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For Release: Friday, October 19, 2018

DEC Announces Environmental Assessment Report for Spring Creek Coastal Resiliency & Ecosystem Restoration Project

Plans Include construction of vegetated berm, restoration of tidal marsh, enhancement of grasslands and forests, and stabilization of shoreline

DEC encourages public review of Environmental Assessment, public comments due Nov. 17

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate alternatives to address coastal storm risk at Spring Creek South on the north shore of Jamaica Bay in Queens, New York. The Spring Creek Coastal Resiliency and Ecosystem Restoration Project would reduce damages from storm surge flooding to the surrounding Howard Beach neighborhood. Spring Creek South is part of Gateway National Recreation Area, managed by the National Park Service. The project is funded by the Department of Homeland Security-Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS-FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

DEC Regional Director Steve Zahn said, "In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo challenged New York State agencies to find and pursue opportunities to advance projects that promote community resilience. At Spring Creek South, we found an opportunity to reduce flood risk while also vastly improving the ecology and visitor experience at the park. We welcome public feedback on our work to date, and we look forward to continuing to work with the community and our agency partners."

The EA examines potential impacts of the preferred action alternative, which would recontour the existing profile of the site and create a mosaic of "green" features to increase resiliency. Features include an earthen berm with a top width of 50 feet, 40 acres of restored tidal marsh, five acres of freshwater wetland forest, and 182 acres of shrub, forest, and grassland habitats. The removal of 188 acres of the invasive Phragmites australis would reduce the threat of wildfire, and shoreline stabilization would counter the erosive effects of daily wave action.

The EA can be accessed on DEC's website or on DHS-FEMA's website. Hard copies can be viewed at the Queens Public Library, Howard Beach Branch, 92-06 156 Ave., Howard Beach, NY 11414, or at Queens Community Board 10, CB10 Office, 115-01 Lefferts Blvd., South Ozone Park, NY 11420. Written comments can be sent via email to DHS-FEMA through Nov. 17, 2018.

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