Sleepy Hollow, NY - Today marks the first meeting hosted by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) to explore the impact of offshore barriers, land-based floodwalls and the potential of a levee system for the Hudson River. Meetings are scheduled this week for New York City, New Jersey and Poughkeepsie, leaving Westchester and Rockland residents in the dark about the proposals. In a letter to Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, State Senator Terrence Murphy is urging ACE to add an additional meeting in the Village of Sleepy Hollow.
"The Lower Hudson Valley, specifically Westchester and Rockland Counties, is the largest population center outside of New York City and serves as the home to the heart of the Hudson River Estuary," Murphy explained. "Considering the ecological sensitivities and economic investments our region continues to explore, I am respectfully requesting an additional meeting be scheduled in the Village of Sleepy Hollow so that additional information and input can be provided."
This past weekend John Lipscome, who serves as the Riverkeeper, explained to News12 that the plan would basically, "...put a plastic bag over the river's head." He says the Hudson River is an estuary for many species from the Atlantic Ocean, including those that are endangered.
The New York Times reported the barriers proposed for New York Harbor are "conceptual," without any details released to the public beyond dotted lines on a map. One alternative calls for a surge barrier at the mouth of the harbor from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to Breezy Point in Queens. Other call for multiiple shorter barriers from Staten Island to Brooklyn and at various other locations blocking tributaries.
Some estimates have the price tag for the total project at $25 billion and take decades to complete. Concerns have been raised that it could cause worse flooding in certain areas and harm nearby beaches.
"The federal government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in other estuaries along the East Coast," noted Murphy. "While the Hudson River has been consistently overlooked, this is a great opportunity to work together to find viable solutions to address its many needs. However, our region must have a seat at the table for these conversations."