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FIMP - Frequently Asked Questions

Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, NY (FIMP) Project

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: September, 23 2021

For general questions about the FIMP project see General Frequently Asked Questions.

For questions about nonstructural project features, including structure elevations, floodproofing, and acquisitions (buyouts) see Nonstructural Frequently Asked Questions.


 

General Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, NY (FIMP) project?

FIMP is a coastal storm risk management project that will be designed to manage the risk of coastal storm damage along Long Island’s Atlantic Coast in a manner that balances the risks to human life and property, while maintaining, enhancing, and restoring ecosystem integrity and coastal biodiversity. The Project includes beach, dune, and berm construction, as well as breach response plans on barrier islands; inlet management; groin modifications; and coastal process features. The plan also includes the potential elevation and floodproofing of eligible structures located in the 10% (10-year) floodplain, as well as mandatory acquisition of a small number of properties.

Where is the FIMP project located?

The project includes construction along 83 miles along Long Island’s Atlantic Coast shoreline from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, and 200+ miles of back-bay shoreline along Long Island’s south shore, including Great South Bay, Moriches Bay and Shinnecock Bay. It spans the south shore of Suffolk County, including portions of the Towns of Babylon, Islip, Brookhaven, Southampton, and East Hampton; 12 incorporated villages; the Fire Island National Seashore; and the Poospatuck and Shinnecock Indian Reservations.

Why is this project being done?

The U.S. Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to study and recommend a plan to manage coastal storm risk to Long Island’s south shore communities, which have repeatedly suffered significant flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure from severe storms. Project construction was originally authorized by Section 101 of the River and Harbor Act of 1960, with modifications to the project authorized by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-2).

How much will the project cost? Who is paying for it?

The initial project construction cost is estimated to be $1.5 billion. The Project is eligible to be constructed at 100% Federal expense through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-2), subject to execution of a Project Partnership Agreement and the availability of funds. After completion of initial construction, future beach renourishment would be cost-shared between USACE, New York State, and the local municipalities.  Some costs of nonstructural measures are not eligible for Federal funding, as explained on this page – see “Nonstructural Frequently Asked Questions.”

Where can I find additional information?

See the FIMP project website. Downloadable PDF files of the Chief of Engineer’s Report, Hurricane Sandy Draft General Re-evaluation Report (HSGRR), Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and appendices with supporting information provide details of the authorized project

I have questions about the project. Who can I contact?

Email the USACE Project Manager, Mark Lulka (Mark.F.Lulka@usace.army.mil).

How will the project complement or interfere with related local projects and plans, such as hazard mitigation plans and wetland restoration projects?

USACE and the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) will continue coordination with Suffolk County and local municipalities to ensure the project complements local efforts to increase community resilience.

Will residents be updated throughout the construction process? How do I have a say?

USACE, NYSDEC, and local municipalities are committed to continuing community involvement and consultation as the project is designed and constructed. Residents and other interested parties may join the FIMP Project email listserv to be updated about project status, public meetings, and other ways to get involved.

Public meetings will be held after a list of potentially eligible structures is identified. Public meeting information will be advertised via the project email listserv, project website, newspapers, flyers, and local newsletters. Elected officials and local municipalities may also advertise the meetings. The project website will be updated with information on a continual basis.


Nonstructural Frequently Asked Questions

What are nonstructural measures? Which types are included in the FIMP project?

Nonstructural measures are permanent or temporary measures applied to a structure and/or its contents that prevent or provide resistance to damage from flooding.  Nonstructural measures differ from structural measures such bulkheads and floodwalls, in that they focus on reducing the consequences of flooding instead of focusing on reducing the probability of flooding.

The project includes three types of nonstructural measures:

  • Elevation, also called home raising or home shoring, is the raising of a structure so that the lowest floor is above the flood level.
  • Floodproofing is a technique to reduce damage to flood prone structures that may be affected by floodwaters. Wet floodproofing includes making uninhabited portions of a structure resistant to flood damage and allowing water to enter during flooding. Dry floodproofing includes sealing a structure to prevent flood waters from entering.
  • Acquisition, or buyouts, includes purchasing the property and tearing down a flood prone structure.

Does the project mandate that my home be elevated or floodproofed?

No. Property owners have the choice of voluntarily signing up for the elevation or floodproofing of their structures.

How can I receive a FIMP elevation grant?

FIMP is not an elevation grant program. USACE will not provide grant funding to property owners as is the case for other Federal and state projects and programs to elevate homes (for example, New York Rising).

How do I sign up?

Property owners will be able to sign up for participation through the project website and through mail-in surveys. USACE, NYSDEC, and local municipalities will set up these methods and commence outreach to potentially eligible property owners in 2021, after the Project Partnership Agreement is executed and a list of eligible structures is finalized.

Who pays for construction? Will the Federal government pay contractors directly, or provide reimbursements to property owners?

