New York District Header Image

NEW YORK DISTRICT

Home
Home > Media > News Stories > Story Article View

Story Article View



Posted 12/21/2018

Bookmark and Share Email Print

By James D'Ambrosio
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NY District


It’s a blustery morning as Ryan Ferguson, an engineer with the Army Corps’ New York District, traverses the shoreline in a four-wheel-drive pickup along Fire Island National Seashore 50 miles east of New York City. Following an autumn nor’easter that pounded the beach, he begins his daily routine overseeing an Army Corps project which involves restoring an area of shoreline severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Ferguson, occupying a one-person beachfront office trailer, will guide and provide quality assurance for $281 million worth of work reducing risk of flooding and damage from severe storms to people, property and infrastructure along a 19-mile stretch of coastline.

ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE

“Fire Island to Moriches Inlet (FIMI) is a multi-faceted project repairing severe damage to an important coastal area and habitat,” said Robert Vohden, project manager, adding, “We’re constructing a well-coordinated mix of features to help withstand the power of the Atlantic Ocean.”

PROJECT FEATURES

Placing more than seven (7) million cubic yards of sand along the shoreline

Demolishing 26 structures and relocating 13 others

Installing 100+ vehicle and pedestrian crossovers for beach access

Building several miles of dunes with plantings

Relocating one water utility

REDUCING RISK TO 17 COMMUNITIES

The project encompasses 17 coastal communities on Fire Island ꟷ a strip of narrow barrier islands along the south shore of Long Island in Suffolk County, New York. Included within the project area are Robert Moses State Park and Smith Point County Park, two popular summer-time recreation areas. Fully funded through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-2), it’s one of many projects the District has been restoring after Hurricane Sandy devastated coastal areas of New York and New Jersey in 2012.

SURMOUNTING CHALLENGES

One challenge the project encountered has been acquiring the necessary land and real estate ꟷ through easements and buyouts led by Suffolk County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ꟷ which takes time. Land acquisition is critical: there has to be adequate area to construct dunes in a straight line to effectively withstand ocean forces. Without such engineering precision, the project could not perform as designed.

COMPREHENSIVE MIX OF PROTECTION

According to Vohden, restorations are location-specific, providing a combination of risk-reduction features necessitated by topography, human activity and environmental considerations. In some areas that means beach fill and dunes are necessary to hold back storm surge. In others, there’s environmental considerations, such as the Piping Plover, a federally-protected shorebird under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act that requires a habitat conducive to nesting and foraging. To that end, in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps has implemented a plover monitoring program ensuring the species has the proper environment to thrive.

FOUR REACHES

The scope and breadth of the project has necessitated dividing work into four reaches: 1) Smith Point County Park; 2)  Robert Moses State Park to Saltaire; 3) Fair Harbor to Seaview; and 4) Ocean Bay Park to Davis Park. Smith Point County Park, having the lowest elevation and more vulnerable to erosion from severe storms, has already been completed, along with reaches two and three.

To date, nearly 5.6 million cubic yards of sand has been placed over a stretch of nearly 15 miles. Another two million cubic yards is scheduled to be placed in the fourth reach of Ocean Bay Park through Davis Park.

It’s a blustery morning as Ryan Ferguson, an engineer with the Army Corps’ New York District, traverses the shoreline in a four-wheel-drive pickup along Fire Island National Seashore 50 miles east of New York City. Following an autumn nor’easter that pounded the beach, he begins his daily routine overseeing an Army Corps project which involves restoring an area of shoreline severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Ferguson, occupying a one-person beachfront office trailer, will guide and provide quality assurance for $281 million worth of work reducing risk of flooding and damage from severe storms to people, property and infrastructure along a 19-mile stretch of coastline.

ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE

“Fire Island to Moriches Inlet (FIMI) is a multi-faceted project repairing severe damage to an important coastal area and habitat,” said Robert Vohden, project manager, adding, “We’re constructing a well-coordinated mix of features to help withstand the power of the Atlantic Ocean.”

PROJECT FEATURES

● Placing more than seven (7) million cubic yards of sand along the shoreline

● Demolishing 26 structures and relocating 13 others

● Installing 100+ vehicle and pedestrian crossovers for beach access

● Building several miles of dunes with plantings

● Relocating one water utility

REDUCING RISK TO 17 COMMUNITIES

The project encompasses 17 coastal communities on Fire Island ꟷ a strip of narrow barrier islands along the south shore of Long Island in Suffolk County, New York. Included within the project area are Robert Moses State Park and Smith Point County Park, two popular summer-time recreation areas. Fully funded through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-2), it’s one of many projects the District has been restoring after Hurricane Sandy devastated coastal areas of New York and New Jersey in 2012.

SURMOUNTING CHALLENGES

One challenge the project encountered has been acquiring the necessary land and real estate ꟷ through easements and buyouts led by Suffolk County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ꟷ which takes time. Land acquisition is critical: there has to be adequate area to construct dunes in a straight line to effectively withstand ocean forces. Without such engineering precision, the project could not perform as designed.

COMPREHENSIVE MIX OF PROTECTION

According to Vohden, restorations are location-specific, providing a combination of risk-reduction features necessitated by topography, human activity and environmental considerations. In some areas that means beach fill and dunes are necessary to hold back storm surge. In others, there’s environmental considerations, such as the Piping Plover, a federally-protected shorebird under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act that requires a habitat conducive to nesting and foraging. To that end, in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps has implemented a plover monitoring program ensuring the species has the proper environment to thrive.

FOUR REACHES

The scope and breadth of the project has necessitated dividing work into four reaches: 1) Smith Point County Park; 2)  Robert Moses State Park to Saltaire; 3) Fair Harbor to Seaview; and 4) Ocean Bay Park to Davis Park. Smith Point County Park, having the lowest elevation and more vulnerable to erosion from severe storms, has already been completed, along with reaches two and three.

To date, nearly 5.6 million cubic yards of sand has been placed over a stretch of nearly 15 miles. Another two million cubic yards is scheduled to be placed in the fourth reach of Ocean Bay Park through Davis Park.

 

FIMI USACE