The Obama Administration—via its Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force—has released a rebuilding strategy that it hopes communities affected by natural disasters will follow. The blueprint is also aimed at helping the Sandy-affected areas continue to rebuild.
Superstorm Sandy crashed ashore on October 29, 2012. The second costliest hurricane in the US, it caused widespread destruction with damages estimated to be $68 billion. In the aftermath of the storm, as the difficulties many communities were having in restarting and rebuilding became clear, President Obama put together the taskforce, chaired by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
The Rebuilding Strategy contains 69 policy recommendations, many of which will have a significant impact on how the region rebuilds—and hopefully create more resilient communities going forward. Some of the task force’s policies and principles were also incorporated into President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The Rebuilding Strategy calls for a federal department or agency to carry out implementation of these recommendations. A team will also track and release data on Federal spending from the Sandy supplemental funding bill.
The top five recommendations from the report are:
RECOMMENDATION #1: Facilitate the incorporation of future risk assessment, such as sea level rise, into rebuilding efforts with the development of a sea level rise tool.RECOMMENDATION #2: More
Nice white paper from Vermont Transportation. They’re taking a “no-regrets” approach to climate adaptation - very rare in the US.
An overview of climate related adaptation and resilience oriented efforts underway at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans).
In recognition of the potentially negative consequences of climate change to well-being of Vermont, VTrans is in process of incorporating adaptive management, policies, and plans into every level of planning, design, operations, and maintenance.
Experts believe that global climate change will fuel increasingly frequent and severe weather events resulting in more frequent flooding in the Northeastern U.S.
Existing flood vulnerability of the transportation system will be exacerbated by the effects of climate change increasing the risk of costly delays, detours, and premature infrastructure replacement. Recent flooding events following tropical storm Irene revealed the need for preemptive actions and planning to minimize the costs of similar events in the future.
Many of the lessons learned during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene are applicable to this effort. Enhancement of emergency procedures and systems, employee training, public outreach, and rapid hydraulic assessment tools are examples of some of the positive adaptive outcomes. Going forward, the Agency should expand programs and projects focused on gathering and monitoring data, increasing adaptive capacity, and incorporating risk-management into the decision-making process.
The recommendations made in this report have ‘no-regrets’ in that they will increase the effectiveness of long-term decision making under any future climate scenario.
After a cleanup effort that cost tens of millions of dollars, visitors from the Rockaways to the Hamptons will be able to enjoy miles of seashores that have been groomed and cleaned up by volunteers and work crews. In still others, sunbathers may have to squeeze their towels a little closer on beaches shrunken in some places by half its normal size by the effects of erosion.
"People are going to rewrite the formula for the beach," says Andrew Field, co-owner of the popular Rockaway Taco restaurant near Queens’ Rockaway Beach, a 7-mile stretch of sand off the Atlantic Ocean that was perhaps the city’s hardest-hit beachfront.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work all summer to restore 3.6 million cubic yards of sand in a stretch of beach where, at high tide, what last summer was prime real estate for sunbathing is now part of the ocean. […] after spending more than $270 million in repair costs, all 14 miles of New York City’s beaches will be open for the Memorial Day weekend, including Coney Island, Brighton and Manhattan Beaches in Brooklyn; Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Midland, Wolfe’s Pond, Cedar Grove and South Beaches in Staten Island; and, of course, Rockaway Beach in Queens.