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Army Corps of Engineers and New York City Mayor Announce Beginning of Process to Dredge East Rockaway Inlet, Paving the Way for Beach Re-Nourishment in the Rockaways

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District
Published April 1, 2019
Updated: April 1, 2019

The Corps’ will use all of the dredged sand for beach re-nourishment between Beaches 92nd Street and Beach 103rd Street; goal is to have work completed in time for the beginning of beach season

NEW YORK — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Mayor De Blasio today announced that a USACE contractor, Weeks Marine, Cranford, N.J. has begun moving work vessels, pipe, and other equipment to perform maintenance dredging of East Rockaway Inlet to beneficially use dredged sand to re-nourish and restore Rockaway beach between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 103rd Street. The Mayor, Senator Schumer and Congressman Meeks worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to find this solution, which should allow for the reopening of this stretch of beach this coming summer, depending on the severity of spring storms.

“It’s happening! Equipment is on the move, and work is starting that will restore the previously closed stretch of Rockaway Beach in time for summer,” said Mayor De Blasio. “The summer wouldn’t be the same for the community and for families across the city without this work. The Army Corps and our federal partners have been critical to getting this solution in action.”

“I am super thrilled to see the mobilization of equipment, which represents the next step in our process to begin executing this vital maintenance dredging contract," said Colonel Thomas Asbery, commander, USACE, New York District. "With hurricane season beginning June 1st, it's extremely important that we take full advantage of the opportunity to beneficially reuse the dredged material to restore portions of Rockaway's heavily eroded shorefront and provide additional coastal storm risk reduction benefits for the residents of the Rockaway community. I would like to thank our partners at the City and the leaders at the federal, state, and local levels for their enthusiasm and support of this project.”

USACE, New York District, recently awarded a contract for $10.7M to Weeks Marine to perform needed maintenance dredging of the East Rockaway Inlet Federal Navigation Channel. The City is contributing $2.7M to pump the sand two and a half miles farther west along Rockaway Beach in order to restore this section of the beaches which were closed last year because of significant erosion.

Tugboats, towing rafts of submergible pipe, have begun arriving in East Rockaway Inlet from Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey, and installation is ongoing. The submersible pipes are being installed in the ocean from East Rockaway Inlet west to Beach 87th Street, where the pipeline will come out of the ocean and onto the beach at Beach 88th Street, east of the most western groin. During the week of April 1st, additional pipe and bulldozers, wheel loaders and work sheds will arrive at the staging area between Beach 109th and 110th Streets.

USACE is expected to begin dredging operations the week of April 8th, 2019, pending the severity of spring storms, with a completion date before June 1, 2019, which is the beginning of Hurricane season. The work will restore and ensure safe passage for both commercial and recreational vessel traffic through East Rockaway 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.

In 2013, the USACE placed 3.5 million cubic yards of sand on Rockaway Beach following Superstorm Sandy to rebuild the beach and provide significant storm risk reduction. In addition, the New York District is now in the process of receiving the final approvals from USACE headquarters for the Rockaway & Jamaica Bay Reevaluation Report.  This report will authorize the construction, at 100% Federal cost, of new erosion control features (such as "jetties" or groins), additional beach fill and reinforced dunes, as well as flood risk reduction features on both the Atlantic and bayside shoreline of the Rockaway peninsula.

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.

“The resources that we are investing now will go a long way towards making beach season in the Rockaways better than ever,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “I will continue pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize this project for our neighbors in southern Queens and the countless New Yorkers who visit and enjoy these beautiful beaches every year.”

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ equipment is a welcome sight for the community eager to have this key stretch of Rockaway beach open in time for the season,” said Representative Gregory Meeks. “Last year’s nor’easters were devastating for Rockaway, not just for beachgoers, but the businesses who make their year’s income during the summer months. By restoring the sand and moving forward with final approvals for erosion controls and flood reductions, we are not just restoring Rockaway, we’re reinforcing it.”

“We are thrilled to announce that the dredging project to replenish Rockaway Beach will begin this week, and we are very hopeful that this will allow us to open the entire beach this summer,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “For many local New Yorkers and visitors, summer just wouldn’t be the same without this treasured city beach. We’re very grateful for the support from Mayor De Blasio and the US Army Corps of Engineers to bring the sand back to Rockaway.”

“Addressing erosion on Rockaway Beach provides important resiliency benefits for families who call the Rockaways home” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “By partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on this dredging project, we’re on track to re-open this stretch of beach by the start of hurricane season. We will continue to work diligently with USACE to advance long-term erosion and storm resiliency measures that will protect Rockaway and Jamaica Bay communities for generations to come.”

Release no. 19-004