The Nature Conservancy hopes to protect NYC from superstorms
NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Superstorm Sandy made landfall in the New York area on October 29, 2012. The storm surge flooded communities and neighborhoods along the shore, destroying homes and killing several people. Nature has had six years to reclaim most areas devastated by the storm. But the memories are still raw.
When Sandy hit, New York's infrastructure wasn't prepared. The wind pushed so much water on shore that Lower Manhattan and several communities near the coast flooded.
Nature Conservancy Executive Director Bill Ulfelder said New York still isn't ready for another superstorm. He said the conservancy's role is figuring out how to incorporate nature to protect against mother nature.
"We planted 25,000 trees out in Jamaica Bay, Queens, as a kind of first line of defense of coastal forest," Ulfelder said.
Another plan is to move families away from vulnerable areas near the shoreline, such as the Oakwood section of Staten Island. The lower bay is just on the other side of some vegetation. During the storm, the water destroyed the neighborhood. The Nature Conservancy is looking to restore such areas back to their natural habitat.
"The idea is remove the homes, scrape them, take all of that built infrastructure out and bring back wetlands and parks and coastal forest," Ulfelder said.
The Nature Conservancy is also working on a hybrid storm-protection approach in Howard Beach, Queens, combining nature and manmade structures to prevent flooding.
"How you stop the storm surge is through these berms, increased wetlands and mussel beds offshore," Ulfelder said. "And then there were two built elements. There's a canal that goes straight into the heart of the Howard Beach neighborhood. And there on that small canal, there was a recommendation of a small set of gates."
The governor's office has committed $50 million to this idea, which is still in the planning phase