Coastlines and People Web Panels: Living Breakwaters in New York Harbor

November 5, 2020 12:00pm to 1:30pm iCal Google Calendar

Living Breakwaters is an innovative hybrid coastal green-grey infrastructure project that aims to increase physical, ecological, and social resilience. The project is located in the waters of Raritan Bay (Lower New York Harbor) along the shoreline of Tottenville and Conference House Park, from Wards Point in the southwest to Butler Manor Woods in the northeast. The project area is a shallow estuary that has historically supported commercial fisheries and shell fisheries. In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated Staten Island’s east and south shore neighborhoods.

The integrated purposes of the Living Breakwaters project are three-fold:

  • Risk Reduction: address both event-based and long-term shoreline erosion in order to preserve or increase beach width; attenuate storm waves to improve safety and prevent damage to buildings and infrastructure. 
  • Ecological Enhancement: Increase the diversity of aquatic habitats in the Lower New York Harbor / Raritan Bay (e.g., oyster reefs and fish and shellfish habitat), particularly rocky / hard structured habitat that can function much like the oyster reefs.  
  • Social Resiliency: Provide programming that builds a community around education on coastal resiliency and ecosystem stewardship; foster and encourage community stewardship and citizen science, and increase physical and visual access to the water’s edge and near-shore waters for recreation, education, and stewardship activities. 


Moderator: Philip Orton (Stevens Institute of Technology)


  • Kate Orff (Columbia University), Founding Principal of Scape Design and Professor at School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
  • Joseph Marrone (Arcadis), Associate Vice President/Area Lead, Urban and Coastal Resiliency
  • Kyle McKay (USACE), Research Civil Engineer at Engineer Research and Development Center.

This Innovations in Nature-Based Systems for Coastal Protection web panel series brings together distinguished panels of experts to discuss projects that are at the forefront of nature-based coastal hazard reduction systems in the U.S. and around the world. Scientists, engineers, and managers working on these projects will discuss successes and lessons learned, including their planning and implementation and engagement with the community.

Hosted by the NSF-sponsored Coastlines and People (CoPe) Research Coordination Network, all web panels occur noon-1:30 p.m. EST. Please register at the link above. Contact Dr. Ming Li at, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, if you have any questions.