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South Shore protection project gets funding

The Interboro Team were finalists in, "Rebuild by

The Interboro Team were finalists in, "Rebuild by Design." Credit: handout

A design project aimed at strengthening Sandy-affected communities on Nassau's South Shore was among 10 selected to receive funding from the federal government, officials announced Thursday.

The proposal consists of several initiatives, including construction of channels or high-capacity connectors, on Long Beach Island to help drain the bay during storms and tidal surges.

Interboro Partners -- an architecture, urban design and urban planning team in Brooklyn -- wants to build channels across wide boulevards to help relieve pressure between the Atlantic Ocean and the bays.

"News reports of Sandy's destruction focused on the surf breaking on the Atlantic shoreline. But the greater damage resulted from the storm surge and the torrential rains that raised the level of the bays, rivers, and creeks behind the barrier islands," Interboro said in its proposal.

Rebuild by Design, formed by President Barack Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will award $100,000 each to the Interboro team and the nine other teams.

"It's very bold -- ecologically and socially," Henk Ovink, principal of Rebuild by Design and senior adviser to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, said of Interboro's proposal. "They actually said water is a good thing. They made use of that asset in a way that also protects the communities."

Of the 10 projects chosen, five focused on cities, including "The Big U," which proposes a system of levees and berms that would protect lower Manhattan.

In the next phase, the 10 teams will begin work with local government officials and community leaders to develop solutions. In early winter, the teams will have planning workshops and outreach programs to inform and engage the public.

Interboro's project, "Living with the Bay: Resiliency-Building Options for Nassau County's South Shore", addresses flooding and seeks to harden Nassau's infrastructure. The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant dumped about 100 million gallons of untreated sewage into Hewlett Bay the day Sandy struck.

"Rather than simply building a wall around the plant, however, we propose to build a protective levee that doubles as a recreational amenity that can be enjoyed by its neighbors," according to Interboro's proposal.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in September called on federal officials to develop a comprehensive plan that would protect Nassau's shoreline from hurricanes and nor'easters.

"This proposal is an innovative and necessary step toward protecting life, property and land along Nassau's South Shore," he said Thursday in a statement. "Nassau County's bays and ocean fronts are part of what make living here so wonderful, but they also become destructive forces during major storms like Sandy, and this project works to neutralize them. "

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