PRESS RELEASE: Harmful Impacts from Proposed Storm Surge Barriers

Save the Sound tells Army Corps:

Long Island Sound and Its Coastal Communities Will Likely Experience Unique Harmful Impacts from Proposed Storm Surge Barriers

In response to surge barriers proposed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to protect New York City from storm surges, Save the Sound and 18 other signatories have submitted comments to the federal agency expressing concerns about potential environmental and safety impacts. The signatories include leading scientists, businesses, civic organizations, educational institutions, and not-for-profit organizations.

Tracy Brown, director of Save the Sound, states, “Surge barriers will likely result in induced flooding in ‘outside-the-barrier communities’ from the deflection of storm surge, as well as other adverse impacts on quality of life and the health of our waterways.”

Additional concerns include:

  • Sea barriers in Western Long Island Sound will restrict tidal flushing and alter patterns of exchange between fresh and salt water, and sedimentation.
  • The functionality of in-water surge barriers is limited, as they only address storm surge (not sea level rise) and have a limited life span.
  • The 3x3x3 Rule, which limits the time and money that can be spent on any Army Corps Feasibility Study, is forcing a “fast-track” approach to this massive project which is detrimental to achieving the best possible outcome.
  • Environmental and human impacts of in-water surge barriers in estuaries must be more fully evaluated and understood.

Save the Sound recognizes the urgent need for robust measures to protect coastal communities from strengthening storm surges and sea level rise under the reality of our changing climate. We urge the Army Corps to undertake a more thorough economic and environmental analysis of the proposed alternatives, and to consider likely impacts throughout the entire affected area, including Long Island Sound and its shoreline communities.

In conclusion, Save the Sound recommends and exemption from the 3x3x3 Rule for this project, more thorough analysis, and a focus on shoreline-based measures that address both sea level rise and storm surge.

 

Review Save the Sound comments >

 

Signatories:

Tracy Brown, Director, Save the Sound

Western Connecticut Council of Governments

Jayme Stevenson, First Selectman, Town of Darien

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment

Dr. Sarah C. Crosby, Marine Ecologist, Resident of Greenwich, CT

Mystic Aquarium

Carol DiPaolo, Programs Director and Water-Monitoring Coordinator,

Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor

David Spader, Secretary, Board of Directors, Kuder Island Colony, Inc.

Jack Brewer, Founder of Brewer Yacht Yards, Co-Founder of Safe Harbor Marinas

Douglas Manor Environmental Association

Ana Paula Tavares, Executive Director, Audubon New York

Kathryn Heintz, Executive Director, NYC Audubon

Anne Swaim, Executive Director, Saw Mill River Audubon

Sandra Morrissey, President, Bronx River – Sound Shore Audubon Society

Peggy Maslow, President, North Shore Audubon Society

South Shore Audubon Society

Eric Swenson, Executive Director, Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee

Heather Johnson, Executive Director, Friends of the Bay

Dr. Timothy Eaton, Associate Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Queens College City University of New York

 

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