AUTHORIZATION: Rivers and Harbors Act of 1930.
DESCRIPTION: This navigation asset is located on the south shore of Long Island, NY between the main body of the island and the western end of Long Beach Barrier Island, between Far Rockaway, Queens County, NY and Atlantic Beach, Nassau County, NY, about 27 miles by water southeast of the Battery, New York City; and provides for a channel, 12 feet deep, 250 feet wide, from a 12 foot depth in the Atlantic Ocean to a 12 foot depth in East Rockaway Inlet, protected by a jetty of about 4,250 feet on the east side of the channel; a 3,000 feet jetty on the west side of the channel was originally authorized, but never constructed, and deauthorized by Congress in 1977.
COMMERCE: This asset supports 27,000 tons of commerce/cargo, including fuel oil for a 265-MW electric power station, and two import/export bulk product terminals (construction aggregate, recycled materials), and the commercial fishing fleet located in Oceanside, NY.
BACKGROUND: The channel was last maintenance dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, when approximately 249,000 cubic yards (CY) of dredged sand was removed and beneficially used along the down drift Rockaway Beach shore line (between Beach 27th Street and Beach 38th Street). Prior to that, the channel was maintenance dredging in FY2013, when approximately 271,000 CY of dredged sand was removed and placed at the same location along the Rockaway Beach shoreline. In FY2015, the east jetty was repaired after Hurricane Sandy.
STATUS: USACE New York District has awarded a contract for $10.7M to Weeks Marine of Cranford, N.J. to perform critically needed maintenance dredging of the East Rockaway Inlet Federal Navigation Channel. The work to restore and ensure safe passage for both commercial and recreational vessel traffic through the inlet began at the end of March. The work will be completed prior to June 1st, the beginning of Hurricane Season. The work will remove approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sand from the inlet and place it between Beach 92nd and Beach 103rd Streets to replace lost sand due to heavy erosion after last March’s back-to-back nor’easters. The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is contributing an additional $2.7M to pump the sand two and a half miles farther west in order to avoid potential flooding impacts.
Alexander F. Gregory, Project Manager,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278
District Area: NY #4, #5
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (Q’s & A’s)
SUBJECT: East Rockaway Inlet, New York Maintenance Dredging Project, in Partnership with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Dredged Sand Placement between Beach 92nd and Beach 103rd Streets
Q1. What are you doing here?
A1. We are performing needed maintenance dredging with our contractor Weeks Marine to restore the important navigation channel in East Rockaway Inlet; and in partnership with New York City Parks Department, putting the 348,000 cubic yards of sand between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 106th Street, to restore lost sand due to heavy erosion that occurred last year.
Q2. Are they working nights & weekends?
A2. Yes, we work 24/7, weather and seas permitting, so that the work can be finished as soon as possible.
Q3. How long will the construction last?
A3. We expect to finish before Hurricane Season, which starts on June 1st.
Q4. How much is this going to cost?
A4. This overall project costs approximately $12 million, of which the City of New York is providing $2.7 million to pump the sand the additional 2.5 miles to Beach 92nd Street to Beach 106th Street.
Q5. Why is the sand coming out of the pipe such a dark color?
A5. The sand is dredged from the inlet in a sea water slurry. What you are seeing is WET SAND coming out of the pipe. After a few days of drying, the sea water will disappear, and the sand will become the standard beach color.
Q6. Will the beach be ready for Memorial Day 2019?
A6. We are working to finish before Hurricane Season, which starts June 1st.
Q7. What measures are in place to keep the public safe?
A7. Our partners in the New York City Department of Parks are providing work area security, asking citizens to stay up on the boardwalk and away from the ongoing work.
Q8. Is there any environmental benefit to the work?
A8. Yes, this critically needed maintenance dredging will restore full channel dimensions in the inlet, reducing the risk of vessels grounding and an oil spill. Furthermore, using the dredged sand to restore the eroded beach will reduce the risk of the vegetated dunes being washed away exposing the area to flooding.
Q9. Did this dredging cause the tar balls to wash up on the Jacob Riis Beach?
A9. No, the oil tar balls came from a small oil spill in the Arthur Kill waterway between New Jersey and Staten Island, which was unrelated to the dredging.
Q10. How does this work relate to the promised groins and new beach areas?
A10. This work you see will stabilize this area until the permanent work can be constructed.
Q11. When do you expect the permanent work to start?
A11. We expect to start in early 2020.