News Releases

Army Corps of Engineers, NYC Mayor, and U.S. Sen. Schumer Announce that Rockaway Beach Will be Fully Open This Summer

Published May 15, 2019

Thanks to partnership with Congressman Meeks, Comptroller Stringer and Borough President Katz, section of beach that was closed last summer due to heavy erosion will re-open for the 2019 beach season

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today joined US Army Corps Lt. Gen Semonite, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, and Ethan Long, owner of the Rockaway Beach Brewing Company, to mark the completion of the East Rockaway Inlet maintenance dredging project. USACE contractor Weeks Marine began dredging in April 2019, using the dredged sand to re-nourish and restore Rockaway beach between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 105th Street. The Mayor, Senator Schumer, Congressman Meeks, Comptroller Stringer and Borough President Katz worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to find this solution, which will allow for the re-opening of this stretch of beach this summer.

“For New Yorkers, summer means Rockaway beach. That’s why I could not be happier to announce we will have the entire beach open in time for Memorial Day weekend,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I want to thank all the stakeholders who came together to make the hopes of so many New Yorkers a reality – we could not have done it without your partnership.”

“This is just another example of the fantastic work USACE does on a regular basis both in New York and across the Nation. Our crews worked 24/7 to get this project done because it’s vital to the residents of this community,” said Colonel Thomas D. Asbery, commander, USACE, New York District. “Our efforts to beneficially reuse the dredged material to restore this section of the Rockaway’s heavily eroded shorefront will provide additional coastal storm risk reduction benefits and increase resiliency in advance of hurricane season. I would like to thank our partners at the city, state and federal levels for their enthusiasm and support of this project.”

“Getting tons of sand onto Rockaway Beach in time for summer – and avoid a repeat disaster of prime time beach closures – required every level of government to dig in deep. And using the sand from the East Rockaway dredge was a win-win plan because it keeps open a vital channel and all of Rockaway Beach. I fought hard to secure the extra money Army Corps needed to dredge, and pushed the plan to use that sand to shore up the most eroded parts of the beach, which were closed last season. Kudos to Mayor de Blasio and the Army Corps for working together to fix for this situation. No one wanted to have another partial beach shutdown again this summer—and now we won’t,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

USACE awarded a contract for $10.7M to Weeks Marine to perform needed maintenance dredging of the East Rockaway Inlet Federal Navigation Channel. The City contributed $2.7M to restore this section of the beaches, which were closed last year because of significant erosion.

The work also restores and ensures safe passage for both commercial and recreational vessel traffic through East Rockaway Inlet. USACE removed approximately 348,000 cubic yards of sand from the inlet.

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.

New York City’s public beaches will open for swimming starting on Saturday, May 25 and remain open through Sunday, September 8.

“It is great news for all New Yorkers that Rockaway Beach will be open this summer,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Getting more sand on the beach in this area has been a major priority for us all, and I want to thank the Mayor, Senator Schumer, Congressman Meeks, US Army Corps and our sister agencies, including OMB and the Comptroller’s Office, for working seamlessly together to ensure that the replenishment was done in time for Memorial Day weekend.”

“The Rockaway Beach is the bedrock of the surrounding Queens communities and a lifeblood for the economy, and we must do everything we can to protect our coastal communities from extreme weather and erosion. My office moved swiftly to help the City and the federal government get this vital project moving and pave the way for the completion in time for the summer season, and I commend all parties for working together to get this done,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer.

“It is encouraging to see the dredging work start on schedule to replenish this section of Rockaway so that the entire beach is open in time for summer for all the city to enjoy. I commend Senator Schumer, Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for working in conjunction with my office to restore Rockaway beach while we build long term solutions for preventing sand erosion going forward,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks.

“The completion of this sand replenishment project is welcome news for Rockaway Beach residents and visitors, who will now have access to the entire beach this summer,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This important step forward for the Rockaway Peninsula could not have been accomplished without the City and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working together to get the job done. All those who helped make this replenishment a reality deserve to be commended for their hard work on behalf of the beachgoers and business owners who rely on having access to all of Rockaway Beach.”
“I applaud the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers (ACOE), my partners in government, and most important our community for a huge victory today- the completion of replenishment of sand on our beaches! The replenishment will serve as temporary relief for the years-long erosion plaguing our beaches. This is a positive first step and in order to fully protect our community we need permanent measures as soon as possible. I want to thank everyone for their advocacy in quickly getting this completed,” said Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato.

“This is great news – not only for the residents of The Rockaways, but also for the local business owners who suffered because of last year’s beach closure,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich. “I am looking forward to a wonderful beach season where people from all over the city can enjoy Rockaway’s beautiful beaches.”

NYC Press Office
(212) 788-2958
USACE Michael Embrich

Release no. 19-008