Coastal Defense

Hurricane Sandy vividly demonstrated the City's vulnerability to coastal storms. With 520 miles of coastline, New York City has been exposed to these risks since its founding. Over the past 400 years, the City's shoreline has been developed and modified in ways that have contributed to increased risks from coastal storms. Now, a changing climate is adding to the risks.

Challenges & Opportunities

The City has experienced 1.1 feet of sea level rise since 1900, and current projections show sea levels will rise another one to two feet by 2050 and two to four feet by 2100. As sea levels rise, floodplains will continue growing and increase the frequency and intensity of citywide flooding.


Current sea level projections, alarming as they are, assume no action will be taken to mitigate this risk. However, we are continuing to act to reduce the impact of these risks.

Strengthen the City's coastal defenses.

Over the next ten years, the City will strengthen its coastal defenses by completing many vital projects in all five boroughs, including:

Attract new funds for vital coastal protection projects.

The City's $3.7 billion coastal protection plan is nearly 50% funded, and moving forward. To address the funding need, the City will seek new sources of funding by conducting feasibility studies of several investment opportunities, applying for National Disaster Resilience Competition funds, and continuing to evaluate long-term coastal protection measures, such as a multipurpose levee in Lower Manhattan, particularly where investments could strengthen communities and potentially generate funding to offset construction costs.

Adopt policies to support coastal protection.

As new assets are built, the City will require a more effective management plan for waterfront assets. To address this need, the City will continue to upgrade its waterfront management tools and fund citywide waterfront inspections to assess and better manage its assets.