and more resilient than ever.”
Located on the westernmost end of the Rockaway Peninsula, Breezy Point suffered significant damage during Hurricane Sandy. Waves struck from the Atlantic Ocean, while rising waters poured into the community from Jamaica Bay. The storm also damaged electrical power systems, sparking fires that ultimately consumed 135 homes.
Overall, approximately 350 homes were lost as a result of Sandy, more than 10 percent of the community’s roughly 2,700 houses.
The proposed dune system, which would continue the existing dune line located on the Atlantic side of the cooperative’s property, will provide sustainable, natural flood and erosion protection utilizing the area’s natural features. The plan is comprised of an ocean side double dune system and complementary set of bayside flood and erosion protections that are designed to safeguard the community from future storm events.
The dune will be designed to withstand the forces associated with a 100-year flood height as indicated on FEMA’s latest maps and the projected risk of sea level rise (2.58 feet) at that location over the life of the project. It will provide long term, sustainable protection without the need for frequent maintenance. The estimated cost of the double dune system is $20.6 million.
Many of the projects adopted by Breezy Point’s NY Rising Community Reconstruction Committee will work together with the proposed comprehensive coastal protection system to further protect this community.
These measures will be complimented, on the bayside in Breezy Point and Roxbury, by the construction of bay walls and groins which are proven to combat flood and erosion respectively. The estimated cost of bayside protection is $37.6 million.
During the recovery and reconstruction process following a federally declared disaster such as Hurricane Sandy, FEMA provides HMGP funds for states to administer grant programs that mitigate the vulnerability of life and property to future disasters.
The grant program is aimed at increasing the state’s resiliency, mitigating the risks of loss and damage associated with future disasters, and reducing hardship. FEMA funds provide 75 percent reimbursement of eligible project costs.