Autumn 2016

In 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit the North American east coast, resulting in billions of dollars’ worth of damage and serious loss of life. Since then governments have been making even greater efforts to protect Americans with ‘safe and resilient’ coastlines.

A TenCate team briefed members of Congress and their employees about its technology and materials, which are used to repair, raise and reinforce dykes, dunes and berms. The message of this program is unambiguous: TenCate materials are a tried and tested, environment-friendly and cost-effective alternative to traditional solutions.

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Part of the coast of New Jersey after it was hit by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 (photo: Master Sgt. Mark Olsen / National Guard)

Virtually the entire eastern seaboard and the south east of North America run a fairly high risk each year from June through November of being hit by hurricanes, which are inevitably accompanied by flooding. Sandy was the tenth hurricane in the Atlantic hurricane season in 2012. It wreaked havoc in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Haiti and then left behind a trail of devastation along the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. Damage amounted to billions of dollars. In its wake, Sandy also changed the way many decision-makers at federal, state and local level think about how to protect American cities and shorelines from future storms and proactively build resilient communities.

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New Orleans, August 2005: four days after Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast (zachnews.wordpress.com)

Reflecting this new approach and buoyed by billions of dollars included in an emergency supplemental funding bill in Congress, new major projects were planned just months after the storm. The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, set up by President Obama, the Rockefeller Foundation and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development initiated the Rebuild by Design (RBD) program. This is the largest and most publicized infrastructure initiative since Sandy and is a series of massive shoreline and inland infrastructure projects aimed at a more resilient future in the New York and New Jersey area. 

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The east coast of the US after Sandy (latimes)

TenCate Geosynthetics sought to get involved the process early and educate all public and private stakeholders about the abilities and value of TenCate Geotube® technology in protecting American coasts. Using TenCate Geotube®, dunes, dykes, berms and beaches can be restored and raised quickly with enhanced life cycle costs. The technology is a reliable, environment-friendly and cost-effective alternative to traditional solutions. 

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Use of TenCate Geotube® technology as dune core near New Jersey 

In addition to Rebuild by Design, TenCate Geosynthetics sought to educate additional stakeholders with an interest in smaller, community-focused resiliency projects. To that end, over several years the TenCate team (Ed Trainer, Mark Gunzenhauser and John Henderson of TenCate Geosynthetics USA, Daniel Trope from the TenCate Office of Public & Government Relations and consultant Pete Kaye) briefed scores of Congressmen and Senators from areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Initially targeting the North-East, this effort grew to congressional districts up and down the eastern seaboard – from Virginia down to Florida. As emergency funding began to flow from Congress to the affected communities, these meetings were an important educational outreach to raise awareness of TenCate Geotube™ technology outside the engineering and design communities. 

tencate geotube as a dune core

Outreach to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and to district and national offices of the US Army Corps of Engineers ensured a broad understanding of TenCate Geotube® applications in future coastal projects. At the state and local level the team was able to brief decision-makers with direct interest in and oversight of projects affecting their communities. This includes a 2013 briefing for municipal officials in Montauk (NY) – a meeting that predated a 2015 project award. Additionally, the team briefed key officials at the New York State Department of Environmental Protection, the environmental permitting agency for the state. These meetings represent the objectives of proactive engagement. 

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)