New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Charles Schumer, Comptroller Stringer, Representative Meeks and Borough President Katz announced an agreement between the City and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to use dredged sand to re-nourish and restore Rockaway beach between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 103rd Street. Depending on when dredging work commences and the severity of spring storms, the project should allow for the reopening of this stretch of beach this coming summer.
“Rockaway Beach defines summer in New York City,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Reopening this beach means a lot to this community and families all over the city. We’ve worked months with the Army Corps and our federal partners on a solution to get it done.”
“I cannot be prouder of the team effort to award this vital maintenance dredging contract with our partner, the City of New York,” said Colonel Thomas Asbery, Commander, USACE, New York District. “The safety of the navigation channels and shoreline resiliency is USACE’s top priority in our world class harbor estuary of New York and New Jersey. We have seized the opportunity to beneficially reuse dredge material to provide coastal storm risk reduction measures along the heavily eroded portion of the Rockaway shorefront. This is a tremendous benefit for the community and for the City of New York.”
USACE New York District has awarded a contract for $10.7M to Weeks Marine of Cranford, N.J. to perform needed maintenance dredging of the East Rockaway Inlet Federal Navigation Channel. The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is contributing $2.7M to pump the sand two and a half miles farther west in order to avoid potential environmental impacts. The work will restore and ensure safe passage for both commercial and recreational vessel traffic through the inlet. USACE is expected to 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. Maintenance dredging of East Rockaway Inlet is expected to begin in spring 2019.
In 2013, USACE placed 3.5M cubic yards of sand on the beaches following Superstorm Sandy to help strengthen the resiliency of its coastal storm risk reduction project, which was originally built in the 1970s.
In addition, the USACE New York District is in the process of receiving final approval from USACE headquarters for the East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet & Jamaica Bay General Revaluation Report, with the goal of beginning the first elements of construction in late 2019. The plan calls for a reinforced dune (composite seawall) with a height of 17 feet. This structure will stretch from Beach 9th Street to Beach 149th Street.
The plan also calls for increased beach berm with 1.6 m cubic yards of sand for initial placement, the extension of 5 groins already in place and the construction of 13 new groins --all designed to help reduce the risk from future coastal storms and provide additional resiliency for the residents of this community.
“Rockaway beach is not just vital to our city as a whole, it’s the bedrock of surrounding Queens communities. I’m glad that the City and the Federal government came to the table, and that my office was able to take swift action to move this project forward for the Rockaway community,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “We all know how resilient the Rockaway community is, but we can’t let delays take over this process. We’ll keep the spotlight on to ensure the community is always put first.”
“Rockaway is not only an iconic part of the city of New York where families can enjoy the beach weather, it is where many local businesses earn their entire year’s revenue throughout the summer months. The closure of this stretch of beach last year was economically damaging for the local community and I am determined to see the beach reopen in time for the season. I thank both the City and the Army Corps of engineers for working in conjunction with my office to find a solution,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks.
"Rockaway Beach is a major attraction in the City of New York. It drives the economy of the peninsula and its resiliency is crucial to the residents, businesses and visitors. It is important that it be fully restored in time for this summer” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. "We look forward to the partnership that produced sand to allow our beaches to reopen this summer and the added resiliency benefits that this addition will bring.”
“We’re grateful to the Army Corps for enabling us to use the sand they will be dredging to replenish Rockaway. The City has always been exploring a way to reopen this section, and we’re very happy that the timing, cost and permitting processes aligned to enable this. We recognize that reopening is important for the community, and adds some additional protection for this coastal community while we await the Army Corps’ long-term reformulation project,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.