Sierra Club: U.S Army Corp Project Will Lead to More Flooding in NJ & NY Bay

U.S Army Corp Project Will Lead to More Flooding in NJ & NY Bay

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New York District, and partner agencies will be holding a public meeting at the Meadowlands Environmental center tonight from 5pm-7pm. They are requesting input regarding the NY & NJ Harbors and Tributaries Study. Their proposal includes a giant steel and concrete barrier that would supposedly prevent an ocean surge from flooding waterfront areas. The gates are used in other countries and kept open until an approaching storm threatens the area. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:

 

“When you look at this plan, the U.S Army Corp. has learned nothing from all the storms and floods that have inundated our coast and country. They keep wanting to control nature by building massive structures which is a fool’s errand. Once again, the Army Corp. talk about barriers and walls that will not work. At best it gives us false hope until the next storm. Virtually every Army Corp. project has failed at some time because they plan for the pervious storm, not the next storm. This plan will cause environmental destruction and degradation. New Jersey needs to create a comprehensive approach to the shore that includes mitigation of climate change, adaptation for sea level rise, and restoration of natural systems.

“Not only will this plan destruct coastal wetlands and remove parkland, but it will allow pollution to be trapped near communities while destroying the functionality of the Hudson River. It will cause stagnation of water, prevent fisheries from thriving, and cause a plethora of other environmental problems. Manmade structures like sea walls will cause more beach erosion, raise the level of the storm surges, and send the water around the sea walls that gets to the dunes, causing more flooding and pollution in other places. When you build seawalls, it will actually raise the flood levels and overtop structures. This will stop the flushing of Bays and tidal areas, keeping pollutants trapped such as toxic sediments from the Passaic River.

“Instead of wasting upwards billions of dollars on structures that don’t work, we need to be taking a multi-state approach to tackling sea level rise and climate change. These massive barriers will not help reduce the impacts of rising sea levels and increased storm surges. Instead, we’ll see a restriction of the natural ecology including tidal flow and fish migration. This will lead to decreased water quality for the communities in New York and New Jersey.

“The plan will cost over $110 billion and the states have to come up with a third of that. Which means New Jersey’s share could be $15-$20 million. There are cheaper and better holistic approaches for flood management and resiliency. The state does not currently have a program that requires towns to protect and maintain their dunes, which is what we need. Money funded by tax payers should not go to town projects such as flood walls, but towards more sustainable projects like dune restoration. We also should be buying out property of flood prone areas, and rebuilding in a more sustainable manner including pulling back from the shore where we can. Otherwise we are washing millions of dollars out to sea.”

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