Proposal to Build Artificial Islands Said to Blunt the Impact of Future Superstorms

Nature & Weather, Local News

The “Blue Dunes” idea is a part of a contest to come up with new ways to protect us against storms.

A $12 billion proposal which is said to blunt the impact of future superstorms the likes of Sandy is in the works. Federal officials are looking to build a string of artificial islands off the coast of New York and New Jersey so we can be better protected against devastating storms.
 
"We've discussed this with the governor's office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Department of Environmental Protection, and they all look at me like, 'Whoa! This is a big deal!" Alan Blumberg, a professor at New Jersey's Stevens Institute of Technology, told Yahoo News. "Yes, it is a big deal. It can save lives and protect property."
 
The “Blue Dunes” proposal is part of a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called “Rebuild by Design.” As of now there are ten ideas in the competition and the goal is to come up with new ways to protect against storms. The ideas are currently in the evaluation stage and the votes will be caste next week. As of now though, the winner is not guaranteed funding.
 
The idea for the artificial islands is a collaborative effort by the Stevens Institute, the WXY architectural firm and West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. The plan is to pump sand on top of hard base made of rock, concrete, and other sturdy materials. A gap will be left between New York and Jersey so the Hudson River could flow out into the ocean.
 
The islands will be 10 to 12 miles off the coast and while they will remain uninhabited, day trips for surfing and fishing are permitted. A gap would also be left between New York and New Jersey to allow water from the Hudson River to flow out into the ocean.
 
Stewart Farrell, head of Stockton College’s Coastal Research Center, says the idea might face some road blocks from government agencies. 
 
"The sand borrow sites always run into strong objections from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: 'Something might live there,' he told Yahoo. "Next in line would be the historical preservationists: You can't cover up Captain Kidd's treasure ships, no way! And every 19th-century coal barge is an historical treasure. Then there are abundant submarine cables, lines, pipes and rights of way."
 
Other ideas in the competition are re-establishing oyster colonies in tidal flats to blunt wave action, building sea walls around cities and creating water-absorbent nature and recreational preserves. Steve Sandberg, a spokesman for Senator Robert Menendez, says some of these ideas could be made available through the $60 billion Sandy Aid congress passed last year.
 
Money may also come from disaster recovery grants and public and private sector funding. 
 
[Source: Yahoo News]
Feature Image Courtesy of Thomas Gernon
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