Deltares knowledge partner for New York flood protection

Published: 4 June 2014

Deltares is a partner in two of the six winning consortiums that will improve storm defences in New York. The consortiums will be responsible for the ‘New Meadowlands’ project near Little Ferry in New Jersey and ‘Living with the Bay’ in Nassau County on Long Island. The six winners of the ‘Rebuild by Design’ competition were announced last Monday.
The area of New Meadowlands will acquire a typically Dutch appearance that is familiar in this country in, for example, the Eems-Dollard area.

The area of New Meadowlands will acquire a typically Dutch appearance that is familiar in this country in, for example, the Eems-Dollard area.

Rond de Mill River in Nassau County wordt een aantal maatregelen genomen om overtollig water op te kunnen slaan en de waterkwaliteit te verbeteren.

A number of measures will be implemented around the Mill River in Nassau County to store excess water and improve water quality.

Safer and more attractive surroundings will boost economic growth

New Meadowlands will create an area measuring 80 km² that will protect the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region from future floods. At the same time, nature, infrastructure and urban functions will be made more robust. This integrated approach will not only make the area safer, but above all more appealing as a place to live, boosting economic growth. Before Superstorm Sandy, there was no coordinated spatial planning and large parts of the area were neglected and polluted.

Typical Dutch solutions applied

New Meadowlands is, like the Netherlands, a low-lying area, opening the way to the introduction of typically Dutch solutions. The safety approach is based on the latest Dutch insights, with the emphasis on ‘nature-based flood defence’, using nature to improve flood defences. Mindert de Vries, the Deltares project leader for New Meadowlands: ‘This wet area will acquire a genuine Dutch appearance. As much as possible, we will be using “soft” dikes made from clay or sand with grass revetments, in combination with forebanks consisting of marshland, reed beds or woodland. This type of landscape can be found in the Netherlands in, for example, the Eems-Dollard area. We use the transport infrastructure in place as flood defences and we will only be building new hard dikes with asphalt if no other solutions are possible.’

Retention basins near Mill River for water storage and treatment

Living with the Bay will implement solutions for the Nassau County area on Long Island in New York, providing the area with improved flood defences and rendering it more attractive for housing and recreation. The upgrading of the Nassau County coastal area will also focus on the use of ‘soft’ infrastructure and a number of measures will be introduced around Mill River. The activities include the creation of retention basins that can store excess water but also improve water quality. Parks will also be built to enhance retention and treatment capacity, and to create appealing recreational facilities.

Billions for post-Sandy reconstruction

The American authorities launched the ‘Rebuild by Design’ competition after Sandy inflicted damage amounting to $68 billion in late 2012. Almost 150 teams submitted entries. The six winners were selected from the ten teams that reached the final stage. Four of the six consortiums include Dutch organisations . All the projects focus on sustainable and safe urban restructuring, and they were developed in close consultation with the local residents.

The American authorities have provided billions of dollars for the re-development of the afflicted area, and for flood defence projects.


Deltares is teaming up on the New Meadowlands project with the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism and the ZUS, De Urbanisten, 75B and Volker Infra Design agencies.

On the Living with the Bay project, we will be working with Interboro Partners, Apex, Bosch Slabbers Landscape + Urban Design, Center for Urban Pedagogy, David Rusk, H+N+S Landscape Architects, IMG Rebel, NJIT Infrastructure Planning Program, Palmbout Urban Landscapes, Project Projects, RFA Investments and Delft University of Technology.

Click here for more information about Rebuild by Design and the six winning consortiums