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Construction to begin on flood-vulnerable area of Canarsie

High tides, storm surges put Fresh Creek residents at risk

October 28, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) will soon begin construction on a $14 million project to protect the most at-risk sections of Fresh Creek’s shoreline in Canarsie, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday.

Fresh Creek, which separates Canarsie from Starrett City, is surrounded in many places by parkland and is traversed by a bridge that is part of the Belt Parkway.

Residents in this area along the Fresh Creek shoreline frequently deal with the effects of climate change. Water reaches high levels during storm surge and high tide, which causes catch basins to overflow with storm water.

The new project will help the community adapt to the effects of climate change by reducing flooding during future storms and rises in sea level, and help the area recover more quickly during future storm events.

“Canarsie is particularly vulnerable to storm surges and flooding, and this project will make the neighborhood more resilient and give residents the peace of mind they need and deserve,” Hochul said.

Suburban-style houses near Fresh Creek, Canarsie. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan

The Fresh Creek Coastal Protection Project will employ strategic flood protection measures to improve resiliency in the community, which is a FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Area.

Tide gate chambers are slated to be installed within culverts flowing to Fresh Creek at Avenue K, Avenue L, Avenue M, Avenue N and Seaview Avenue. The outfall into Fresh Creek at Avenue M, which is blocked by sedimentation and other debris that hinders the flow of water, will be reconstructed with a reinforced-concrete storm sewer outfall.

Tide gate chambers are designed help prevent water from the creek from flowing through culverts and will allow the existing drainage system to function more efficiently. Restoration of the Avenue M outfall will mitigate the impacts of erosion currently deteriorating the coastline, the Governor’s Office said.

Maria Garett of the Fresh Creek Civic Association. Courtesy of Maria Garett/Home Reporter

State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Canarsie-East New York-Brownsville) said, “Today’s announcement is good news for constituents residing immediately adjacent to Fresh Creek whose homes are frequently put at risk during high tides, coastal storm surges and precipitation.”

Councilmember Alan Maisel (D-Canarsie-Marine Park-Flatlands-Sheepshead Bay) said, “Fresh Creek and the surrounding waters have defined the Canarsie community for generations. With the rise in sea levels and increase in storm surges, these waters have become an imminent threat to the viability of the community. This capital endeavor will make great strides in infrastructure improvements while creating a more resilient South Brooklyn.”

Assemblymember Jaime Williams (Canarsie-Flatlands-Marine Park-Mill Basin) said, “As the chairperson of the subcommittee on emergency preparedness and disaster response, I applaud the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. I look forward to seeing the implementation of the Fresh Creek Coastal Protection project, which will improve resiliency in our district.”

Maria Garret, president of Fresh Creek Civic Association, said, “For over 20 years I’ve been trying to get a project off the ground to restore this body of water, the Fresh Creek Nature Preserve. I have had to work with many different agencies and elected officials, which was something challenging. Because I am a resident of the area, I was able to help keep this project alive.”

Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.

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