Storm Surge – Real or Fiction 

Five years after Super Storm Sandy, are we better today?

The coastal resiliency storm surge barrier boat tour carried elected officials, scientists and engineers to learn how agencies have responded to the real threat of future storms. The destructive regional impact from Super Storm Sandy on New York and the New Jersey Metropolitan area and Long Island is still felt today.

Professor Malcolm Bowman chairman and founder of the New York New Jersey Metropolitan Storm Surge said, we live and work in a city built on an ocean. All these buildings and skyscrapers are built on an ocean. We are surrounded by water. There is a difference in sea level and storm surge, we need a storm surge barrier. When Sandy happened, it was a combination of the storm’s wind, full moon high tide and the lack of defenses. Which caused hundreds of homes to be destroyed. Sandy damaged entire neighborhoods and left many without power. There have been projects and plans put forth to insure that our region is storm resilient, plans with flood gates, and other types of barriers. None have been constructed to date.

Mr. Bowman predicted, “The question is not “if” a catastrophic hurricane or nor’easter will hit New York, but when.” We have to be better prepared said Bowman. There have been steps taken to infrastructure including subways and tunnel entrances, but patchwork and little response is not what is needed, we need bigger solutions.Bill Golden president of the National Institute for Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure stated with great urgency, we are dealing with a regional issue. This is how important a regional system is to the city; take a look at the amount of influential people who attended our conference in 2017 May . Yesterday’s boat tour, we couldn’t accommodate the amount of RSVP’s. We had to cap the invites as we just did not have the room.

We must work regionally to get this system in place, or we move the Statue of Liberty to Bayonne. Millions of tourists visit NYC each year, they come to see New York. The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the many historical landmarks of this great city. What impact would it have on our state, if there were no tourist attractions?

Mr. Golden’s mission for this two hour boat tour aboard Classic Harbor Lines, was to continue to gather support for a much needed proposal to build a set of barriers, including below the Verrazano Narrows to block the ocean from coming into our harbor. A second barrier designed to prevent what happened during Sandy 2012, which caused the Long Island Sound to rush into our east river severely effecting Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. “if barriers were in place we would have experienced just another windy day”. We are planning for protection into the next century with a regional barrier to hold back the water.

Speaking with Gale Brewer Manhattan Borough President-all communities are connected, we do not know when another storm will come. We have to make a change we have to prepare now. I urge you to get out and call your congress person and elected officials, let your voice be heard.

Catherine McVay Hughes former chairwoman for community board 1- “We are here five years after Sandy and there’s no plan in place for Lower Manhattan. There’s still so much more to do!”

In May 2017 National Institute for Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure (NICHI) and the Metro New York-New Jersey Storm Surge Working Group (SSWG)  met to discuss “Keeping the Water Out and the Lights On”.

The conference co-sponsors included the Port Authority of NY & NJ, Regional Plan Association, New Jersey Future, The Waterfront Alliance, Cameron Engineering and Associates, Chelsea Piers, Waterside Plaza, Manhattan Borough President, The Alliance for Downtown New York, the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, Stony Brook University, Columbia University, and Society for American Military Engineers, Howard Hughes Corp., Standard and Poors, Goldman Sachs and others.

The conference focused on the urgent need to investigate the role that a regional system of movable surge barriers could play in creating layered defense, to protect the metropolitan area from storm surges and sea level rise. This system would be designed to work in tandem with planned local barriers and other strategies.This system will protect and maintain Metropolitan NJ-NY-LI as a safe, secure and thriving world center of finance, urban innovation, transportation, science, medicine, history, culture and recreation well into the next century.

For more information go to-https://www.nichiusa.org/

READERS- we urge you to contact your congress people and elected officials. New York, NJ and the metropolitan area will be effected. This is your home!

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