Spring Creek Coastal Resiliency Hazard Mitigation Project

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has been awarded a grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) (application 4085-0005) for the implementation of Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) measures at Spring Creek South.  NYSDEC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (DEC’s Management Contractor), National Park Service (landowner) and FEMA are working together to restore Spring Creek South, providing CSRM and ecosystem benefits to the Howard Beach community within Jamaica Bay.

The Spring Creek site is located within the borough of Queens, New York. The site was filled in with millions of cubic yards of dredged material during the first half of the 20th century to create developable land but instead served as a sanitary landfill for 30 to 40 years.  These past actions profoundly degraded the salt marsh community and habitat at Spring Creek. The site currently contains marsh, dune, grassland, and secondary woodlands that are dominated by invasive vegetative species (e.g., common reed).

During Superstorm Sandy tidal surge reached approximately 6 feet above the ground level and damaged approximately 2000 structures (residential homes, businesses, schools etc.). The primary purpose of this coastal resilience project is to mitigate damages to the community by recontouring and repurposing more than 235 acres of land. An important design feature is a 19-foot (NAVD88) berm to further attenuate wave impacts during coastal storm events. Nature-based features such as low and high marsh, freshwater and tidal wetlands, and living shorelines are proposed components of the mitigation project.

As a part of this presentation, Sea Level Rise Analysis, and Coastal Storm Surge Modeling that are being performed will be presented. Two separate models were applied for this study: the Estuarine, Coastal and Ocean Model (ECOM) for ‘typical’ tidal conditions, a 3-D proprietary model developed by HDR, and the MIKE21 for the 100-year coastal surge conditions. An overview of the data collection (tidal current and water level information), overview on model methodology, existing and future conditions scenarios and modeling results will be presented. Wave overtopping and inundation area results along with areas that are vulnerable to erosion based on wave heights and run-up values will be discussed.