Hurricane Sandy battered NYC 8 years ago. Since then, how has the city shored up against future superstorms? Oyster castles.
By Carmen Russo
Made with oyster castles—interlocking cement blocks that are fitted together like giant Legos—the reef will protect the shoreline from the battery of rough surf by absorbing the shock of the waves and letting smaller amounts of water trickle through to the shore. As the water flows through the castles, sediment is also deposited on the land, which not only protects the shoreline from erosion, but also slowly builds it up over time.
“We aren’t only preserving wetlands. We are creating them,” said Jason Smith, NYRP’s Director of Northern Manhattan Parks. “When you rebuild New York’s shoreline to welcome the tides and to deal with storms, you actually can create really beautiful, really healthy, fun, engaging, shorelines.”
“Building green barriers is very cost-effective and is a great way to use nature to prevent flooding,” said Fulcar.
More traditional solutions to protect against flooding, like seawalls, can cost millions of dollars to build, and risk becoming obsolete as sea levels continue to rise. Many environmentalists argue that green barriers, like oyster reefs, are a better solution because they will grow over time and adapt to the changes in sea levels.