Eligible initial construction costs will be paid by the Federal government directly to contractors, with no need to reimburse property owners. Some real estate costs may be initially paid by  project area municipalities, with reimbursement by the Federal government.

The specific mechanisms for payment and/or reimbursement have not yet been determined. The method chosen will be compliant with Federal regulations.

When will construction begin and end?

Construction of the project’s nonstructural portion is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2023. The project end date is currently unknown.

What criteria is used to determine eligibility? Is there a list of all eligible structures?

The Congressionally authorized plan provides for the potential nonstructural treatment (e.g., elevation, floodproofing, acquisition) of structures within the 10% (10-year) floodplain of the mainland. The parameters of the floodplain was determined by USACE using approved and reviewed coastal hydraulic and hydrology models.

Is my property included in the nonstructural plan?

USACE is currently refining the list of potentially eligible structures using information from Suffolk County, local municipalities, and field data. To reduce potential inaccuracies based on interim data, USACE will not provide information on the eligibility of specific structures moving forward until the verification effort is complete (expected fall 2021).  

USACE, NYSDEC, and local municipalities will communicate potential eligibility to property owners.  The owners of potentially eligible structures will be directly contacted via U.S. mail.

What criteria will be used to determine the final height of elevation for structures?

USACE guidance for the project requires that the final height of elevation, or the "target design elevation," for structures included in the project meet the standards required by the Federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, which is the higher of one foot above the Base Flood Elevation, or state and local standards. New York State Building Codes require that all new or retrofitted construction in flood prone areas have a target design elevation of two feet above the BFE. The target design elevation of all structure elevations is thus two feet above the BFE.

The target design elevations may be revised based upon observed and projected data to determine if project performance can be improved for the nonstructural plan components.

Will the project pay for access and egress accommodations for people who are disabled and/or elderly?

Ramps and elevators may be considered eligible project costs for those structures inhabited by people with disabilities if a nonstructural treatment will modify ingress and egress. Note it is not within the project scope to modify the interior of a privately-owned structure - for example, to widen doorways.

How long will occupants have to vacate their property during construction?

The length of time occupants will be displaced is currently unknown. Structure-specific construction schedules will be determined after design finalization and permit finalization.

Looking at the recent New York Rising program as an example, it may be assumed that occupants may be displaced for a period of 3 - 15 months. USACE recognizes this is a lengthy time and will look to minimize this timeframe to the maximum extent practicable to reduce impacts to occupants.

What expenses of construction will be the property owner’s responsibility?

Most construction costs are eligible for 100% Federal funding through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-2). However, some costs of nonstructural measures are not eligible for Federal funding. The non-Federal sponsor and/or the property owner is responsible for providing funding for costs beyond the scope of the project, that are not eligible to be paid for by USACE. These costs include:

  • Hazardous material remediation (e.g., asbestos, lead paint, oil/gas containers)
  • Municipal sewage system upgrades, as required by state or local regulations
  • Property owner-requested betterments (e.g., new deck, higher structure height)
  • Permitting:  town/village responsibility to process/issue building permits
  • Operation and maintenance: compliance inspections
  • Public/property owner communication
  • Any actions required for compliance with state or local law that are beyond the scope of the project

The Uniform Relocation Act (P.L. 91-646) allows USACE to provide temporary relocation assistance to occupants defined as a "displaced person": any person who moves from real property or moves their personal property from real property, either as a direct result of a written notice of intent to acquire or from the acquisition of such real property in whole or in part for the Federal program or project. The definition also includes such persons as residential tenants or those who conduct a small business, farm operation, or other business in which the head of the displacing agency determines that such displacement is permanent. Property owners will be provided with information on costs that are or are not eligible for Federal funding to inform their decision about participation in the project.

The definition would apply to: owner-occupants and tenant-occupants for mandatory project measures such as acquisitions (buyouts). The definition does not apply to owner-occupants for voluntary project measures such as structure elevations and floodproofing, as the owner would choose to participate in the project and temporarily vacate their structures on their own accord.  USACE is currently reviewing applicable Federal law, such as The Uniform Relocation Act (P.L. 91-646) referenced above, to determine whether relocation assistance would apply to tenant-occupants for voluntary project measures such as structure elevations and floodproofing.

Who will be responsible for securing permits and meeting any other regulatory requirements?

The USACE contractor will be responsible for submitting building permits to the appropriate town. Specific responsibilities for this action will be determined and communicated by USACE prior to the onboarding of a contractor.

Does FIMP include acquisition process?

Yes, FIMP does include some acquisition. USACE will follow all Federal acquisition regulations and processes during project construction, as mandated by Federal law.

Can the property owners seek an acquisition rather than elevation?

The nonstructural recommendation for each home will be evaluated on a case by case basis and will be based on an in-person survey with the structure owner.

