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Sam Saydak

Bringing Back Hope

After Hurricane Sandy, the people of Union Beach, NJ had to deal with the destruction the storm caused. The Army Corp of Engineers developed a plan for the town that included leeves, dunes, and terminal groins. During the design process, the Army Corp had multiple options. They decided on the combination of the three alignments to the right. Their decision was based on facts that are listed in the table below. One problem with the sea wall was the accessibility of the beach and areas in front of the wall. The design focused on improving the Army Corps of Engineers’ Final Environmental Impact Statement and promoting a sense community among the residents after Hurricane Sandy. This design challenges the standardized response of creating a sea wall when towns are damaged by storms. The structural elements of the impact statement were the main focus of change. The first change was to increase the height of the structural elements so it not only protects against storm surge but also sea level rise. The Army Corps of Engineers’ structure has two corners, one at each terminal groin, where constructive interference occurs.

Photos by Army Corp of Engineers

Inventory of Union Beach

Henry Hudson Greenway




Union Beach is mainly composed of wetlands, roadways, buildings, and the Henry Hudson Greenway. The Henry Hudson Greenway is a recreation path that connects Union Beach to other surrounding towns.

Flooded Flooded with Wave Action Highest Risk High Risk Medium Risk

Flood Insurance Zones


Hurricane Irene Flooding Zones X500

Zones at Risk of Flooding from Hurricanes


Hurricane Sandy Flooding Zones The flooding risk of Union Beach as a result of hurricanes is very high. There are not many areas in town that are not flooded by hurricanes.

1 Foot Rise 2 Feet Rise 3 Feet Rise 4 Feet Rise 5 Feet Rise 6 Feet Rise

Sea Level Rise at One Foot Intervals

2023: 1 Foot

2032: 2 Feet

2041: 3 Feet

2050: 4 Feet

2059: 5 Feet

2068: 6 Feet

Sea level rises at a rate of about a foot every 9 years. This is the extreme for the range that is based off of the USGS flood mapper.

Diagram of Sea Level Rise at One Foot Intervals and Sandy Waves

If houses are not protected they will receive damage not only from sea level rise but also storm surges. In a matter of a couple of years, the flooring of a one story home could be underwater.

High Risk Moderate Risk Low Risk Wetlands

Values at Risk in Union Beach Many things the people of Union Beach value are at risk of being damaged by the ocean. From the Hope Tree to newly constructed playgrounds, these places need protection so their significance will not be destroyed.

Army Corps of Engineers’ Sea Wall’s Problem Areas

Wave Movement at Pinch Point

Wave Movement at Pinch Point

The Army Corps of Engineers’ sea wall has two points where constructive interference can cause waves to go over the structure. This would cause flooding in the town.

Army Corp New Design

Wetlands Sea Wall Higher Density Low Density

Movement in Location of Sea Wall

Diagram of Increasing Height of Sea Wall

Proposed Design for Union Beach Section of Proposed Levee The new design not only included the movement of the sea wall but also the increase in height. The hard structure that will protect the town is the levee with plantings on both slopes.

Existing Land Use for Union Beach Runoff Volume (acre-feet/year) 1400.0

Proposed Land Use for Union Beach

Amount Reduced %



1000.0 800.0 Runoff Volume (acrefeet/year)

600.0 400.0 200.0

15.0 Amount Reduced % 10.0 5.0


Union Beach Existing Union Beach Proposed (Runoff) Loads (Runoff) Loads

16.0 14.0 12.0 Total Suspended Solids (lbs/year)

10.0 8.0 6.0 4.0 2.0 0.0

25.0 20.0 15.0

Fecal Coliform (billions particulates/year)

Union Beach Existing (Runoff) Loads

Amount Reduced % 10.0 5.0

Union Beach Proposed (Runoff) Loads


Amount Reduced %

Total Phosphorus (lbs/year)

Amount Reduced % 18.0

Union Beach Existing Union Beach (Runoff) Loads Proposed (Runoff) Loads

350000.0 300000.0 250000.0 200000.0 150000.0 100000.0 50000.0 0.0


Total Suspended Solids (lbs/year) 360000.0 350000.0 340000.0 330000.0 320000.0 310000.0 300000.0 290000.0 280000.0 270000.0

Amount Reduced %

Fecal Coliform (billions particulates/year)


Amount Reduced %

2000.0 1800.0 1600.0 1400.0 1200.0 1000.0 800.0 600.0 400.0 200.0 0.0

30.0 25.0 20.0 Total Phosphorus (lbs/year)


Amount Reduced %

10.0 5.0 Union Beach Existing (Runoff) Loads

Union Beach Proposed (Runoff) Loads


The increase in wetlands along the beach has a significant change in the amounts of runoff, fecal coliform, total suspended soils, and total phosphorus. This process was done with the Watershed Treatment Model by Center for Watershed Protection in collaboration with Michael Baker Jr..

