Sandy's Harsh Legacy: NYSG Responds with Research and Outreach
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News

Partially-treated sewage was apparent for weeks in the western Long Island South Shore Estuary ecosystem following the failure of a treatment plant in East Rockaway, photo: Doug Kuntz/Newsday.

New York, NY, April 1, 2014 - Shortly after Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge and high winds inflicted extensive damage along New York’s coastline, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) funded two rapid response research projects: one to study how the largest of three breaches that Sandy opened in Fire Island evolve and affect the tidal dynamics and ecosystem of Long Island’s eastern Great South Bay [See Related Story: "NYSG Provides Timely Efforts to Monitor Fire Island Breach"], and another to measure how well Long Island’s south shore estuary handled the additional sewage from a Sandy-compromised treatment plant that serves 40% of Nassau County’s 1.35 million residents [See Related Story: "Infrastructure Failed; Salt Marsh Delivers"].

NYSG Coastal Processes Specialist Jay Tanski and NYSG’s Fisheries Specialist Antoinette Clemetson were asked by partner agencies to come to the aid of businesses hardest hit by Sandy. NYSG helped survey business owners in the marina and recreational fisheries industries as they assessed the storm’s harsh economic impacts.

Assessing $85 Million in Damage to NY Marinas

One of the many Long Island marinas inundated during Hurricane Sandy, photo: J. Baroni

After the storm, NYSG’s Coastal Processes Specialist Jay Tanski began working with industry associations and leaders to assess the damages suffered by marina facilities as a result of Sandy.  With their assistance, he developed a questionnaire that documented losses due to damages to facilities and reduced revenues as well as the amount of insurance available to cover those losses.  He distributed the survey to 250 marinas, compiled and synthesized the returned data and summarized the results which showed the average marina suffered over $350,000 in damages and 72% of the losses were uninsured.  This represented a total loss of over $85 million to New York marinas in the marine district.

Tanski presented the results of the survey to federal, state and local officials leading the recovery effort (including New York State Community Renewal, Small Business Development Center, Empire State Development Corp., NYRising and the Department of Financial Services, South Shore Estuary Reserve) and industry representatives.  This information helped ensure that the marina industry was included in special storm recovery grant programs initiated by the state.  He also helped organize and conduct several workshops and informational meetings in conjunction with regional marine trade associations that attracted 158 participants who learned more about state disaster recovery grant programs and how to apply for recovery funds.  Sea Grant continues to work with these audiences to help marina facilities recover from the impacts of Sandy.

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