Community Gathers to Create Resilient Shoreline

 Community Gathers to Create Resilient Shoreline

By Jeanne DuPont, RISE Executive Director, & Syeda Shume, RISE Youth Engagement Coordinator

On Saturday, April 1, RISE (Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity) hosted the first community planting of the season as part of the implementation phase of Greater Rockaway Community & Shoreline Enhancement Plan. The purpose was to create a natural protective buffer by planting native grasses and shrubs along a designated pilot area on Beach 60th Street to Beach 63rd Street. The plantings also provide an important habitat and ecosystem for birds, bees, and other wildlife along the Rockaway shoreline, while also reducing flooding and protecting the community against storm surge.

While RISE is leading this initiative, the project is in partnership with NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Natural Resources Group, NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Develop­ment, eDesign Dynamics, and WXY Architecture + Urban Design in creating a replicable model that includes local participants in stewardship and long-term maintenance to protect our shoreline.

RISE Shore Corps interns as well as local businesses, families, other not-for-profits from the Rockaway community, including Surfrider Foundation, and residents of Arverne By the Sea, also participated. The initiative is currently the only project in the State of New York being funded by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Coastal Resilience Fund and has caught the attention of UIA World Congress, which has invited Shore Corps students and WXY to present the project at its conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in July.

Local elementary schools PS 43Q, PS 104Q, PS 105Q, PS 106Q, PS 183Q, PS 197Q, PS 317Q, PS 362Q, and St. John’s School for Boys also were selected as partners to assist in growing native seedlings and will be planting hundreds of native plant plugs on the site in May.

RISE recently hired six local residents to do maintenance, watering, and monitoring of the pilot planting area for the coming season. This effort will be taking place over the next four years to ensure the plantings are well maintained and monitored for the long term. Anyone interested in learning more about the project or participating in the effort should go to

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