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 plan, the Reformulation Study was resumed in 1994. Work on the Reformulation Study is ongoing, with several interim projects constructed for critical vulnerable areas.
AUTHORIZATION: The project is 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.
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.
PROJECT REFORMULATION: Studies for a comprehensive Reformulation Study were initiated in 1994 in accordance with an initial project Study Plan, dated June 1993. The goal of the Reformulation Study is to identify storm damage reduction risks within the study area and evaluate alternative methods of providing the authorized beach erosion control and hurricane protection. A Reformulation Report, including an Environmental Impact Statement, is currently being prepared for this effort, in conjunction with the State of New York and Department of Interior. Initial work involved data collection, including beach profile surveys of the 83-mile shoreline and topographic mapping of flood prone areas. Studies are continuing, including coastal processes modeling, storm damage assessments, environmental data collection, plan formulation alternative screening and potential mitigation measures. Based on initial scoping sessions for the Reformulation Study, an Interagency Reformulation Group was developed, as well as several Technical Management Groups, to handle specific aspects & issues of the overall study. As a result, the project’s Study Plan was revised in June 1996. The cooperating agencies, including the State of New York and the U.S. Department of Interior, further discussed revisions to the reformulation effort, resulting in the current project’s Management Plan, dated June 2000. A Design Agreement was signed with the State of New York in October 2002, in order to cost-share study costs, at 75% Federal and 25% Non-Federal. Several Public Information Sessions were held during August/September 2010, and provided the public with an opportunity to learn about the potential solutions currently being considered. Coordination is currently underway with all project sponsors 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 District evaluate plans to provide immediate remedial action 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 District Commander 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, NYS and Corps 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. The fourth nourishment effort is expected to be initiated during the Fall 2013, if funding is available. Coastal and environmental monitoring continue every year within the 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 recommendations from the Reformulation Study. 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. A PCA was executed with the State of New York in December 2003 to initiate construction, with initial beachfill placement completed in March 2005 at an approximate cost of $4.3 million. No renourishment efforts were completed due to lack of funds. Interim project is considered complete, until a 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 PL84-99 rehabilitation of this project, which was damaged by the Irene and Sandy events, was completed by the Corps in January 2013, placing approximately 300k cy of sand west of the inlet. 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. A new decision document is currently being scoped and will be initiated shortly to determine ability to extend the interim project.
FIRE ISLAND INTERIM STUDY: The Corps, State of New York and U.S. Department of Interior have been 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. As specified in a partnering agreement between the Corps and USDOI, any proposed interim project would consist of initial beachfill placement with one renourishment for a period not to exceed 6 years. The Draft Decision Document and Draft EIS were submitted for public review in December 1999, with a public meeting in January 2000. Based on the lack of a non-Federal sponsor for this project, efforts now focus on development of a comprehensive plan thru the Reformulation Study. The extensive comments from the USDOI, and other resource agencies and general public, on the Fire Island Interim Project will be incorporated in the Reformulation Study.
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 February 2013