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Building Resiliency at the Rockaways

As the climate continues to warm, both the rainfall intensity and total amount of rainfall from large storms are projected to increase. Hurricane Sandy is just one example of how these extreme rain events can impact a region. 

The people who live on the Rockaway Peninsula are resilient. This suburb of New York City lost more than 70 residents in the tragedy of September 11, 2001. The area was further devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. With the help of the U.S. Forest Service and other partners, the community is restoring areas damaged by the storm. By using urban forestry and urban agricultural practices, the landscape will be more resilient to future storm events. Many projects are completed or in progress.  

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Beach 41st Gardens and Edgemere Farm provide locally grown food and peaceful garden space to the community. The Rockaway Community Park is being managed to serve as a buffer from flood waters. The severely damaged Rockaways boardwalk has been rebuilt with potential future extreme events in mind. Finally, Tribute Park is a living memorial with trees and plants that provide a place for people to reflect and remember those who lost their lives on September 11. Along a five mile stretch of the Rockaway Peninsula, visit these five locations. In each place, unique recovery actions are connecting people to nature and building community stewardship. Many practices are also helping to improve the resiliency of the area to climate change. 


“This space is a landscape of resilience in that it is constantly being tested by the natural cycles of high tide, heavy precipitation. So, water coming in and out is a constant battle here. The natural elements are naturally resilient to this climate... People really play a heavy role too in their stewardship.”  - Renae Reynolds


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