Press Releases

NYCEDC And Mayor's Office of Recovery And Resiliency Announce Request For Proposals To Evaluate Shorelines Citywide For Resiliency Investments

Study Will Target Approximately 43 Miles of NYC’s At-Risk Shoreline for more than $100 million in Coastal Protection Investments

Effort to Raise and Strengthen Vulnerable Shoreline is Key Part of City’s $3.7 Billion Coastal

Protection Plan, Which is Now Nearly Half-Funded

The Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) Director Daniel Zarrilli today announced a request for proposals, issued by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), seeking a team of experts to conduct an assessment of New York City’s shoreline that is vulnerable to sea level rise and erosion. This study will analyze approximately 43 miles of at-risk shoreline across the five boroughs where no prior coastal protection work has been authorized, evaluate localized measures to reduce coastal risk, and make recommendations for resiliency investments, which could include measures such as bulkheads and armor stones.  This evaluation will coordinate with other local coastal protection actions and will consider impacts on storm water management. Near-term investments are expected to be made in locations such as Coney Island Creek, the South Shore of Staten Island, and other areas vulnerable to sea level rise and erosion. A separate study to evaluate the potential of a storm surge barrier and identify vulnerable shoreline within Coney Island Creek is already underway and will be integrated into the design and construction phases of the Raise Shorelines Citywide project.

This study advances efforts to increase coastal edge elevations, a key strategy laid out in A Stronger, More Resilient New York, a multi-layered climate resiliency action plan to strengthen coastal defenses, upgrade buildings, protect infrastructure and make vulnerable neighborhoods safer and more vibrant. This first phase of coastal protection investments represent a $3.7 billion investment, nearly half of which is now funded. 

“As part of its climate resiliency plan, the City is acting in all five boroughs to implement a comprehensive coastal protection plan,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “This study is a critical step in that effort to evaluate and complete near-term and localized investments to reduce the risk in our coastal communities from sea level rise and erosion.”

“Protecting New Yorkers and New York City from future storms and climate change is a priority for the City, and assessing the shoreline will help us determine how to protect our neighborhoods from future catastrophic weather,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “The resiliency of our City is a crucial aspect of our economic development goals, and we must continue to implement resiliency strategies while we work to strengthen the bond between communities and the waterfront.”

"One of our biggest responsibilities as a city must be to ensure that waterfront neighborhoods are protected to the greatest extent possible in the face of the next major storm. This effort must be based on proven, reliable measures that will help safeguard vulnerable communities, especially areas along the Coney Island Creek, the South Shore of Staten Island and other neighborhoods that were the hardest hit during Superstorm Sandy. This project is an important step towards preparing every community for the realities and challenges that come with being a coastal city," said Councilmember Mark Treyger.

"Since learning the levee system planned by the Army Corps of Engineers would end at Oakwood Beach, I have been pushing for ways to safeguard our waterfront communities on the South Shore beyond temporary berms, advocating for projects like the Living Breakwaters in Tottenville. I am grateful Mayor de Blasio and his resiliency team agrees with my concerns and has made the protection of the still-vulnerable South Shore a priority by issuing this RFP," said Councilmember Vincent Ignizio.

Hurricane Sandy devastated City communities, causing considerable damage and an estimated loss of $19 billion in economic activity. New York City has nearly 400,000 residents living in the floodplain, more than any major American city -- and the risks, due to climate change, are growing.

The New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), which provides the best-available local projections for climate change, estimates that the sea level will rise up to 2.5 feet by the 2050s and as high as 6.25 feet by 2100. Within 40 years, the population of New Yorkers living in the 100-year floodplain is expected to double from almost 400,000 to almost 800,000 people.  Even in non-storm conditions, nearly 8 percent of the City’s shoreline is expected be at risk of daily tidal inundation due to sea level rise in the 2050s.

To address these challenges, Mayor Bill de Blasio established ORR, tasking it to rebuild the communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy and plan for the future risks of climate change. This study represents one part of ORR’s comprehensive resiliency agenda, which includes many physical, social and economic resiliency measures to benefit all New Yorkers.

The study complements some of the long-term projects that the City is studying and working to implement alongside stakeholders like the U.S. Army Corps. These initiatives include studying projects such as building levees in Staten Island’s East Shore and Lower Manhattan, wetlands and living shorelines in Tottenville and Howard Beach, dunes in Breezy Point, tidal barriers in Coney Island Creek, and storm surge barriers at the mouth of Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal.

The City also worked with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design (RBD) program to develop coastal protection concepts. RBD awarded $415 million for the design and construction of three projects in New York City, including a major integrated flood protection project along the East River. Together, these near- and long-term initiatives form the most comprehensive resiliency plan ever developed for New York City.

This RFP seeks a team of experts to analyze the targeted shoreline and provide a methodology to prioritize coastal protection, which might include techniques such as hardening exposed shorelines with armor stone or “revetments”, raising bulkheads, and creating living shorelines. Revetments, also known as rip-rap, are a proven coastal protection technique employed by the City that can raise edge elevations and require minimal maintenance. In addition, the shallow slopes of revetments can provide near-shore habitat for marine organisms and vegetation. Bulkheads, or structures usually made of stone or concrete located at the water's edge, hold shorelines in place and provide land for commerce adjacent to the City’s waterways, protect exposed shorelines from erosion, and may support parks, esplanades, and highways. Living shorelines are a bank stabilization technique that incorporates plants, sand or soil, as well as limited use of hard structures to provide shoreline protection and maintain valuable habitat. This technique can mitigate the risks of rising tides while maintaining ecological functions. The team is expected to provide a wide range of expertise in the fields of marine and waterfront design, coastal modeling, cost estimating, coastal engineering, environmental design and planning, regulatory permitting, and civil engineering.

The study is fully funded through U.S. HUD’s CDBG-DR grants. NYCEDC will manage the RFP on behalf of ORR. The study is expected to commence in early 2015.


New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About ORR

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the establishment of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) in March 2014 in order to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy and prepare for long-term risks.  ORR is tasked with improving the City’s activities by enhancing policy and planning coordination, as well as implementing strategies of long-term climate resiliency efforts among City agencies, while also incorporating resiliency into how the City operates; by expediting efforts to secure additional federal funding for resiliency upgrades; by continuing to collaborate on state and federal recovery and resiliency planning processes to maximize investment in New York City; and by expanding economic opportunity for New Yorkers and aligning workforce development and local hiring into every recovery and resiliency project.



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Contact Info

Kate Blumm, NYCEDC

(212) 312-3523

Amy Spitalnick, Mayor's Press Office

(212) 788-2958