Campaigns & Cases > Protect River Ecology > Storm Surge Barriers

Storm Surge Barriers


We need comprehensive, community-driven flood protection plans. We need solutions that work with nature and protect our living rivers. We do NOT need giant storm surge gates across the waters feeding New York Harbor.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a $52.6 billion suite of large-scale construction projects intended to protect the New York – New Jersey region against flood damage from coastal storm surges.

Clearly, flood protection is an urgent matter for communities along the coast. Storm surges are just one flooding threat; we also need to plan for increasing sea level rise, more intense downpours, and rising groundwater. The Army Corps’ preferred solution – building giant gates across waterways that feed New York Harbor – is too short-sighted, too limited in scope, and too damaging to the natural environment. Our region needs a more well-rounded plan.

Riverkeeper and partner groups in the region are demanding a more rational, comprehensive and environmentally sound approach. We need to restore life to our rivers, not choke them off with gates. We want a more locally driven plan – in partnership with the Corps, but powered by local knowledge and expertise. New York City, New York State and New Jersey, all pursuing resilience strategies of their own, shouldn’t just accept and comment on the Corps’ plan. They should help make the plan, bringing the voices from all the impacted communities into the conversation.

In 2018, Riverkeeper raised an alarm over the more drastic, potentially catastrophic options considered by the Corps: building barriers across the mouth of the Hudson where it meets the ocean. Together we’ve achieved legislation and public awareness to foster better, holistic strategies. We’ve demanded steps to engage the most vulnerable and least powerful communities. Together, we need to move forward as a region and put these strategies to work.

Get informed and speak out:

Verrazano barrier concept
Above: Conceptual rendering of a storm surge barrier across the Verrazano Narrows, a component of “Alternative 3A” under consideration earlier by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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News coverage:

Governing: Q&A with Tracy Brown: Can Storm Barriers Save New York City? One Critic Says No.
Governing: The Latest Plan to Protect New York City from Storm Surges
Gothamist / WNYC: Major environmental groups oppose $52B plan to build storm surge gates in NY-NJ waterways

Earth Island Journal: To Protect New York City, Listen to the River
Gothamist: “Unprecedented and Dangerous”: Trump Administration Halts NYC’s Most Important Climate Resiliency Study

New York Times: The $119 Billion Sea Wall That Could Defend New York … or Not
Yale Environment 360: Could Massive Storm Surge Barriers End the Hudson River’s Revival?
Curbed New York: Surveying the ‘existential threat’ posed by New York’s massive storm surge barrier
Crain’s New York Business: The end of the Hudson as we know it?
Hudson Valley Magazine: A Rise in Hurricanes May Cost Us the Hudson River

AP: Army Corps Sets Meetings to Outline New York Flood Proposals
E&E Climatewire: Feds are planning ‘insane’ flood projects for N.Y.
WNYC: Army Corps Proposes Giant Hurricane Barrier Across New York Bay
WAMC Northeast Public Radio: Army Corps meeting on managing storm risk raises concerns
UK Daily Mail: Army wants to build massive FIVE MILE seawall in New York harbor to prevent another Hurricane Sandy
Nyack News & Views: Earth Matters: A Death Threat for the Hudson River
Curbed New York: Would an enormous storm surge barrier save NYC’s coast—or destroy it?

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