NEW YORK — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Mayor de Blasio announced the maintenance dredging of East Rockaway Inlet is expected to be completed soon. USACE contractor, Weeks Marine, Cranford, N.J. has been performing maintenance dredging of East Rockaway Inlet since April 2019 and using the dredged sand to re-nourish and restore Rockaway beach between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 105th Street. The work is expected to be completed by the beginning of hurricane season, which starts on June 1, 2019.
“This is just another example of the fantastic work the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does on a regular basis both in New York and across the Nation,” said Col. Thomas Asbery, the Army Corps’ New York District commander. “Our crews worked 24/7 to get this project done because it’s vital to the residents of this community. 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.”
"For New Yorkers, summer means Rockaway beach," de Blasio said. "That's why I could not be happier to announce we will have the entire beach open in time for Memorial Day weekend."
“This project required the removal of three hundred forty eight thousand cubic yards,” said Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “If you put that in a football field, it would be about 20 stories high. This is a tremendous accomplishment and I couldn't be prouder of our entire USACE team.”
It took a month of round-the-clock sand dredging to replenish the beach, not only for recreation and livelihoods. “This project will help protect those who live along the shoreline more so from future storms that will likely come our way,” said Maj. Gen. Jeff Milhorn, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division.
The beaches were closed last year due to significant erosion in the wake of the storms, in an area still recovering from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. 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.
The work will also restore and ensure safe passage for both commercial and recreational vessel traffic through East Rockaway Inlet. USACE is expected to remove approximately, 348,000 cubic yards of sand from the inlet and place it between Beach 92nd and Beach 105th Streets to replace lost sand due to heavy erosion after last March’s back-to-back nor’easters.
The project's success can be attributed to the Army Corps' New York District partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as well as significant cooperation at the state and federal levels.
“The close relationship with the Army Corps and New York City has been phenomenal in the process of completing this project,” said Alexander Gregory, project manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. “We are even more excited about the prompt turnaround the contractor was able to complete the project before the start of hurricane season.”
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.