Nine years after Sandy, Queens, Brooklyn Congress members call for Jamaica Bay protections

Marking the ninth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Queens and Brooklyn members of Congress are urging funding to protect communities around Jamaica Bay. (QNS file photo by Christina Santucci)

On the ninth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy — which devastated low-lying coastal communities that surround Jamaica Bay when it crashed ashore on Oct. 29, 2012 — Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and members of the New York Congressional delegation representing Queens and Brooklyn sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting already approved funds be used on ecosystem restoration projects to benefit the bay.

“While it’s been nearly a decade since Superstorm Sandy, many Americans continue to feel its devastating effects. Today, the Jamaica Bay area remains vulnerable to extreme weather events,” the members wrote. “We were reminded of this disturbing fact last month, when Hurricane Ida and its remnants caused torrential downpours and significant flooding in low-lying neighborhoods, tragically killing 16 people in New York. The storm demonstrated that our constituents and local businesses remain at risk, and the communities we represent need more assistance.”

In September, Congress passed, and President Joe Biden signed into law, a Disaster Supplemental to provide $28.6 billion in relief funding, including $100 million for high-priority projects in states that were affected by Hurricane Ida.

QNS file photo by Christina Santucci

The Spring Creek South Ecosystem Restoration and Coastal Storm Risk Management Study is a high priority for New York City constituents who would significantly benefit from the proposed measure, the representatives wrote in the letter.

“The Spring Creek South study will recommend a comprehensive, integrated solution to provide Howard Beach residents with a resilient and environmentally sustainable shoreline, providing long-needed storm risk management benefits and restoring critical habitat,” they wrote.

Jeffries was joined by Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand along with Representatives Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Nydia Velázquez and Jerrold Nadler.

They also called for full funding of The Stony Creek Marsh Island project, within Jamaica Bay, which will restore a total of 62 acres of habitat, including 49 acres of wetland, 3.5 acres of scrub/shrub and 1.4 acres of channel habitats, while providing critical secondary coastal storm risk management benefits to the adjacent communities.

“These two projects represent significant steps in our efforts to protect vulnerable New Yorkers from the threat of future coastal storms and provide critical ecosystem services to Jamaica Bay and the neighborhoods that surround it,” they wrote. “Therefore, we respectfully request that you provide full funding for both projects in your plan for the Disaster Supplemental.”