The de Blasio administration is allocating $110 million protect the South Street Seaport District from the effects of climate change by increasing the height of the bulkhead, pending public review.
The city Economic Development Corporation will oversee the project which, like the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, will protect vulnerable neighborhoods from sea level rise – which the government says could be subject to flooding every month in the next 25 years.
“As we approach the nine year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy we must ensure that families, businesses, and communities in Lower Manhattan, one of the most densely populated parts of our city, are protected from the accelerating effects of climate change,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “This project does just that, guaranteeing that some of the most vulnerable areas can continue to thrive for generations to come.”
Not only will the bulkhead be raised to fend off higher tides in the low elevation section of waterfront, it will run from Brooklyn Bridge to Pier 17 and protect about 15 acres of historic Lower Manhattan before sea levels rise an estimated 2.5 feet by the year 2050, according to the city.
“This investment by the Administration is a good start, but Hurricane Ida reminded us that we must act boldly and quickly to protect our city from the effects of climate change,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Lower Manhattan is home to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and is a critical economic engine, and the Seaport District is a historic and cultural treasure. We need action from all levels of government to keep our city safe from storm surge and sea level rise.”
The city expects this to save $400 million in damages from chronic flooding in the future, improve drainage and give New Yorkers better access to the waterfront.
“Climate Change is causing stronger and more devastating storms, and we must take action to protect our coastline and lessen severe impact,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Rachel Loeb. “This project to safeguard one of the most low-lying, vulnerable areas, the Seaport District, is a first step in better protecting residents, business owners, and infrastructure from flooding. NYCEDC is focused on this work with [Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency], and we thank the Mayor for his support of this critical project and our efforts to unlock federal funding to support our long-term coastal resiliency efforts.”
But this will be only one facet in the city’s larger plan, yet to be released by NYCEDC and Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency, called the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan. The scope of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) will cover over a mile with $800 million and should be released by the end of the year.