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Piermont Marsh Storm Protection Study

Figure 1 Aerial view of the Village and Marsh at Piermont, located on the western shore of the Hudson River, 25 miles north of the tip of Manhattan. Piermont Marsh is one of four sites of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Piermont Marsh, located on the western shore of the Hudson River, 25 miles north of the tip of Manhattan,  is one of four sites of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. This aerial view shows the marsh in late fall and its proximity to the Village of Piermont.  Credit: Jeff Anzevino, Scenic Hudson, Inc.

The Piermont Marsh Storm Protection Study, a research project on the type of protection Piermont Marsh  provides the Village of Piermont from storm-driven flood and waves has concluded.  Dr. Y. Peter Sheng of the University of Florida was the principal investigator in the project Understanding the Role Coastal Marshes Play in Protecting Communities from Storm Surge and Flooding. This collaborative research project began in Fall 2016 and concluded in Fall 2020.  

Final Meeting July 16, 2020

A virtual meeting was held for Village residents, stakeholders, marsh managers and other end users.

Dr. Sheng presented his findings:

  • The role the marsh had in buffering the Village from flood, storm-driven waves and debris due to Superstorm Sandy
  • The role the marsh is projected to have in buffering the Village from future storms and projected sea level rise
  • The amount of avoided damages to residences and other structures due to the marsh’s buffering role

HRNERR’s research coordinator, Sarah Fernald,  and manager, Heather Gierloff, presented on the current condition of marsh vegetation and information on restoration efforts.

Nathan Mitchell, chair of the Piermont Waterfront Resilience Committee concluded with the Village’s perspective of what was learned from Dr. Sheng’s study.

All presentations are combined in one PDF and available here: DOWNLOAD PDF  

The recording of the event (MP4)  can be viewed here: WATCH VIDEO 

Check back in November 2020 for other resources on this project.

Modeled Effect of Superstorm Sandy

The modeled effect of Superstorm Sandy shows that the marsh vegetation attenuated wave height. The wave height at the edge of the marsh is 2-2.5 feet. As the waves move toward land, the height is attenuated, reducing the wave height south of the village to 0.5 to 1 foot.

Technical Studies

Peer-reviewed papers that came out of this collaborative research project:

Yang, K., V. A. Paramygin, and Y. P. Sheng, 2019: An objective and efficient method for estimating probabilistic coastal inundation hazards. Nat. Hazards99, 1105–1130.  AVAILABLE HERE

Sheng, Y.P., Zou, R., Rivera-Nieves, A., Paramygin, V.A. (Submitted). Surge, Tide, Wave, and Role of Coastal Wetlands in the NJ/NY/CT region during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Sheng, Y.P., Zou, R., Rivera-Nieves, A., Paramygin, V.A., Sharp, S., Angelini, C. (Submitted). Quantifying the Buffering Capacity of Piermont Marsh for Surge, Wave, and Flooding during Hurricane Sandy

Paramygin, V.A., Sheng, Y.P., Yang, K. (Submitted). Probabilistic coastal inundation maps of NJ, NY, and CT coasts.

 

Background Information

A fact sheet describing the project, which ends in 2020,  is here: DOWNLOAD SHENG FACTSHEET.

The research study is  an outcome of the fact-finding meetings held in regard to the management of Piermont Marsh. In January 2015, Dr. Peter Sheng, of the University of Florida, gave a presentation on the effectiveness of wetland vegetation to dissipate storm surge, wave energy, and flooding. 

PMR Eco Communities with Village Boundary

Piermont Marsh Ecological Communities. Credit: HRNERR

Research Purpose and Benefits

The project involved the following:

  1. Using a collaborative approach.
  2. Gathering available meteorological, hydrologic, and hydrodynamic data collected during Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy.
  3. Collecting marsh vegetation distribution and structure data to provide model parameters.
  4. Measuring water level and wave data in the Piermont Marsh during future flooding events for model validation.
  5. Simulating surge, wave, and flooding during Sandy and flooding events with a computer model. 
  6. Determining storms and sea-level rise for Piermont in current and future climates.
  7. Producing probabilistic inundation maps for current and future climates, considering a few marsh restoration options.
  8. Determining the ecosystem service value of Piermont Marsh for flood protection.
  9. Evaluating the relative economic benefits of marsh restoration plans.
  10. Conducting outreach and education to inform the end-users of scientific findings and enable science-based management of the marsh, considering flood protection.
Figure 3 Piermont marsh in summer. Scientist will study the capacity of the vegetation to dissipate storm surge, wave energy and flooding.

Piermont Marsh in summer. Scientists are studying the capacity of the vegetation to dissipate storm surge, wave energy and flooding. Credit: NYSDEC.

Collaborative Partners

The project was a collaborative partnership between scientists from universities and federal agencies, resource managers, end users and a collaboration expert. End-users are an important part of the research effort and include members of the Piermont Waterfront Resilience Commission and marsh managers. End-users  were an important source of local information and provided provided advice on study outputs and made decisions on scenarios. The research team met with  end-users two to three times a year. The first meeting, in May 2017, included a tour of the marsh and a demonstration of some research methods. 

Figure 4 Scientists from University of Florida gather data on the density of marsh vegetation. Photo: Courtesy University of Florida.

Scientists from University of Florida gather data on the density of marsh vegetation. Photo: Courtesy University of Florida.

Project Partners

  • Consensus Building Institute
  • Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, University of Florida
  • NASA Goddard Institute for Space Sciences
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Palisades Interstate Park Commission
  • Piermont Waterfront Resilience Commission
  • Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami
  • U.S. Geological Survey, New York Water Science Center

The project was  funded by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Science Collaborative which is managed by the University of Michigan’s Water Center through a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System

Tivoli Bays Launch Closure – 2020

The canoe and kayak launch on the Kidd Lane access road at Tivoli Bays WMA is closed for renovations until further notice. At this time, DEC does not have an estimated completion date for the project. Please contact Nathan Ermer at 845-256-3047 for more information about this project. Thank you for your patience and understanding.