Sea Wall Higher Density Low Density

Percentage of Housing for Density Type 38%




Units per Acre

10 8 6 4 2 0





Proposed Increase in Housing for Union Beach

Higher Density Housing

Low Density Housing

As a result of the structural protection, the amount of density decreased. To compensate for this there is to be an increase in density where the housing is doubled. All other areas of town with keep the same density as the existing.

Where the Water Goes

The Lawrence Brook Watershed is filled with streams and lakes that draw families and some companies to the watershed. There are a few locations that are classified as an industrial area in this watershed. The site that was chosen is located in the south eastern most point of Lawrence Brook. The site already had existing retention and detention basins which do not filter water as well as bioretention basins. To rectify this, the design modifies the basins into bioretention basins. This will help with the poor infiltration that plagues the watershed. The shade trees provide a pleasant atmosphere for the employees of the companies. It is known that employees are more productive when they can see plants. The plan shows an additional number of trees off the roadway to attract birds. The birds will act as seed dispersers by eating the fruit of the trees. This will result in more trees without additional cost or labor.

Legend Local Roads County 500 series route County 600 series route

US highway US 1


US 130 New Jersey Turnpike

State Highway NJ 171 NJ 18 NJ 27






4 Miles

Stream Industrial

Map of Streams and Roadways

Map of Selected Site and Influence on Streams

Map of Impervious Surfaces

Shade Trees

Reforestation Trees

Industrial Buildings

Bioretention Basins

Design Plants List Latin Name Betula nigra Callicarpa americana Cornus sericea Elymus virginicus Eutrochium purpureum Filipendula ulmaria Mornarda didyma Acer rubrum Betula populifolia Nyassa sylvatica Quercus palustris Salix nigra Amelanchier canadensis Cornus racernosa Myrica pensylvanica Sassafras albidum

Common Name River Birch Beautyberry Red osier Dogwood Virginia Wild Rye Joe Pye Weed Meadowsweet Bee Balm Red Maple Gray Birch Black Gum Pin Oak Black Willow Shadblow Grey Dogwood Bayberry Sassafras

Current Conditions

Planting Area Bioretention Basin Bioretention Basin Bioretention Basin Bioretention Basin Bioretention Basin Bioretention Basin Bioretention Basin Canopy trees Canopy trees Canopy trees Canopy trees Canopy trees Reforestation Reforestation Reforestation Reforestation

Form Tree Shrub Shrub Perennial Perennial Shrub Herbaceous Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Shrub Tree

Bioretention Table and Diagram Zones Zone 1 Deep Water Pool

Description *1 to 6’ deep permanent pool *Submerged plants if any

Zone 2 Shallow Water Bench

*1’ below the normal pool *Plants partially submerged

Zone 3 Lowest Zone

*1’ above the normal pool *Frequently inundated

Zone 4 Middle Zone

*1 to 4’ above the normal pool *Periodically inundated after storm

Zone 5 Buffer Strip

*4’ and above the normal pool *Never to be inundated

Example Plants *Nymphaea odorata (Sweet-scented Water Lily) *Lemenia sp. (Duckweed) *Typha sp. (Cattail) *Andropogon virginicus (Broomsedge) *Spartina pectinata (Prairie Cordgrass) *Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood) *Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet) *Eupatorium purpureum (Joe-Pye Weed *Amelanchier Canadensis (Shadblow) *Eupatorium purpureum (Joe-Pye Weed) *Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood) *Salix discolor (Pussy Willow) *Betula nigra (River Birch) *Callicarpa Americana (Beautyberry) *Cornus racernosa (Grey Dogwood)

First year: Bioretention Basin on Sunny and Rainy Day

Few Years later: Bioretention Basin on Sunny and Rainy Day

Decades later: Bioretention Basin on Sunny and Rainy Day

Residential Projects

This residential design was focused in on the front yard. The topography of the yard sloped down from the street level to the house. Since the slope was steep, it was very difficult for plants to grow. A 3’ high retaining wall was proposed so the slope was reduced. Each end of the wall met the grade at that point. Along the top of the wall will be phlox to cascade down with evergreens behind. On the upper level there will be a mix of azaleas, spiraeas, and perennials. To access the lower area a walkway from the front door landing across some bluestone stepping stones was proposed. The lower level will have a lawn area for some small activities. A person can get to the backyard from the front by just walking across the lawn to the existing stepping stones. Around the lawn will be a mix of different flowering plants to enjoy at different times of the year.

The design was primarily focused on the new front yard. Initially the stairs to the front door had no landings. The designed stairs have a landing providing a relief. Located around the stairs are shade tolerant plants. The Hinoki cyparis serves as a interesting focal point from the street. The planting in the back yard has a mix of semi shade tolerant plants. All of the plants provide color to the backyard during multiple seasons.

The design was mainly focused on the elevated patio that was falling apart. The new patio provides enough space for a dining table and grill. Just a short distance from this is a bluestone patio with a fire pit. The space is surrounded by some plants that provide color and others that provide privacy. Around the edges of the property are plants that are tall for some privacy for other activities.

Thank you for your time.

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