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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:RESEARCH FOUNDATION FOR THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, THE
Doing Business As Name:SUNY at Stony Brook
PD/PI:
  • Roger D Flood
  • (631) 632-6971
  • roger.flood@sunysb.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Bruce Brownawell
Award Date:02/28/2013
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 30,360
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 30,360
  • FY 2013=$30,360
Start Date:02/15/2013
End Date:01/31/2016
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Rapid Grant: Collaborative Investigations of the Impact of Superstorm Sandy on the South Shore of Long Island
Federal Award ID Number:1322746
DUNS ID:804878247
Parent DUNS ID:020657151
Program:Marine Geology and Geophysics
Program Officer:
  • Candace Major
  • (703) 292-7597
  • cmajor@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:WEST 5510 FRK MEL LIB
City:Stony Brook
State:NY
ZIP:11794-0001
County:Stony Brook
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:SUNY at Stony Brook
Street:
City:
State:NY
ZIP:11794-3366
County:Stony Brook
Country:US
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

Superstorm Sandy had a historic impact on the New York and New Jersey coastlines. This collaborative Rapid Response project will assess the effect of Superstorm Sandy in estuarine and shallow coastal environments, focusing on the Western Bays and Jamaica Bay. The project will leverage pre-existing geophysical and sedimentological data collected by the PIs prior to the storm, and will complement a related field program planned by investigators at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. Previously sampled sites will be reoccupied for sediment sampling (gravity and box cores, grab samples) and textural and geochemical tracer analyses. Multibeam bathymetry will be collected in previously surveyed areas and will cover a new ebb-tidal delta system and smaller estuarine channels. These data will be combined with transport indicator and debris field mapping to evaluate the pathways and mechanisms of sediment transport during Superstorm Sandy. This work will lead to a better understanding of the response of the shallow seafloor to extreme storms and will help to constrain the regional sediment budget, a potentially important consideration in the rebuilding process. Graduate and undergraduate students will be involved in the research. The PIs plan to work with regional partners (South Shore Estuary Reserve, Operation Splash) and engage in public outreach.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Goff, J.A., Austin, J.A., Flood, R.D., Christensen, B., Browne, C.M. and Saustrup, S. "Rapid Response Survey Gauges Sandy?s Impact on Seafloor" EOS, v.94, 2013, p.337. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2015.03.001 

Goff, J.A., Flood, R.D., Austin., J.A., Jr., Schwab, W.C., Christensen, B., Browne, C.M., Denny, J.F. and Baldwin, W.E. "The Impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Shoreface and Inner Shelf of Fire Island, New York: Large Bedform Migration and Limited Erosion." Continental Shelf Research, v.98, 2015, p.13. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2015.03.001 

Fisher, S. C., Phillips, P. J., Brownawell, B. J., & Browne, J. P. "Comparison of waste-waterassociated contaminants in the bed sediment of Hempstead Bay, New York, before and after Hurricane Sandy" Marine Pollution Bulletin, v.107, 2016, p.499. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.03.044 

Fisher, S. C., Phillips, P. J., Brownawell, B. J., & Browne, J. P. "Comparison of wastewater-associated contaminants in the bed sediment of Hempstead Bay, New York, before and after Hurricane Sandy." Marine Pollution Bulletin, v.107, 2016, p.499. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.03.044 

Goff, J.A., Austin, J.A., Flood, R.D., Christensen, B., Browne, C.M. and Saustrup, S. "Rapid Response Survey Gauges Sandy?s Impact on Seafloor" EOS, v.94, 2013, p.337.

