NEW YORK – Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, New York City , New York state and community partners came together to announce both the beginning of sand pumping on Rockaway Beach and the award of a $26.4 million contract for the placement of even more sand to aid post-Sandy restoration efforts.
Overall, the Corps is placing roughly 3.5 million cubic yards of sand along Rockaway Beach from Beach 19th to Beach 149th to replace sand lost during Hurricane Sandy. This work will restore the beach to its design profile—making it better than it was before Sandy’s impact. The work is being done through two contracts totaling $36.4 million.
The $26.4 million contract was awarded to Weeks Marine of Cranford, N.J., yesterday and is the second and larger of two sand placement contracts for Rockaway Beach. It is for the placement of roughly 3 million cubic yards of sand from Beach 19th Street to Beach 149th Street. The sand for this second contract will be dredged from an offshore borrow area.
The first of the two sand placement contracts for Rockaway was awarded earlier this summer and sand placement work on that contract is ongoing. It was a $10 million contract, also awarded to Weeks Marine. That contract was for the placement of roughly up to 600,000 cubic yards of sand being dredged from East Rockaway Inlet. Sand is being placed from Beach 89th to Beach 149th as part of the first contract.
The second, larger contract will include the placement of additional sand in areas where sand was placed through the first contract. When both contracts are complete, the beach will have been restored to its original design from when the Corps first constructed the beach in the 1970s in partnership with New York state and New York City. The originally constructed beach included at least a 100 foot wide beach berm that was 10 feet above sea level.
The beach restoration work at Rockaway is being done as part of near-term coastal restoration efforts taking place at previously constructed coastal storm risk reduction projects throughout the region. While the beach at Rockaway provides recreational benefits, it is primarily designed to act as a buffer to help reduce the impacts from coastal storms.
“The Army Corps of Engineers is excited to begin restoration work on Rockaway Beach," said New York District Commander Col. Paul E. Owen. “We’re proud to be working closely with our partners in the city and state of New York to help the Rockaway community as they continue to recover from the impacts of Sandy. This sand pumping work will help improve the area’s coastal storm risk reduction, while also improving recreation and restoring the beach which is an important part of Rockaway’s identity.”
The beach restoration work at Rockaway is being carried out to provide additional coastal storm risk reduction for the community using the Corps of Engineers statutory authorities to repair the federally constructed project at Rockaway that was constructed in the 1970s in partnership with the state of New York and New York City.
"New York City’s beaches are much more than places for fun in the sun – they’re also a critical defense against flooding and coastal storms," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "We’re hard at work strengthening those defenses – including here with Phase 2 of our restoration work in Rockaway Beach. Working with the Army Corps of Engineers, we are taking measures to not only reverse damage to the beach done by Sandy – but make the beach stronger than it was before the storm. That means communities on the Rockaway peninsula will be better protected from future storms and flooding."
The Corps is working closely with its partners in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as it carries out these beach restoration efforts at Rockaway Beach.
"New York City's beaches are not only a summer vacation for millions of people, they are a backyard for local residents and our first line of defense against future storms and flooding," said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. "Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, more than 3.5 million cubic yards of sand are being added to Rockaway Beach resulting in a beach that will be higher, wider, and more protective than it has been in decades.”
Everything the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does must be tied to a statutory authority and this work at Rockaway Beach is the result of two statutory authorities, one previously existing and one new since Hurricane Sandy.
Through the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies Act, PL 84-99, the Corps of Engineers is authorized to repair previously constructed projects after a large event like Hurricane Sandy. Put simply, this pre-existing authority allows the Corps to return the project area to pre-storm conditions. Through this legal authority, the Corps of Engineers is authorized to place approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of sand along Rockaway Beach to replace the roughly 1.5 million cubic yards of sand lost from the project area during Hurricane Sandy.
Through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (the Sandy Relief Bill, or PL 113-2), the Corps of Engineers is authorized to restore certain previously constructed projects impacted by Hurricane Sandy to their original design profile. Through this legal authority, the Corps of Engineers is authorized to place the additional roughly 2 million cubic yards of sand at Rockaway Beach to restore the project area to its original design profile. PL 113-2 also allocated the funds for the coastal restoration work.
While restoration work is going on, there will be rolling closures of roughly 1000 foot wide sections of the beach where construction work is active, but the Corps of Engineers will make efforts to limit the impacts of the ongoing work on recreation without compromising public safety. Closures will be closely coordinated with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The coastal restoration work at Rockaway Beach is part of a larger U.S. Army Corps of Engineers effort throughout the northeastern United States to place nearly 27 million cubic yards of sand to restore coastal storm risk reduction projects impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Nearly 8 million cubic yards of that will be placed at coastal storm risk reduction projects in the state of New York, including at Coney Island and at project sites along the south shore of Long Island.
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