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Brooklyn’s U.S. Reps urge restoration along Jamaica Bay

Areas like Marine Park, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay are at risk

October 29, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Brooklyn Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries, Nydia Velazquez, Jerrold Nadler and Yvette Clarke, along with their counterparts from Queens and U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, sent a letter on Friday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting that already-approved funds be used to finance restoration projects along Jamaica Bay.

Although the bulk of Jamaica Bay shoreline is in Queens, the bay also adjoins several well-known Brooklyn locations.

These include the eastern end of Sheepshead Bay; Floyd Bennett Field, home to World War II-era airplane hangars and the borough’s largest community garden; Marine Park; Mill Basin, the Brooklyn neighborhood whose houses often have backyard slips for boats; and Shirley Chisholm State Park just south of Starrett City, the largest Mitchell-Lama rental development in the city.

Sheepshead Bay has a major risk of flooding over the new 30 years, according to the Flood Factor website. The same website says Mill Basin has “a severe risk of flooding over the next 30 years, which means it is likely to impact day-to-day life within the community.”

Marine Park, on the other hand has a moderate risk of flooding, according to the site. Still, there are 278 properties in the area that have a 25 percent or greater chance of flooding.

Hakeem Jeffries (D-Southeast Brooklyn-Southwest Queens), whose district contains the entire Brooklyn shoreline of Jamaica Bay. AP photo by Bebeto Matthews

Floyd Bennett Field was largely spared from flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Daphne Yun, a spokesperson for the National Park Service, told Bklyner in 2013 that Floyd Bennett “is a higher elevation, and it’s sort of further away from the water.”

“While it has been nearly a decade since Superstorm Sandy, many Americans continue to feel its devastating effects,” the Congressmembers wrote. “Today, the Jamaica Bay area remains vulnerable to extreme weather events. We were reminded of this disturbing fact last month, when Hurricane Ida and its remnants caused torrential downpours and significant flooding in low-lying neighborhoods, tragically killing 16 people in New York.”

Remediation projects planned for the Jamaica Bay area include restoring native plants, especially flood- and salt-tolerant plants; surveys of birds, soils, vegetation and insects for long-term monitoring; and reducing invasive plants.

In September, Congress passed, and President Biden signed into law, a Disaster Supplemental Act to provide $28.6 billion in relief funding, including $100 million for high-priority projects in states that were affected by Hurricane Ida.

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