Four Years After Sandy: Updates from the National Park Service (NPS)

Last edited 09/05/2019

The National Park Service (NPS) has invested more than $57 million in federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery to restore and enhance the resiliency of coastal parks and monuments in areas where Sandy significantly affected resources, specifically New York and New Jersey. Projects include rehabilitation of boardwalks, electrical systems, visitor services, future management planning, and more.

As of October 2016, the NPS has:

Gateway National Recreation Area

  • Reopened all of its public beaches
  • Repaired the Sandy Hook Multi-Use Path
  • Repaired and reopened Miller Field in Staten Island
  • Repaired and reopened Nichols Marina in Staten Island
  • Repaired Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn

Fire Island National Seashore

  • Restored safe access to seashore facilities by completing construction of a 350-foot dock destroyed during the storm; dredging 50,000 cubic yards of material from two marinas and marina channels; and, elevating a barrier island entrance road by one foot.
  • Completed the restoration of a 45-slip marina, rebuilding the 1,100 square foot structure with materials better equipped for the marine environment and upgrading 24 electric service pedestals.
  • Installed two elevated and portable hazmat storage buildings to replace those damaged during the storm.
  • Replaced HVAC, heating fuel, and interior electrical systems in mainland facilities damaged during the storm.

Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island 

  • Completed the $40M mechanical, electrical and plumbing repairs, which included a new emergency generator. Buildings on Ellis Island are now running on permanent HVAC and electrical systems, all relocated above the flood zone. 
  • The first of four machine room-less elevators was replaced in time for Independence Day, providing visitors with a reliable and accessible route to the museum’s upper floors, galleries and exhibits. The remaining three elevators are on schedule for installation by the end of October 2016. 
  • Restored and repaired the lawns, entry stairs, and other landscape and hardscape on Ellis Island. The new irrigation system uses WaterSense, a partnership program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and utilizes controls and technology to conserve water use. The lawn areas were rehabilitated using organic and biologic nutrients to repair the damage caused by salt water, and the turf selected for use is a drought tolerant blend designed for high volumes of foot traffic.
  • Completed rehabilitation of Liberty Island’s administrative and “back of house” areas; demolished the former housing units at Liberty Island; removed hazardous trees and replaced trees with more salt-tolerant species on the Approach Mall; and repaired park administration offices at Ellis Island.
  • Completed installation of new modular units at Liberty Island to provide needed back of house support space for staff. 

In the next year, NPS plans to:

Gateway National Recreation Area

  • Begin repairing the West Pond Breach in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
  • Begin repairing Shore Road and complete the resilience project at Fort Tilden
  • Begin the Sandy Hook Maintenance Relocation Project
  • Update Sandy Hook beach centers

Fire Island National Seashore

  • Complete a draft Fire Island Wilderness Breach Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement to determine how best to manage the breach that opened in the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness during Hurricane Sandy. The plan will be released in the coming weeks for a 45-day public review and comment period.
  • Invest more than $5 million in the restoration of the Watch Hill Marina. Plans call for a new elevated electrical building to be constructed and for the existing conduit, conductors, and pedestals to be replaced. A new bulkhead will be built and composite lumber will be installed over a strengthened substructure on adjacent boardwalks, making the marina more resilient to future storms.
  • Reinforce a portion of the historic lighthouse terrace, deferred maintenance that was further undermined during the storm.

Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island 

  • Commence construction of a backup generator building in addition to raising the island's backup generator above the flood zone.
  • Award a beach armoring project to protect beach landing essential to park and contractor operations. Work will commence next year.
  • Plan the rehabilitation of Liberty Island’s public plazas and the Main Mall tree panels. Work is scheduled to commence in the spring of 2017.
  • The first phase of architectural repairs is nearly complete, which includes operational space for the park's concessions operator and other partners. This will allow the Ellis Island food, beverage and retail concessions to return to full service for visitor enjoyment by summer 2017.
  • The second phase of the architectural repairs contract has been awarded and all of the remaining broken windows and doors at ground level will be repaired or replaced. Interior repairs to the headquarters office and other interior flood damage in other buildings will be repaired. 

For more information:
Gateway National Recreation Area
Fire Island National Seashore
Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island

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