Red Hook flood assessment info: our watershed, sewers, buried creeks, prior shoreline & more

Amended 11/12/14 to include the following link and background about Eymund Diegel:

For related info, see our blogpost that includes Jim McMahon's Sandy flood map of Red Hook and info on how to assess your flood risk in future storms." 

More info about Eymund Diegel:

Original post:

To further support flood prevention planning in Red Hook, we offer the following information.

The data and points of view in the following bullet points are courtesy of Eymund Diegel:

  • General imagery of the Sandy Flood impacts available here
  • Base map data showing where flood waters are likely to come from next time Blue lines show general direction of drainage flows, and in reverse, the likely path of rising flood waters. Green shows the original tidal marshes. Sandy essentially flooded anyone who built on the former tidal marshes.
  • 1844 Coastal Survey showing original sand and mud banks off Red Hook whose alteration from harbor dredging is affecting how storm surges impact Red Hook
  • The reconstruction of the historic bay bottom, in particular it's now damaged and altered offshore banks, should be studied to see how reconstructing some of these protective features may help reduce Red Hook flood damage the next time.
  • I am attaching some ideas from the excellent work being done by SCAPE landscape architects, (slide show above) exploring how we remove soil from some areas (eg Red Hook Park) to recreate a better flood holding basin, and use those soils to create surge breakers further offshore. All expensive and controversial, but we need to start this dialogue as we are only going to get more flood events, and the next one will be worse than Sandy. We got off lucky because we didn't have heavy rains.
  • I did a 2013 Sandy Flood saline impacted tree survey for the Parks Department
  • The most impacted trees (London Planes and Dawn Redwoods) were typically on "topographic sinks" where salt water sat for longer, affecting soil quality and damaging non salt tolerant trees.  These "sinks" generally correspond with the location of the historic mill ponds that were landfilled and subsided.
  • The planning recommendation I made to the City is that street grading needs to be improved to allow flood waters to recede more rapidly. This recommendation will contradict some of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenways Green Infrastructure work (eg on Columbia Street) where storm water is being diverted to pond swales and holding tanks to reduce combined sewer overflows. Both (flood management and green infrastructure sewer overflow reduction are good goals and should be supported. One compromise strategy may be sluice gates, like those used by the original millers of Red Hook to better manage tide waters.
Sandy Issues (1).jpg
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Brooklyn Greenway Stormwater Study for West Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn includes ideas to consider

Red Hook NY Rising CRP Resiliency Open House Sat 2/22 & Sun 2/23 11am – 6pm


Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program
Open House
Realty Collective, 351 Van Brunt St
Sat 2/22 & Sun 2/23
11am – 6pm

Where you are going:  351 Van Brunt while it was PortSide's Sandy aid center November 2012

Where you are going:  351 Van Brunt while it was PortSide's Sandy aid center November 2012

Only a few months of planning remain in the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program and the Committee is excited to engage the Red Hook community in the critical final phase of the program. The upcoming public meeting will be an important opportunity to gather community input on the top Priority Projects that may be recommended for funding with Red Hook’s $3M CDBG-DR allocation. We encourage everyone to attend this event and have your voice heard. At this event the Red Hook Committee will share ideas that its members have heard from you to date and answer questions you may have about the program and possible resiliency projects. Details for the event are on the attached flyer and as follows:
Experts will be on hand to discuss specific topics on Saturday and Sunday at the following times:
12pm-1pm: Infrastructure & Coastal Resiliency
1pm-2pm: Social Resiliency & Economic Development
Red Hook Resiliency Innovations event Sat 2/22, 3-6pm

Guest speakers to include: HUD Rebuild by Design, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) and Architecture for Humanity, and others.

We also have a few newsworthy pieces from the past few months to share:

  • The Committee held its 11th meeting on Monday, February 10th in which we discussed benefits, feasibility, and considerations of possible priority resiliency projects.
  • Youth from the Red Hook Initiative/South Brooklyn Community High School film production program completed a video documenting the November 19th Public Engagement at the Miccio Center. This will be featured at the public meeting as well.
  • On December 18th, the Red Hook Planning Committee partnered with Good Shepherd’s Services at the Beacon Center to engage teens in the NY Rising program. At this event, teens brainstormed with planners and Committee representatives about resiliency challenges and solutions for Red Hook.
  • The Committee applauds the incredible news from Governor Cuomo’s Office of a $200M New York City & New York State combined commitment for the development of an integrated flood protection system in Red Hook. This announcement provides great momentum to our work and is proof that Red Hook can and will become a more resilient community.  

We hope to see everyone at the upcoming public event.
As always, thank you for your continued engagement in the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program.
NY Rising Red Hook Planning Committee & Committee Co-Chairs
Gita Nandan
Ian Marvy

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