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Five Years Later: Long Beach's Remarkable Recovery

New York District
Published Jan. 3, 2024
Updated: Jan. 3, 2024
Long Beach, NY

Heavy machinery works to set up pipes for sand pumping at Long Beach, NY.

Long Beach, NY

Heavy machinery works to set up pipes for sand pumping at Long Beach, NY

Long Beach, NY

Beachgoers line up to get onto Long Beach.

Long Beach, NY

Heavy machinery works to set up pipes for sand pumping at Long Beach, NY

Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers embarked on a monumental mission to transform the vulnerable shores of Long Beach, New York, into a bastion of coastal resilience and recreational splendor. Today, as we look back, Long Beach emerges not just as a recovered town but as a shining example of what proactive, collaborative efforts can achieve in the face of nature's unpredictability.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's devastation in 2012, the need for a robust coastal defense system was painfully evident. Responding to this need, the Corps launched the Long Beach Coastal Storm Risk Reduction Project. The $130 million project was a colossal undertaking, executed in two meticulously planned phases over three years. The project's scope was vast: four new groins were constructed, 18 existing groins were rehabilitated, and 284,000 tons of rock were installed. The beachfront was not just fortified but also expanded, with a staggering 3.2 million cubic yards of sand used to widen the beach and reinforce the critical sand dunes.

The project's completion in 2019, just before the onset of the hurricane season, marked a new era for Long Beach. The expanded beach, now stretching an additional 150 feet along the shoreline, not only enhances the area's natural beauty and recreational appeal but also serves as a formidable barrier against potential floods and storm surges. This dual purpose of shore protection and recreation has been a central theme in the project's design and execution.

The transformation of Long Beach required an intricate dance of construction and environmental stewardship. During the summer months, as beachgoers enjoyed the sun and surf, the Corps carried out sand placement operations with minimal interference. This feat was achieved through a combination of innovative techniques and strategic planning. Construction was conducted in sections, ensuring that no part of the beach was completely off-limits to the public. The use of a portable pump for sand placement and an offshore dredge minimized the environmental footprint, a critical consideration in the delicate coastal ecosystem.

The project's success is a testament to the power of collaboration. Federal, state, and local agencies worked hand in hand, navigating the challenges of such a large-scale project. From meticulous engineering and environmental assessments to ensuring minimal impact on the local economy and community's quality of life, every aspect was handled with care and precision.

Looking back, the Long Beach Coastal Storm Risk Reduction Project is more than just an engineering triumph. It is a story of resilience, innovation, and unwavering community spirit. In the face of adversity, Long Beach has not only rebuilt but has set a new standard for coastal communities worldwide. The expanded beaches, fortified groins, and reinforced dunes stand as silent guardians against future storms, ensuring the safety and well-being of the residents and preserving the natural charm of this beloved coastal town.

As we mark five years since the completion of this project, Long Beach stands as a beacon of hope and a model of adaptation. It's a reminder of the power of human ingenuity and collaboration in overcoming the challenges posed by nature. The Long Beach of today is a resilient, vibrant, and thriving community, ready to face whatever the future holds.