East Side Coastal Resiliency
The City of New York is proposing to construct the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project, which is an integrated flood protection system that is intended to reduce coastal flooding and improve coastal and social resiliency along an approximately 2.4 mile stretch of Manhattan's East River waterfront. The proposed project area is located along the East River waterfront and begins at Montgomery Street on the south and extends north to East 23rd Street (with an alternative that extends to East 25th Street). Implementation of the proposed ESCR Project involves substantial activities within City parkland, therefore the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) has assumed the role of Lead Agency in fulfilling the environmental review requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR). The City is also proposing to enter into a grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to accept $335 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds for use in implementation of the ESCR Project. These funds would be provided to the City through the City's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Therefore, OMB has been designated as the project's "Responsible Entity" in accordance with HUD regulations and is also the Lead Agency for environmental review requirements in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy significantly impacted the City of New York, exposing its vulnerability to coastal storms. The hurricane caused extensive storm surge flooding and resulted in significant damages to residential and commercial properties, critical transportation, open space, power, and sewer infrastructure, and in turn impacted vital healthcare and other essential services within and adjacent to the proposed project area. To address this vulnerability, the City is proposing an integrated flood protection system that is comprised of a combination of berms, floodwalls, and deployable elements within existing City parkland and streets. In addition to providing reliable flood protection for the project area, the proposed project may also improve access to and enhance open space resources along the waterfront, including East River Park and Stuyvesant Cove Park. Assuming all the project approvals are issued, project construction is anticipated to commence in 2017.
On October 30, 2015, DPR, as SEQRA/CEQR Lead Agency, in conjunction with OMB, issued a Positive Declaration directing that a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared, and released a Draft Scope of Work to prepare an EIS for public review and comment. A public scoping meeting to accept comments on this Draft Scope of Work will be held at 7:00 PM on December 3, 2015, at Bard High School Early College, 525 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10002. Written comments will also be accepted through December 21, 2015, by:
Calvin Johnson, Assistant Director CDBG-DR
New York City Office of Management and Budget
255 Greenwich Street-8th Floor
New York, New York 10007
Owen Wells, Director of Environmental Review
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
The Arsenal, Central Park
830 Fifth Avenue, Room 401
New York, New York 10065
Subsequent to completion of the Draft Scope review process, a Final Scope of Work, including a summary of comments received and responses to those comments, will be issued in January 2016.