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KINGSTON, N.Y. » Common Council members are asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to limit plans for storm-surge barriers at the southern end of the Hudson River.
The Army Corps is proposing plans to fend off storm surges such as the one from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that flooded New York City and damaged infrastructure.
Kingston lawmakers are urging that barriers be designed to protect shorelines of New York City and urban New Jersey without affecting tidal flow upriver.
The Hudson River is tidal over its 153 miles from New York City to Troy.
Opposition to options under consideration was given in a resolution by 7-0 vote Wednesday, Sept. 12, with Alderman William Carey, D-Ward 5, and Tony Davis, D-Ward 6, absent.
Alderwoman Andrea Shaut, D-Ward 9, said the resolution is an effort to voice concern for the “health of the river and its wildlife.”
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers options include:
• Construction of a fivemile long barrier between Breezy Point Tip in New York and Gateway National Recreation Area in New Jersey;
• Building a barrier underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge with a series of flood walls along Jamaica Bay; and
• Building shoreline sea walls along different locations of New York City, Jamaica Bay, and New Jersey.
The proposals can be viewed online at bit. ly/2MVUpYx.
Kingston council members in the resolution wrote that the plans either “almost entirely block either the Hudson River ... tributaries during storm events and would alter river and tributary flow patterns at all times.”
Official added that the proposed barriers could impede the river’s tidal flow, contaminant and sediments movement, and change tidal respiration.
“Over time the frequent deployment of barriers have the potential to significantly restrict migration of striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, herring, shad, eel and other species essential to the Hudson estuary; prevent the ocean tide from flushing New York Harbor, and inhibit inland rainstorm flood waters like those of Irene and Lee in 2011 from leaving the Hudson,” they wrote.
“Open tidal exchange is essential to move sediment and flush contaminants and if ... restricted the harbor could require much more dredging to maintain shipping channels,” city officials wrote. “Sewage and other contaminant could flush to the ocean more slowly, resulting in more pollution for our already contaminated harbor and river.”
The city included in its resolution a letter from Riverkeeper outlining the threats and contending that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had not scheduled enough public meetings and had a comment period that was too short.
“The meetings ... were too few, announced too late, and were not advertised so that the public would actually be aware,” they wrote.
Riverkeeper also criticized the U.S. Army Corps for a lack of quality information about the proposals.
“The PowerPoint slides and the fact sheet provided to the public to date are completely inadequate,” Riverkeeper officials contend. “The Army Corps needs to publish comprehensive information about all the alternatives being considered, including the environmental impacts on the Hudson and the Harbor and to share with the public the complete list of existing studies it will consult in the preliminary assessment of the projects.”
The Rhinebeck Town Board in August also raised concerns with the plans and said more time for public comment is needed.