The Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek Storm Surge Barrier Study is a proactive step in answering questions about how storm surge barriers along inland waterways could function in a dense, urban environment.
During Superstorm Sandy, the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek were major sources of flooding in the neighborhoods of Gowanus, Red Hook, Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, Maspeth, and Long Island City, causing substantial damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses along both waterways and in neighboring upland areas. Additionally, climate change and sea level rise are expected to increase the risk of coastal flooding in the coming decades, especially as the number of residential and commercial buildings in the 100-year floodplain along the East River and New York Bay waterfront is projected to increase significantly during the same period.
Mayor Bill de Blasio established the Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) to address these challenges, rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, and prepare for the long-term risks of climate change. ORR is implementing a long-term, comprehensive resiliency agenda based on A Stronger, More Resilient New York, a detailed action plan to strengthen coastal defenses, upgrade buildings, protect infrastructure, and make vulnerable neighborhoods safer and more vibrant. As recommended in the plan, the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek feasibility studies will further investigate how storm surge barriers could prevent flooding to nearby properties and infrastructure from future coastal storms.
The Gowanus Canal in South Brooklyn and Newtown Creek on the Brooklyn/Queens border are designated federal Superfund sites. The study areas consist of the waterways and their respective adjacent upland areas.