A proposal for a dense forest along the Rockaways shoreline in New York City could boost storm resiliency in the area. Local Office Landscape and Urban Design, led by Walter Meyer and Jennifer Bolstad, has proposed the forest along the Robert Moses roadway in Rockaway, Queens. The so-called “Rockaway East Resiliency Preserve” would turn the storm-weary Rockaways into a blooming, natural location.
The Rockaway East Resiliency Preserve is among the projects adding to the more general plan to install structures and natural objects to better protect the city’s coastal areas against future storms. Prior to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Shore Front parkway stood between the boardwalk and the rest of the residential areas. The parkway, albeit large and four-lanes wide, was rarely used and is on Meyer’s agenda of places to renovate and re-purpose.
Meyer intends to take half of this parkway and create an area filled with dunes and trees as a solution to any future problems involving natural disasters. This dune system will house trees of pitch pine, that, when fully grown, will grow thick roots into the ground which will interlock with each other. Once planted, however, these trees will need to or three years in order to be strong and durable.
The nature preserve will be well sunken, and will act as an efficient water basin in case of a flood. Meyer has stated his intentions to lower areas of this nature preserve to different heights so as to create an effective dune system.
The preserve will also house wetlands and freshwater habitats for animals as well as to quickly absorb water from a flooding.
The proposal is currently under review by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and has garnered the support of some local politicians. City Councilman Donovan Richards has taken to supporting the proposal, and stated he would be speaking with HPD department to get this project passed.