The purpose of the on-going Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) Reformulation Study is to identify, evaluate and recommend long-term solutions for hurricane and storm damage reduction for homes and businesses within the floodplain extending along 83-miles of ocean and bay shorelines from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point. This area extends as far landward in some locations as Sunrise Highway and Montauk Highway. The study considers all areas within the maximum estimated limit of flooding, and is located entirely within Suffolk County. This encompasses the Atlantic and bay shores of the Towns of Babylon, Islip, Brookhaven, Southampton, and East Hampton and incorporated Villages. The study area also includes 26 miles of the Fire Island National Seashore, which is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
Congress and New York State have asked the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to develop a comprehensive long-term plan of protection for areas that are prone to flooding, erosion and other storm damage. This plan would replace the numerous uncoordinated measures that have been used to protect individual properties with a comprehensive management approach that considers the entire coastal system. The objective of the study, therefore, is to evaluate and recommend a long-term, comprehensive plan for storm damage reduction, which maintains, preserves or enhances the natural resources. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is the Corps' non-Federal partner.
The Reformulation Study approaches the issue of storm damage along Suffolk County's south shore in a different way than previous studies:
- It looks at the study area as a comprehensive coastal system and evaluates alternatives for their impacts at specific locations and on the entire system.
- The study team includes the participation of all concerned Federal, State and local government agencies, as well as major scientific and environmental organizations.
- It includes state-of-the-art engineering, environmental, economic and planning studies to provide information about historic conditions and to model possible future conditions. To ensure objectivity and high standards, these studies are being independently reviewed.
The Study Process
The 83-mile long Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point study area contains many different physical environments and distinct geographic areas, each having individual problems and needs. The planning process consists of a series of steps to identify problems, propose and evaluate alternative solutions, and ultimately identify a recommended plan. The development of alternative plans will combine different measures in different locations of the study area. This approach offers both flexibility and opportunities for long-term decisions about what works best for each location, as well as for the entire study area. While the specific solutions will vary, the following basic components are being evaluated at all locations:
- Coastal Management Measures (inlet modifications or breach contingency plans)
- Storm Damage Reduction Options
- Locally Implemented Floodplain Management Plans
Coastal management measures will address issues such as the condition of inlets including the need for sand bypassing, and emergency response to storm events. This assessment may result in adopting new procedures for maintaining navigation inlets or responding to breaches in the barrier system.
Storm damage reduction options may include structural and non-structural options, and may supplement the effectiveness of coastal management measures. The study approach is to identify cost-effective regional or coastal protection features, such as beach and dune fill and groin modification. Concurrently, the direct protection of flood plain development through measures such as flood proofing or structure acquisition will be evaluated and ultimately integrated into a comprehensive plan.
An additional element of the FIMP project will be a Floodplain Management Plan to ensure the future effectiveness of the Coastal Management Measures or the Storm Damage Reduction features. The elements of the Floodplain Management Plan will be developed in parallel with the development of the Coastal Management Measures and Storm Damage Reduction features.
While Coastal Management and Storm Damage reduction features may be implemented with federal funding support, the Floodplain Management Plan is implemented at the state, county and community level.
For more information please read the Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point Project Fact Sheet or email the Project Manager.