Goff, J.A., Flood, R.D., Austin., J.A., Jr., Schwab, W.C., Christensen, B., Browne, C.M., Denny, J.F. and Baldwin, W.E. "The Impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Shoreface and Inner Shelf of Fire Island, New York: Large Bedform Migration but Limited Erosion" Continental Shelf Research, v.98, 2015, p.13. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2015.03.001 


Project Outcomes Report

Disclaimer

This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Superstorm Sandy devastated the NY and NJ coastlines, destroying homes, flooding vast regions and altering beaches. While the damage on land is clear, the impact on the underwater estuarine and shallow coastal system is less obvious. It is critical that underwater changes resulting from Hurricane Sandy be document before the sediments are modified by winter storms or other events, and before the short-lived tracers of sediment transport such as 7-Be and 234-Th are lost through decay. While a storm like Sandy is expected to cause many changes in both coastal and inner shelf settings, post-storm investigations will be particularly useful when done in areas that were studied in detail prior to the storm so there can be comparable pre-storm and post-storm data. Hempstead Bay on the south shore of Long Island, New York, is a site where extensive sediment sampling was conducted during 2011 and 2012 prior to Sandy and we have characterized a spatial fingerprint of surficial sediment properties to which post-storm sediments can be compared. The flooding of the Bay Park wastewater plant during the storm resulted in inputs of raw sewage to the Bay for approximately seven weeks. These sewage discharges in Reynolds Channel resulted in consistent, and sometimes dramatic, gradients in organic carbon, ratios of quaternary ammonium compound (QAC) sewage tracers, and Fe-normalized levels of QACs, silver and total organic carbon (TOC) that provide additional constraints on how sediments were transported vertically and horizontally during and after the storm since these patterns were also determined before the storm.   

In early February, 2013 (approximately 100 days post Sandy) we collected surface grab samples from 45 of the same stations previously characterized and a combination of short box cores and longer gravity cores at six sites where cores had been collected in 2011. We also collected surface grabs and some gravity cores in June, 2014 at 25 sites to examine changes that occurred 19 months post-storm.  Additional samples were collected in sandy areas and more material at 10 of our sites was provided by USGS from samples they collected 12 months post Sandy.  USGS investigators measured a variety of wastewater indicator compounds, including hormones, in this extensive pre-storm and post-storm data set which also supported our project.

Superstorm Sandy led to major changes in the character of muddy sediments throughout West and Central Hempstead Bay with corresponding changes in the composition and more importantly areal distribution of chemical contaminants that had accumulated in this sewage-impacted coastal embayment.  It would be very difficult to properly interpret the post-storm sediment property and chemistry results if there had not been detailed sampling and sediment characterization prior to Sandy.  For example, the impact of raw and less treated sewage sources would have been grossly overestimated if the pre-storm results hadn't been available. 

The grain size in depositional zones fined appreciably after the storm, especially in areas nearer to high energy sand deposits and Reynolds channel; however, both sewage tracers and organic carbon decreased as grain size decreased suggesting that mud from a "new" source deposited in the area.   The fingerprint of the "new" mud suggests that this mud is fine-grained material released during the mobilization of the generally sandy pre-storm bay-bottom sediments which contained some mud.  In addition to the wide-spread remobilization and deposition of fine-grained sediment, a 15-18 cm thick layer deposited during Sandy was recovered from a hypoxic, deep depositional area in Hewlett Bay.  This storm-created layer was rich in QACs diagnostic of less treated sewage sources.  Thus the storm both remobilized older, possibly contaminated fine-grained sediments from high-energy areas while depositing storm-related and possibly contaminated layers in low-energy environments with little biogenic mixing. 

A second component of the project was to collect near-shore multibeam data offshore of the site where Sandy created a breach in Fire Island, a barrier island that is in the Fire Island National Seashore managed by the National Park Service.  Our nearshore multibeam surveys in April and in October, 2013 complemented a multibeam surveys conducted farther offshore in this area in January, 2013 by Drs John Goff (UT, Austin) and Flood.  Our new multibeam data extended our survey to the edge of the outer bar and helps to characterize sediment properties and evolution there.  This new survey data, combined with data in the inlet collected by SoMAS (under NPS support), USGS and NOAA, gives a complete bathymetric data set from the inner shelf to the bay at this breach, information which is being used to support SoMAS inlet studies.  The comparative study of several multibeam bathymetry and backscatter surveys collected at different times in this important area will help us to understand the evolution of sedimentary features observed in this region of active sediment transport and to understand how the area is affected by the large storms that periodically affect this area.   

 


Last Modified: 12/07/2016
Modified by: Roger D Flood

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