Army Corps looking into storm protection for the bay

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However, many residents urged the city and the corps to come up with a protection plan for the bay. City Manager Jack Schnirman said in March that the corps was authorized to conduct a separate study of the barrier island’s northern waterfront, explaining that any future storm-mitigation project for the bay would be undertaken separately. The city, he said, had been working with Schumer and U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy to obtain funding from the federal Sandy relief bill to begin that work, along with short-term protection measures for that area, such as the installation of tide-flex valves, through state and federal grants.

“Storm reduction on our bayside is equally as important as storm reduction on our beachside,” said City Council President Scott Mandel. “This City Council has been lobbying for a bayside coastal protection study, and we are extremely appreciative of Senator Schumer's assistance in securing significant funding for this critical study.”

Vietri said the study — which encompasses 31,000 miles along the East Coast — has already begun, and the corps expects to release a report in early 2015.

“The idea behind the study is to identify the risks and look at possible opportunities to mitigate and reduce those risks,” he said, adding that the corps will examine whether tidal closure gates or other storm surge technology that was first proposed for the bay in the 1960s is feasible today. “The technology has improved dramatically and these are the types of things we are going to look at. We’ll look at bulkheads, tidal walls, flood walls and drainage systems, and other issues associated with building into the landscape, but this is all at a very elementary and rudimentary level.”

West Pine Street resident Scott Bochner, co-founder of Sludge Stoppers Task Force, said he hopes a protection plan comes together in the near future. He explained that existing bulkheads along the bay were not high enough to protect against Sandy’s surge. Bochner said that in addition to bulkheads, a storm mitigation plan must address storm drain issues and include the installation of backflow valves.

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