Climate Adaptation and Preparing for Long-Term Resilience – Living Breakwaters and Other Relevant Projects

Kevin Smith, Project Manager, Ramboll

Bob Bowers, Division Officer, Ramboll

Johan Anested, Project Manager, Ramboll

Ramboll has undertaken several resiliency projects across Europe and around the world, and several climate adaptation projects are now underway in the Americas, as well. Once limited to hardscape infrastructure, resiliency projects are moving rapidly toward green infrastructure, as it is often more cost effective and takes into account whole community solutions instead of focusing on just one aspect. These projects have benefited clients in many ways in addition to providing resilience, including improving water quality, enhancing public greenspace, and increasing natural habitats for various wildlife.

One such project is the Living Breakwaters project in Staten Island. Living Breakwaters is a green infrastructure coastal resiliency project that reduces risk associated with climate change and sea level rise by attenuating wave energy, shoreline restoration and erosion reduction, social resiliency, and ecological enhancement via constructed oyster reefs and tide pools.

The southern shore of Staten Island was decimated by the storm surge from Superstorm Sandy, resulting in significant loss of life and property. Living Breakwaters was proposed by SCAPE Landscape Architecture, won HUD’s Rebuild by Design competition, and is being implemented via a Community Development Block Grant and NYS funding. SCAPE and COWI partnered to complete the project’s design.

Ramboll is leading the project’s construction management team, which includes multiple subcontractors. The CM team assisted with the review and completion of contract documents, procurement services, pre-construction services, and is now providing management services during construction. Inspection services are being provided across several sites throughout NYS and NJ, including the project site in Staten Island; the quarry sourcing stone for the breakwaters and port on the Hudson River from which it is being shipped, both near Albany; the precast yard casting tide pool and armor units in Trenton; the Contractor’s yard in Jersey City, where transloading occurs between barges; and an aggregate yard in Perth Amboy, to which the stone is shipped and barge displacement readings are taken. Coordination between the various subcontractors across the different sites has been key, as well as coordination with the Owner and design team.


Author Bio

Mr. Smith has provided design and project and construction management services of wastewater collection and conveyance systems, and water storage and distribution systems for clients from NY to VA. He has provided management and compliance services for coastal resiliency projects for NYC and NYS.
Mr. Bowers has overseen dam rehabilitation, reservoir management, flood protection and civil works projects. He is experienced in earth, rock fill, concrete and roller compacted concrete dams and has supervised subsurface investigations, geotechnical evaluations, and design and construction of soil drainage systems, shallow foundations, earth embankments, and slurry walls.
Mr. Anestad has professional experience in the areas of hydraulics, hydrology, spillway design flood evaluations, dam failure analyses, emergency action plan preparation, construction inspection, surveying and estimating. He has performed dam-related analysis and design and been involved in all elements of construction.