"Greater Rockaway" Coastal Enhancement Plan

Focused on the restoration of the dunes along the Atlantic shoreline of the Rockaway Peninsula to prioritize local voices, biodiversity, and long-term stewardship. 

introductory photo

Building on initiatives by government and nonprofit partners, to conduct a comprehensive site assessment and design to enhance dunes along the Atlantic shoreline of the Rockaway Peninsula into an extensive, biodiverse, and habitat-rich dune system to provide economic opportunities and flood protection for the local community.

The Greater Rockaway Coastal Enhancement Plan was initiated by RISE with support from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as well as technical support from WXY Architecture & Urban Planning, eDesign Dynamics, and Ana Fisyak Consulting.

This project's goal is to lay the groundwork for a long-term coastal dune enhancement and maintenance program, while leveraging investment in the dunes and beach as a way to support existing community development goals. Key areas include environmental education, equity, flood protection, and workforce development. The focus area includes the dunes between Beach 17th to Beach 76th Street, on the north side of Rockaway boardwalk.

The plan has engaged a wide cross section of stakeholders and partners—from civic associations and businesses to youth and NYCHA residents—through a diverse community engagement process that started in 2020 and has included interviews, focus groups, community design workshops, and surveys. The project developed a scalable and replicable engagement process that can be used for New York City-wide coastal shoreline visioning by city and state partners. The final report can be viewed and downloaded below.

In November 2021, NFWF announced that the "Greater Rockaway" plan was one of 49 projects selected through the National Coastal Resilience Fund; and the ONLY project in NY State.

Phase II is currently underway, with onsite assessments of hydrology, soil and a digital conceptual planting design to recreate ecological systems that will act as natural barriers to sea level rise.

This spring, local high school students in the RISE program Shore Corps and (10) Rockaway public school partners are propagating seeds, monitoring plant conditions and learning about native plant species they will be maintaining in the dune preserve and native plant nursery, currently being built on the nearby Arverne East site.

Our community forum hosted on February 9th, 2023, brought more than 60 local stakeholders together. The presentation can be viewed below. 

RISE will be hosting a series of plantings and community events as part of the pilot for this project. The public is encouraged to participate in implementation of the plan. Check out our event calendar for upcoming events, or email us for more information at: info@riserockaway.org