Long Wharf, New Haven focused study area: predicted flooding associated with the 2016 1% annual chance exceedance flood event.  Modeling performed by GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., 2017

Fairfield and New Haven Counties Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

The Fairfield and New Haven Counties Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study began in June 2016 with the signing of a Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New England District  and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).

The Congressionally authorized study area includes about 1,700 square miles in Fairfield and New Haven Counties in both coastal and riverine floodplains and includes agricultural/rural towns, moderately developed suburbs, and densely populated cities.  The authorized study area borders Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  There are numerous municipalities along the coast susceptible to coastal storm damage, including the Town of Fairfield and City of New Haven.  Coastal storm risk from hurricanes and nor'easters threaten these waterfront communities.  The most recent hurricane to significantly impact these areas was Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Since the study began in 2016, the USACE study team, the CT DEEP and local stakeholders have analyzed numerous coastal storm damage-prone communities along the Connecticut coast in an effort to narrow the study down to problem areas which are economically justified (benefits outweigh the costs of a project) to be eligible for a USACE construction project.  Although the authorized study area covers two counties, the draft feasibility report focuses on a proposed coastal storm risk management project in the City of New Haven, Connecticut, in the developed waterfront area known as “Long Wharf”.   The Long Wharf study area contains hundreds of structures, the majority of which are classified as commercial.  Key infrastructure includes the New Haven Rail Yard, and Interstate 95, each of which dominates access in and around the city and surrounding region. 

The Feasibility Study plan formulation considered a range of structural and nonstructural measures to reduce the risk of storm damage in the study area. Through an iterative planning process, potential coastal storm risk management measures were identified, evaluated, and compared. Initial screening of alternatives determined that detailed study of structural measures (floodwalls, closure structures and pump stations) and nonstructural measures (floodproofing of properties) should be conducted for the Long Wharf focused study area.

Five coastal storm risk management alternatives in addition to the “No Action” plan (Alternative 1) were carried forward in the focused array of alternatives for further analysis. This included using the existing Interstate 95 embankment (alternative 3A), enhancing the I-95 embankment with sections of floodwall (alternative 3B), building a floodwall along the shoreline of Long Wharf Park and Maritime Center (alternatives 4A and 4B). These alternatives also included a combination of closure structures, pump stations, and potential nonstructural features.  A stand-alone non-structural alternative (alternative 2) was also analyzed. 

Alternative 3B is the National Economic Development (NED) plan and this is also the Recommended Plan as it is the plan that reasonably maximizes net annual benefits while minimizing impacts to the environment and is supported by the City of New Haven and CT DEEP.

For more information, please contact the Project Manager, by e-mail or by calling 978-318-8172.


- Updated: November 4, 2020

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