South Shore Estuary Reserve

Community Risk and Resiliency

Risks associated with climate change; especially projected increases in sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding, are expected to escalate in the near future. New York State’s low lying coastal areas will be affected first. The OPD plays a critical role in helping communities evaluate projected climate change risks and potential impacts, and to prepare plans to increase coastal resiliency.

Super Storm SandyRecent storm events, apparent change in weather patterns, and sea level rise demonstrate the need for SSER communities to become more resilient, reduce risk, and recover better and faster. Between 2010 and 2014 three extreme weather events resulted in un-precedented flooding and damage.

August 2011: Hurricane Irene dropped as much as five inches of rain and produced a maximum storm surge of 4.36 feet at Battery Park. The City of Long Beach and Village of Freeport were among the most severely impacted Long Island communities.

October 2012: Superstorm Sandy brought large-scale damage from its 8.08 foot storm surge and wind gusts as high as 90 miles per hour. The storm severely damaged or destroyed as many as 100,000 residential and commercial structures and left more than 2,000 homes uninhabitable.

Winter 2012 to 2013: Eleven nor’easters along the east coast dropped up to 50 inches of snow on Long Island and caused nuisance flooding along the coast.

August 2014: In the Town of Islip 13.5 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period, which caused extensive flooding that closed roads and damaged structures.

The SSER is also experiencing increased frequency of flooding from lunar high tides and common nor’easters.

To assist communities in preparing for Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Adaptation OPD provides technical assistance for resilience planning through its SSER and Local Waterfront Revitalization (LWRP) programs, most recently facilitating the preparation of 20 NY Rising Community Reconstruction (NYRCR) Plans for SSER communities. Coastal resiliency plans developed through these programs will assess projected climate change risks to critical infrastructure, wetlands, water quality, habitats, and natural resources and create a framework for building resilience to future storm events and sea level rise.