Gateway receives grants for Science & Resiliency Institute, habitat mapping, elevation study

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Date: October 24, 2013
Contact: Mindi Rambo, 212-668-2208

NEW YORK – In advance of next week's one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined Interior and local officials at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey to announce that $162 million will be invested in 45 restoration and research projects that will better protect Atlantic Coast communities from future powerful storms, by restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches, rebuilding shorelines, and researching the impacts and modeling mitigation of storm surge impacts. Gateway National Recreation Area will benefit from three grants that total $7.6 million.

Gateway received $3.6 million for the Science and Resilience Institute of Jamaica Bay, which is being developed jointly with the City of New York and the Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Parks Conservancy. Under an agreement announced in August, the Institute will be run by a consortium of research institutions led by the City University of New York. The Institute will develop innovative approaches and test emerging techniques intended to enhance an understanding of resilience in urban, coastal ecosystems using Jamaica Bay, a unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, as a living laboratory.Gateway will share two additional grants with other national parks. A $3 million Elevation Study shared with Assateague Island and Fire Island National Seashores will acquire the baseline, high resolution topographic data and information both above and below the waterline that is required to develop highly accurate and precise models (inundation, storm surge, coastal change, climate change, sea level rise, etc.) that can be incorporated into future resiliency planning efforts. A $2.4 million grant for Submerged Mapping shared with Assateague Island, Cape Cod and Fire Island National Seashores will produce maps and inventories of submerged marine areas that will assist in the development of adaptation strategies that will enhance the ability of marine ecosystems to withstand major coastal storms.

"Gateway National Recreation Area is where New York City meets the Atlantic Ocean, making it central to emerging strategies for meeting the challenges posed by global climate change, said Joshua Laird, commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor. "Our investment in a Science and Resiliency Institute at Jamaica Bay, along with two other grants for mapping and data collection, will advance our goal of making Gateway a center for cutting-edge research on resilience in urban ecosystems and their adjacent communities through an intensive program focused on the restoration of Jamaica Bay.We are grateful for our partnership with the City of New York and with the consortium of research institutions led by the City University of New York that will oversee the Science and Resilience Institute."

The investments will advance the goals of President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Strategy Report and the Administration's Climate Action Plan to build resilience by restoring natural features along shorelines to help better protect communities from future storms. The Department of the Interior has already invested $480 million in Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts since the storm hit last October.

"What we witnessed during Hurricane Sandy was that our public lands and other natural areas are often the best defense against Mother Nature," Jewell said. "By stabilizing marshes and beaches, restoring wetlands, and improving the resiliency of coastal areas, we not only create opportunities for people to connect with nature and support jobs through increased outdoor recreation, but we can also provide an effective buffer that protects local communities from powerful storm surges and devastating floods when a storm like Sandy hits."

Hurricane Sandy hit all of Gateway hard, including extensive damage to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Jacob Riis Beach, Riis Landing Fort Tilden, Canarsie Pier and Great Kills.At Sandy Hook, a record surge covered most of the site, flooding basements, eroding the beach and and rupturing the popular multi-use path.Thanks to a Department of the Interior investment of $480 million in Hurricane Sandy response and recovery projects, repairs are well under way.

"New York City's partnership with the National Park Service continues to benefit millions of New Yorkers and one of our greatest natural resources—the Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks region," said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. "The City of New York is proud to additionally commit $3 million in funds toward the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay.With its CUNY-led consortium, this Institute will be a model for cutting-edge research and will help gather the information needed to protect our City and its shorelines from the impact of climate change and future storms.We look forward to continuing our partnership with the National Park Service to further these vital resiliency efforts."

The funding announced today provides $113 million for 25 on-the-ground projects to restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline, create habitat connectivity, improve flood resilience and undertake other efforts to protect nearby areas from future storms.An additional $45 million is being invested in assessments, modeling, coastal barrier mapping, and other projects to provide Federal, State and local land managers and decision makers the information and tools they need to improve resiliency and prepare for future storms. A list of all 45 approved projects can be found at HERE.

Jewell also announced that the Department would issue a Request for Proposals on October 29 for an additional $100 million in grant funding under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program announced in August. States, local communities, non-profit organizations and other partners can compete for funding for innovative projects under the program.Information can be found at .

About Gateway National Recreation Area: Established in 1972, Gateway National Recreation Area offers more than 26,000 acres of marshes, wildlife sanctuaries and recreational athletic facilities, miles of sandy beaches; indoor and outdoor classrooms; picnicking and camping areas, as well as historic structures and military installations, airfields, a lighthouse, and adjacent waters around New York harbor. The park offers urban residents in two states a wide range of recreational opportunities year round. Gateway is one of the 10 most visited national parks in the country. For information about Gateway's upcoming public programs, see the park's Web site at . To join the conversation about Gateway, like us on our Facebook page .

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at .

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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