Proposal helps flood problem, nature, in Jamaica Bay

By Sadef Ali Kully

A project dedicated to providing resilient design proposals for hurricane protection and climate adaptation released plans for four vulnerable coasts across the North Atlantic region, which includes Jamaica Bay at an exhibit in Brooklyn.

The project, Structures of Coastal Resilience, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, unveiled proposals for Jamaica Bay; Narragansett Bay, R.I.; Atlantic City, N.J; and Norfolk, Va.

Structures of Coastal Resilience proposals are the result of collaborations between distinguished groups of engineers, scientists, architects, landscape architects, and scholars. Each project focuses on locations prone to flooding and lower-income homes.

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy highlighted the vulnerability of urban coastal areas to the effects of catastrophic storms and climate change,” said Guy Nordenson, project director for Structures of Coastal Resilience. “Coastal communities must adapt planning strategies to mitigate the risk posed by these natural hazards. These proposals match the latest science with urban and landscape design to propose actionable solutions for protecting vulnerable coastal regions.”

The proposals are part of the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study, which was formed as part of a group of federal initiatives enacted in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and addresses the addresses the flood risks to coastal populations.

Jamaica Bay, located on the southern end of Brooklyn and Queens, is a 20,000-acre water body along the south shore of Long Island. A rich ecological resource, its 85,000 acres of watershed provides a diverse habitat complex with saltmarsh islands, grasslands, maritime forests, and woodlands.

Sea level rise and increased nitrogen levels have caused the loss of intertidal saltmarsh island acreage in the bay and compromised its capacity to reduce wave impact, surge velocity, wind fetch forces, and flood extents – leading to extensive damage during Hurricane Sandy, according to the proposal.

The Jamaica Bay proposal approached vulnerability and coastal storm risk management by merging environment restoration with nature-based features, consisting of three design strategies: the improvement of water quality, flow and circulation throughout the bay, the enhancement of coastal edges of communities surrounded by the bay, and the development of a ring-shaped reef, island or chain of islands formed of coral known as atoll.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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