Staten Island's Living Breakwaters Project Breaks Ground

The coastal resiliency and biodiversity project is taking shape in Raritan Bay, an area devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

1 minute read

September 28, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Rendering of Living Breakwaters project

SCAPE/Rebuild by Design / Living Breakwaters illustration

New York State has broken ground on a $107 million coastal resiliency project called Living Breakwaters, reports Matt Hickman. "Alongside swaths of Lower Manhattan and low-lying waterfront communities in Brooklyn and Queens such as Red Hook, the Rockaways, and Howard Beach, Staten Island’s Tottenville neighborhood on the far southern end of the borough suffered some of the most significant damage within New York City during [Hurricane Sandy]."

Designed by landscape architecture and urban design studio SCAPE, Living Breakwaters "will take the form of a series of near-shore breakwaters built from stone and “ecologically enhanced concrete units” that will break waves and reduce beach erosion while also providing a new habitat for oysters and other marine life."

The project was selected as the winner of "the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s post-Sandy Rebuild by Design competition," which sought to find innovative ways to reduce flood risk and conserve the shoreline. "As detailed in a press release, in addition to providing Tottenville with an additional layer of robust protection against climate change-exacerbated storms, Living Breakwaters, a major work of natural infrastructure informed by “hydrodynamic modeling, iterative testing, environmental review, and extensive public engagement,” will feature “reef ridges” and “reef streets” meant to foster marine biodiversity."

The project is scheduled for completion in 2024.

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