What criteria will be used to decide what community or structures will be constructed first and which will be constructed last?

It has not yet been determined which areas are to be constructed first. USACE and NYSDEC are currently developing the criteria for construction sequencing and scheduling and will incorporate local input into these criteria.

Who will perform the actual construction and who will act as the General Contractor or provide oversight of the construction?

Specific contractors will be selected after execution of the Project Partnership Agreement. Details of specific contracting mechanisms are still in draft form. USACE assumes its contractor will act as the General Contractor and provide oversight of construction.

I am planning to renovate my home. Should I wait until after USACE elevates or floodproof my property?

The Federal government does not guarantee the elevation or floodproofing of any property. Properties are selected for eligibility by USACE who retains authority to revise selections at any time. USACE also retains the authority to select the timing of construction for each structure selected, whereby construction of any selected structure may not occur for multiple years. Waiting to elevate or floodproof carries with it the risk that USACE may not include your structure in their selection, or the risk that your structure may not be constructed for multiple years, and the risk that your structure may be damaged by floods in the interim. 

In general, who provides the typical 35% local cost share for construction of Civil Works projects? Who are the sponsors for these projects and how are they involved?

The non-federal cost-share is the responsibility of the non-federal sponsor that is a party to the Project Partnership Agreement (see question 1A). Usually a governmental entity—in this case the State of New York—is the non-federal sponsor for a project and provides whatever the cost-share is for the proposed project. In the case of FIMP, the funding is 100 percent federal and no percentage will be required from the non-federal sponsor, except for aspects that are the sole responsibility of the non-federal sponsor as required by policy and law (e.g., real estate, relocation, hazardous waste mitigation/removal).

Briefly explain what a Project Partnership Agreement is. What parties are involved for both FIMP and other projects?

A Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) is a legal agreement between the Army Corps of Engineers and the non-federal sponsor. It spells out the cost-share for the project and certifies the sponsor is legally and financially able to act as such. Typically, the non-federal sponsor that is party to a PPA is a state, municipal government, flood control district, port authority or other governmental/quasi-governmental organization. In addition, the PPA specifically outlines the roles and responsibilities of the non-federal sponsor, including the acquisition of all real estate necessary to construct the project and the long-term operation and maintenance of the project once construction is completed and the project is turned over to the local sponsor. Information about Project Partnership Agreements (PPAs) can be found here: https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Project-Partnership-Agreements

What approvals are necessary before an Army Corps project can be constructed?? How is USACE Headquarters involved?

There are a number of levels of approvals and authorizations, depending on the type of project.

FEMA elevation projects have a 75% Federal / 25% non-Federal cost share. Why do USACE projects have a different cost share? Who pays the local share?

The Army Corps Headquarters in Washington D.C. should be able to help you with this.

Which nonstructural (structure elevation) projects has USACE as a whole constructed? Is there a source with a comprehensive listing?

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive list of USACE nonstructural projects that have been constructed.

How do project teams choose which homes to elevate for nonstructural projects?

The Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, NY (FIMP) Project was designed to provide a long-term solution to manage flood risk from coastal storms along the densely-populated and economically-valuable Atlantic Coast of Long Island, NY in a manner that balances the risk to human life and property while maintaining, enhancing, and restoring ecosystem integrity and coastal biodiversity. As part the Congressionally-authorized FIMP plan, the project provides for the potential nonstructural treatment (elevation, floodproofing, acquisition) of structures within the 10 percent (10-year) floodplain of the mainland of Suffolk County, New York. As part of the FIMP study, USACE evaluated a range of structural and nonstructural solutions of varying scales to identify the recommended plan. This evaluation of alternatives -- and the benefits they provide -- was used to determine the structures recommended for treatment.  

CONTEXT: Nonstructural measures are permanent or contingent measures applied to a structure and/or its contents that prevent or provide resistance to damage from flooding. Nonstructural measures differ from structural measures in that they focus on reducing the consequences of flooding instead of reducing the probability of flooding.

For FIMP, Has the Army Corps of Engineers decided the number and locations of home-raisings? What are the criteria for selection?

The New York District has identified roughly 4,400 structures for elevations in low-lying communities on the south shore of Long Island in Suffolk County, New York that are located within the 10-percent floodplain (see question 4). These areas have historically suffered flooding from severe storms and tidal surges.

Can you tell me more about the Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, NY (FIMP) project?  What else is included besides home-raisings? What is the construction timeline?

The Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point Project is a comprehensive $1.7 billion coastal-storm risk-management project designed to reduce flood risk from severe storms and tidal surge along vulnerable areas of 83 miles of Fire Island (a barrier island) and mainland communities on the south shore of Long Island from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, New York. The project, located in Suffolk County, New York, includes multiple townships and municipalities that have historically suffered damage from severe storms. Work on the first contract is expected to begin this fall.