Public comment period will be open until September 30, 2016
NEW YORK – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, announces the availability of the Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft GRR/EIS) for the proposed Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, New York (FIMP) Coastal Storm Risk Management Project and the opening of a 60-day review period for the public to submit written comments.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is very pleased to be releasing the Fire Island to Montauk Point draft feasibility study for public comment," said Col. David Caldwell, commander, New York District. "This study has been in the works for some time but working with our partners at the federal, state and local levels, I'm pleased to take another significant step to increase the resiliency of the community and provide coastal storm risk management for the Fire Island and back-bay communities."
With the passage of Public Law 113-2, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, the Army Corps has been provided the authority and funding to complete ongoing coastal storm risk management projects and studies in the Northeast, including the Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point Project. The Army Corps has evaluated and prepared a Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the currently authorized, but unconstructed coastal storm risk management project that was originally designed to provide for beach erosion control and hurricane protection along five reaches of the Atlantic Coast of New York from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, and south shore communities within Suffolk County, NY.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The release of this Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement is an important milestone, decades in the making, which moves New York State and the Army Corps of Engineers one step closer to the construction of the project. I look forward to continuing to work with our federal and local partners to complete this comprehensive storm damage reduction project so we can better protect citizens, businesses and economy of Long Island.”
Prior to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Army Corps was conducting a reformulation study of the existing project that was congressionally authorized in 1960 to document changes in existing conditions and improvements in science and engineering during that time period as well as those following Hurricane Sandy. It was determined that conditions have changed significantly, and changes were made in the Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement reflect this. Impacts from Hurricane Sandy within the FIMP study area were severe and substantial: three breaches of the barrier islands, multiple over-washes, shorefront damages, and extensive back-bay flooding.
Immediate post-Sandy impacts included the beach losing a significant amount of its sand volume, and a majority of the dunes were flattened or experienced severe erosion. As a result, the Corps of Engineers, in partnership with New York State, has undertaken stabilization efforts on Fire Island (Fire Island to Moriches Inlet, FIMI) and Downtown Montauk as short-term measures to reducing storm risks in these areas until FIMP is in place.
As a result of Sandy, the following changes were evaluated and incorporated in the Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement: a dune alignment located further landward to acknowledge the post-Sandy dune and beach conditions; inclusion of a proactive breach response plan in Smith Point County Park and the Lighthouse Tract (the federal property east of Robert Moses State Park) to manage risk better within these heavily impacted areas; a 30-year commitment of renourishment of beach fill recognizing the potential for variable beach conditions between renourishment cycles; a conditional breach response plan on National Park Service-owned land allow for a decision if a breach is closing naturally or if mechanical closure is needed; and incorporating improvements in land-management regulations that will be recommended for implementation by others.
The Draft General Re-evaluation Report identifies the alternatives considered in arriving at the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP). Col. Caldwell states that, "Detailed designs won't be completed until after the comments are incorporated through the public and agency review process and approval. Therefore, the Corps is asking for participation in public meetings and comments to both strengthen the report and help identify areas that should be adjusted. It is expected that changes will occur and the Corps is continuing to work with other agencies and stakeholders to do this as part of the well-established process."
This report and its associated documents are available on New York District’s website at: http://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Projects-in-New-York/Fire-Island-to-Montauk-Point-Reformulation-Study/
Public comments on the Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) project should be submitted to:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Planning Division-Environmental Branch (ATTN: Mr. Robert Smith)
26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278-0090
Public comments can also be submitted by e-mail to:
Project Biologist Robert.J.Smith@usace.army.mil and Project Manager Mark.f.Lulka@usace.army.mil
Further instructions for submitting comments can be found on the District’s Website. Comments received by September 30, 2016 regarding the Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement will assist in the agency’s evaluation of the project changes and will be reflected in the project record.
All written comments, including contact information, will be made a part of the administrative record, available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Administrative Record, or portions thereof, may also be posted on a Corps of Engineers’ Internet website. Due to resource limitations, this office generally cannot acknowledge receipt of comments or respond to individual letters of comments.
USACE will also be holding a series of public meetings within the next 60 days to solicit comment and feedback concerning the draft feasibility report. The Corps is in close coordination with non-federal partners regarding details on time, places and format. Specific meeting information will be announced shortly.