Fed & City Lawmakers Lobby For Flood Resileincy Projects In Southern Brooklyn

President of the homeowners association at Sea Gate Pinny Dembitzer surveys the Sea Gate Neighborhood on November 4, 2012. The community suffered major Flooding and damage.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Central Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, and City Council Members Chaim Deutsch and Mark Treyger today called on the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to include Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Canarsie and Coney Island among other Southern Brooklyn communities to get federal flood resiliency and protection projects.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

The projects should come to fruition after Schumer and Jeffries succeeded in allocating funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to do a New York/New Jersey Harbor feasibility study as part of the recently passed FY16 Appropriations bill.

 

Specifically, the study will examine Sandy-related coastal flooding, test various solutions to prevent such flooding in the future and make a final recommendation on how to best alleviate flooding in these communities.

The lawmakers explained that these coastal communities have endured significant flooding on numerous occasions and are therefore in desperate need of mitigation measures.  These communities do not currently have adequate long-term federally-funded resiliency projects.  The Army Corps did complete sand placement on Coney Island Beach following Sandy, but did not study a regional South Brooklyn system of protection as they are doing for Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay and Staten Island’s East and South Shores and as HUD and the City are doing for Lower Manhattan.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

“We all remember the significant flooding Superstorm Sandy caused throughout areas in Southern Brooklyn, and it is critical that these communities are not ignored by the Army Corps as they propose mitigation projects throughout New York,” said Schumer. “The need for flood protection throughout Southern Brooklyn must be recognized, and that’s why I’m urging the Army Corps to make sure these vulnerable communities are included in the upcoming recommendation report.”

“SuperStorm Sandy decimated many of the communities I represent throughout Southern Brooklyn, including Seagate & Coney Island. We have come a long way in helping area residents rebuild and repair their lives, but there is much more to be done. The inclusion of Southern Brooklyn in this report is a critical step in that process,” said Jeffries.

Deutsch noted that for more than three years since Hurricane Sandy, his district including Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach has suffered from incremental flooding. High tide, sewer backups, and forecasts of stormy weather have residents from these communities living in fear, he said.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch
City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

“As the Army Corps conducts this study, I join with Senator Schumer and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to call on the Army Corps to ensure that Southern Brooklyn is not left behind. Our shoreline is in critical need of resiliency improvements. This study is crucial to determine the vitality of these sections of my district and examine potential improvements to our infrastructure, as well as our protection against future storms,” he said.

Treyger, whose district includes Coney Island said that hundreds of millions of dollars have been committed for resiliency work to the Rockaways, to lower Manhattan, and to Staten Island, but all Southern Brooklyn has gotten so far is a Coney Island Creek study and some sand.

“Over three years since Superstorm Sandy and our communities are still vulnerable to another extreme coastal weather event. I have been sounding this alarm since day one. We need a regional coastline protection plan for all of Southern Brooklyn that safeguards life, property, and affordability against climate change and rising sea levels. These resiliency studies and funding have the potential to mitigate rising flood insurance costs, as well. I would like to thank Senator Schumer and Congressman Jeffries for working to alleviate the very real concerns of Southern Brooklyn residents,” Treyger, Chair of the City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency.

City Councilman Mark Treyger
City Councilman Mark Treyger

According to New York City’s  report, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge affected Southern Brooklyn’s oceanfront areas and also via inland waterways. In some areas, floodwaters reached a height of ten feet.

No time line for when the feasibility study would be completed and recommendations would be made were available at post time.

 

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