Last October, on the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the city released a progress report on repair work that it hopes will brace the five boroughs against future hurricanes of similar magnitude. At the time, 4.15 million cubic yards of sand had been added to beaches across the city, and 26,000 linear feet of dunes had been packed on Staten Island. 10,500 linear feet of bulkhead repairs had been made city-wide, and the city had set aside $400 million to build armored levees along Staten Island's Midland Beach and the East Shore.

Now, almost a year later, WNYC reports that a new levee proposal for the East Shore from the Army Corps of Engineers might actually be feasible—thanks, in large part, to near-total funding from the city and the federal government.

According to WNYC, the $579 million project would consist of a "reinforced ridge" running four miles south from the Verrazano Bridge to Oakwood Beach. Made up of planted slopes with a boardwalk running along the top, the levee would rise 20 feet above sea level. Almost two thirds of the Army Corp's proposed levee will reportedly be funded by the 2013 federal Sandy Aid bill, and NYC has already put forward $60 million. The state has been asked to pitch in $140 million, although it has yet to confirm the contribution.

The levee would protect several stretches of Staten Island's coast hit hardest by Sandy—in the immediate aftermath of the storm, streets surrounding Midland Beach were full of downed power lines and overturned cars and mobile homes, not to mention uprooted trees blocking roadways.

However, 20 feet may not be quite tall enough to help Staten Islanders sleep at night, according to at least one expert estimation. Philip Orton of the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken told WNYC that, according to a conservative "mid-point" estimate of sea level rise, there's a 4% chance that a storm strong enough to breach this proposed levee will occur in the next 50 years.

The Army Corps plan includes a footnote about adding extra height to the levee if sea levels start rising at a faster-than-predicted rate, but Orton worries that by then, every coastal city in the country will be screwed, and additional federal funding will be sparse. "Sea level rise will be badly inundating places like Florida, and there will be a fight over dwindling dollars," Orton told WNYC. "So if they are going to build it, they should built it big, and try to tap into whatever money they can."

According to a very alarming report issued in February by the New York City Panel on Climate Change, sea level in NYC will rise between 11 inches and 21 inches by the 2050s, between 18 and 29 inches by the 2080s, and between 22 and 50 inches by 2100.

The Army Corps of Engineers is hosting two public information sessions about the levee this Wednesday and Thursday at 6:00 p.m., at 777 Seaview Avenue on Staten Island.