Issued by: Council Member Erin King Sweeney
Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney visited the Tidal Gates Hurricane Protection Barrier in New Bedford, Massachusetts with Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy to see firsthand how the city’s tidal gates and barrier system work, and how such a system might be adapted for the south shore of Long Island. Also present at the meeting were U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) NY District, Town of Hempstead Engineering Commissioner Doug Tuman and other Freeport Village officials.
“The Mayor and I are committed to finding creative ways to mitigate tidal flooding, storm surge and increase the resilience of our communities against future superstorms,” stated King Sweeney. “I applaud Mayor Kennedy’s diligence in researching solutions for this problem and I fully support his efforts to secure funding for this project from our federal representatives.”
“I thank Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney for taking time from her busy schedule to visit and observe the hurricane protection gates at New Bedford,” said Mayor Robert Kennedy, Village of Freeport. “I am cautiously optimistic that our combined forces will result in the flood protection of all residents and businesses in Nassau County.”
In response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, which affected over 1.3 million Nassau residents, the USACE New York District completed a comprehensive study which was completed in January 2015 and identified areas along the Atlantic Coast at high risk for coastal storm damage. The portion of southern Nassau County influenced by back bay flooding was identified as one of these high risk areas, and the USACE, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Nassau County have partnered to commence the Nassau County Back Bays coastal storm risk management feasibility study. A draft integrated feasibility report and environmental impact statement will describe a tentatively selected plan that will manage coastal storm risk on the south shore.
“I encourage the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the feasibility study for this project that is currently underway as part of the Back Bays Feasibility Study,” added King Sweeney. “It is vital for the safety of our south shore residents to remedy flooding of their homes and our roadways immediately, and that’s why is was so important to visit Massachusetts to review how the south shore of Long Island can greatly benefit from a similar tidal gate and barrier system.”
The Town of Hempstead and its Engineering department are eagerly awaiting the USACE’s recommendation and look forward to collectively working with the USACE, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Nassau County to implement the results of the study.
The New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier lies across New Bedford and Fairhaven Harbor in Massachusetts approximately 50 miles south of Boston. The project protects about 1,400 acres from tidal flooding associated with hurricanes and coastal storms. It was first built in 1966 and since September 2011, the project has prevented $24.1 million in flood damages and coastal tidal surge.
The feasibility study is scheduled to be released in November, 2018 and the public is invited to submit written comments during a 45-day review period that will begin in November. In addition, the public may share comments during public meetings that will be held during the comment period with dates, times and locations to be determined.
"This proposal would protect hundreds of thousands of residents who call the south shore home, as well as the many commercial properties which are our downtown businesses,” concluded King Sweeney. “Mayor Kennedy deserves great credit for working to move this forward and I am proud to work with him in a bipartisan fashion. I look forward to the study’s release and the opportunity for our communities to be better prepared for future storms.”
Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney (left) and Mayor Robert T. Kennedy, Village of Freeport, review the Tidal Gates Hurricane Protection Barrier in New Bedford, Massachusetts in hope that a similar protection barrier can be implemented along the south shore of Long Island.
Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney (third left) and Mayor Robert T. Kennedy, Village of Freeport, join with other officials to discuss the Tidal Gates Hurricane Protection Barrier in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Pictured left to right, are: Commissioner Douglas Tuman, P.E., Esq., Town of Hempstead Department of Engineering; Mayor Barbara Donno, Village of Plandome Manor; Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney; Mayor Robert T. Kennedy, Village of Freeport; Trustee Carmen Pineyro, Village of Freeport; Deputy Mayor Hilary Becker, Village of Lynbrook; Howard Colton, Village of Freeport Attorney; and Deputy Village Justice Susan B. Lyons, Village of Freeport.