The authorized project provides for hurricane protection and beach erosion control along five reaches of the south shore of Long Island between Fire Island Inlet and Montauk Point, a distance of approximately 83 miles. The project also authorizes Federal participation in periodic nourishment. The sponsor is the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In 1978, the Department of the Interior (DOI) supported by other agencies referred the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the authorized project to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) as unacceptable. In June 1978, CEQ recommended project reformulation to the Chief of Engineers, who in turn directed the District to reformulate the project. Reformulation was originally initiated in 1980; however, because of difficulties between the Federal, State and County in proceeding with the Westhampton reach, which at the time was the most vulnerable reach of the authorized project, the reformulation was suspended. Based on letters of intent to support an interim plans, the Reformulation study was resumed in 1994. Work on the Reformulation study is currently ongoing, with several interim projects already constructed for critical vulnerable areas.
The project was authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 14 July 1960 in accordance with House Document 425 and subsequently modified by the River & Harbor Act of 1962, and the Water Resources Development Acts of 1974, 1986 and 1992. In response to the 2012 Sandy event, P.L. 113-2, The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, will provide the required Federal funds to complete the study and to complete initial construction.
Completed work to date:
MORICHES INLET TO SHINNECOCK INLET: 11 groins constructed in the Westhampton Beach area in 1965. Additional 4 groins with beach and dune fill placed west of the 11-groin field in 1969-1970. The Westhampton Interim Project, which included groin modification and beachfill within and west of the 15-groin field, was substantially completed in December 1997. The West of Shinnecock Interim Project, which includes beachfill west of the Shinnecock navigation channel, was completed in March 2005.
SOUTHAMPTON to BEACH HAMPTON: 2 groins constructed at Georgica Pond in 1965.
Current ongoing efforts:
REFORMULATION: The goal of the Reformulation Study is to identify storm damage risk reduction within the study area and to evaluate alternative methods of providing the authorized beach erosion control and hurricane protection. A Design Agreement was executed with the State of New York in October 2002, in order to cost-share study costs, at 75% Federal and 25% Non-Federal. Coordination is currently underway with all project sponsors, including the State of New York and the Department of Interior, on the final remaining potential plans of improvement being considered for the project area, in order to finalize plan selection and complete the Reformulation Study.
State, local and congressional interests requested that the Corps provide immediate remedial actions for critical vulnerable areas. These interim actions would be modified, as necessary, based on the ultimate recommendations of the Reformulation Study.
BREACH CONTINGENCY PLAN: Provides a mechanism for rapid breach closure of the barrier islands through the 83-mile project area. A Breach Contingency Plan was approved in February 1996. Under the approved Project Cooperation Agreement, the Corps is authorized to execute specific PPA’s with the State of New York in order to close breaches immediately after coastal storms.
The Sandy storm event of October 2012 resulted in damages to Long Island's barrier beaches. This event breached the barrier island in several locations on Long Island, specifically at Cupsogue County Park and Smith Point County Park, leaving the area vulnerable to significant damages. On November 2, 2012, the State of New York formally requested emergency assistance from the Corps to activate the Breach Contingency Plan. Emergency contract actions were issued for both areas. The Cupsogue breach was closed on November 27, 2012, and the Smith Point breach was closed on December 7, 2012. Sandy also caused a third breach within the Fire Island Wilderness Area (Old Inlet area). This breach is currently open; ongoing monitoring by NPS and NYS is underway to determine if the breach will close naturally or if it will be necessary to close the breach via another BCP contract action.
WESTHAMPTON INTERIM PROJECT: Provides interim protection to the Westhampton Beach area west of Groin 15 and affected mainland communities north of Moriches Bay. The project provides for a protective beach berm and dune, tapering of existing groins 14 & 15, and construction of an intermediate groin (14a). The project also includes periodic nourishment as necessary to ensure the integrity of the project design, for up to 30 years (thru 2027). Beachfill for this interim project also includes placement within the existing groin field to fill the groin compartments and encourage sand transport to the areas west of groin 15. Initial construction was completed in December 1997 at an approximate cost of $20 million. The project has performed better than anticipated in terms of anticipated cost, project performance and beneficial environmental impacts. The first renourishment effort was completed in February 2001 at an approximate cost of $5 million. The second renourishment effort was completed in December 2004 at an approximate cost of $4.5 million. A portion of the third renourishment effort was completed in February 2009 at an approximate cost of $9.5 million.
In response to Sandy damages, P.L. 113-2, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, will fund the restoration of this project to its original design template. Plans and specifications are currently under preparation, with contract award anticipated for late 2013. Required coastal and environmental monitoring efforts continue every year within the Westhampton project area.
WEST OF SHINNECOCK INTERIM PROJECT: Provided interim protection to the area immediately west of Shinnecock Inlet up to 4,000 feet westerly, which is a potential breach area. The project was intended to provide protection until implementation of Reformulation Study recommendations. This interim project consisted of initial beachfill placement, with 2 anticipated renourishments, for a period not to exceed 6 years (thru 2011). The placement of sand in this area enabled future maintenance dredging of Shinnecock Inlet to bypass sand past the influence of the inlet. Initial beach fill placement was completed in March 2005 at an approximate cost of $4.3 million. No renourishment efforts were ever completed due to lack of funds. This Interim project is considered complete, until a new recommendation is made by the Reformulation Study, or a new decision document is prepared which would approve the extension of interim nourishment efforts.
An emergency contract for P.L. 84-99 rehabilitation of this project, which was damaged by both the Irene and Sandy events, was completed by the Corps in January 2013, placing approximately 300k cy of sand west of the inlet to repair the project to pre-storm conditions. In conjunction with this contract, a Memorandum of Agreement was executed between the Corps and NYS for placement of an additional 124k cy of material at Tiana beach. In response to Sandy damages, P.L. 113-2, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, will fund the restoration of this project to its original design template. Plans and specifications are currently under preparation, with contract award anticipated for September 2013.
POST-SANDY EMERGENCY STABILIZATION EFFORTS: In past years, the Corps, State of New York and U.S. Department of Interior engaged in extensive coordination to develop a mutually acceptable interim plan along the Fire Island barrier island to provide protection until the implementation of the recommendations of the overall Reformulation Study. That plan for Fire Island never moved to construction, but the Corps is working with partners now after Hurricane Sandy on emergency stabilization projects to be constructed on Fire Island and downtown Montauk.
The Fire Island Emergency Stabilization Project is being designed and would primarily consist of the construction of new dunes and beach berms, or the restoration/improvement of previously existing locally built dunes that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Construction of this Emergency Stabilzation project would be done through multiple phases/contracts, with the first one likely to begin next Fall pending approvals of the plan and coordination with partners.
The Downtown Montauk Emergency Stabilization Project is currently still being designed, but will likely include some form of dune and/or sand placement. Construction of this Emergency Stabilization project would likely be done through one contract/phase and is expected to begin next Fall.
These Emergency Stabilization efforts are meant to provide protection until the implementation of the recommendations of the overall Reformulation Study (of which they will be considered a part of when it is finalized).
Frank Verga, Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, Programs and Project Management Division
26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278
Phone: (917) 790-8212
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: NY-1, NY-2
Current as of Nov 2013