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Jun 29, 2016 4:50 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

$1 Billion Army Corps Coastal Resiliency Plan Does Not Include Major Beach Rebuilding In Montauk

Jul 5, 2016 1:52 PM

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will direct more than $1.1 billion to bolster the south shore of Long Island against future storms, including federal funding for projects on Dune Road in East Quogue, Sagaponack and downtown Montauk, according to Army Corps documents.

But a draft of the work plan, which is expected to be made public later this month, does not include a proposal for a comprehensive beach rebuilding project in Montauk. East Hampton Town officials said they had been told to expect funding for a more permanent solution prior to their approval of a much criticized sandbag seawall erected across the front of the downtown business district last winter to temporarily protect oceanfront hotels from strong storms.

An executive summary of the Army Corps plan, known as the Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point Reformulation Study, or FIMP, indicates that the Army Corps has proposed depositing more than 150,000 tons of sand on the beaches of downtown Montauk every four years, for the next 30 years, to widen the beaches and ensure that the sandbag revetment remains covered by artificial dunes.

But East Hampton officials said this week that when they approved the revetment project in 2014, the understanding was that the Army Corps would be coming back once hundreds of millions in federal Superstorm Sandy recovery and resiliency funding was made available.

“The concept was that they would rebuild the dune and come back under FIMP and build a substantially wide beach,” Supervisor Larry Cantwell said. “They’re doing major replenishment projects in other areas similar to Montauk, and all we’re getting is 120,000 cubic yards of maintenance sand. And there’s nothing at all for Ditch Plains.”

A spokesperson for U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin said this week that the congressman will be working to get a more comprehensive sand replenishment project in Montauk added to the final FIMP work plan. “This is definitely something that our office will continue to work with the local elected leaders and community on, and push for within the final draft,” Mr. Zeldin’s communications director, Jennifer DiSenna, said in an email this week. “This is just the initial draft plan.”

The Army Corps had said in various earlier versions of FIMP study—which has been under way, intermittently, since the 1960s—that a broad sand nourishment project in Montauk would not be cost-effective.

The construction of the sandbag revetment required about 110,000 cubic yards of sand, approximately 165,000 tons, including the sand that was used to fill the 13,000 sandbags buried in the beachhead. The Army Corps plan calls for an additional 120,000 cubic yards, about 180,000 tons, to be deposited in front of the sandbag revetment on a regular basis.

The revetment work was roundly criticized by environmentalists and community groups who said that the sandbag wall would jeopardize the existence of the beach in the long term, and that sand-only projects were the only solution, with a long-range view toward moving development away from the sea.

“It took us 50 years to back into our current coastal policy. It’s going to take several years to figure out how to pull our community back from the shoreline,” said Jeremy Samuelson, executive director of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk. “Large-scale pumping of sand onto the beach will buy us the time while we move toward a broader solution. Montauk is going to have to spend the next two years to convince the Army Corps to radically increase the volume of sand they are talking about for our beach.”

This spring, the Army Corps also unveiled a proposal to replenish sand on the beaches along Montauk’s north-facing shoreline west of the Montauk Harbor inlet. That project calls for the construction of three small jetties along the Soundview and Culloden Shores waterfront to help keep sand deposited on the beach in place.

While the bulk of the funding for FIMP will go to nourishing beaches in Fire Island and to raising and relocating houses in flood plains, the draft work plan also calls for a project to bolster ocean dunes in East Quogue and, possibly, the raising of Dune Road along a short stretch of chronically flooded roadway.

The FIMP project plan will bring far more federal funding to bear than originally allotted in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Zeldin’s office said in the release. The Army Corps had originally pledged to dedicate about $700 million to the projects in the FIMP plan.

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Batten down the hatches . . .

The Corps Is Coming!

The Corps Is Coming!

Not sure whether to clap or cry, as the Corps can really overthink, over-engineer, and overbuild, if given a free reign.

Local governments will have little effective input IMO.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 29, 16 5:24 PM
Can and DO! The Corps bullied their way onto Montauk's beach in a way that could definitely be called "free reign"!
By ValGal03 (58), Montauk on Jul 9, 16 10:33 PM
Now your talkin'...Bringing home that Turkey Bacon Mr. Zeldin. That's the kind of money we gona need to build the "Great Peconic Causeway" the most beautiful ride in America. It can be done, it shall be done. Pharaoh has spoken!
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Jun 29, 16 9:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
Zeldin had nothing to do with this, except the media release. The Corps has been working on FIMPs since 2012.
Jun 29, 16 9:39 PM appended by Mr. Z
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 29, 16 9:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
July 14, 1960. That's how long FIMP has been in the works. Govt efficiency at its finest.
By ValGal03 (58), Montauk on Jul 9, 16 10:37 PM
I hope this is real.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Jun 30, 16 2:32 AM
What they don't tell you is that the government is trying to take shore front properties through eminent domain so the municipalities can get the funding. The ultimate goal is not to have any residences on the barrier beaches. The Army Corps can do more harm than good. Kudos to Mr. Zeldin for his efforts but like anything else, can be fraught with peril.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jun 30, 16 7:25 AM
The fed just bought the local politicians. This is part of the scheme of the elite to seize their beach front property from the pitchfork bearing masses. The camping sites eliminated, beach entries blocked, limitations on trucks, lawsuits en masse from WHB to Montauk and now they come with their corrupt agents and $1,000,000,000 of funny money. The End
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Jun 30, 16 7:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
OH NO!!!!
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Jun 30, 16 8:41 AM
It is a major control problem for the local population.
Their history of project involvement is not good. Massive funding means massive disruption to the area.
My take is that the process will be years and years of waste is on the horizon.
God forbid there is another Sandy during their tenure......
Should be difficult at best having them around and them having big money
By Rayman (64), southampton on Jun 30, 16 4:05 PM
Echoing comments by even flow and Rayman above, this could be a real Trojan Horse IMO.

Be careful what you wish for . . .

Let's keep in mind that the Fire Island to Montauk Point project has been on the drawing board since 1960 [sic -- as in sixty]. The Fact Sheet on the Corps' website gives a brief overview, and previous articles here have also gone into some detail. [ link to official govt. document below -- hopefully the editors will permit it to stay in the public interest ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 30, 16 4:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
nan [dot] usace [dot] army [dot] mil [slash]

[Replace the dots and remove the spaces and line breaks]
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 30, 16 4:22 PM
Blame the guys that demonstrated in Montauk. Now you are getting ignored.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Jul 3, 16 12:55 AM
Obviously this falls far short on what is needed to protect Montauks existence, and lets be clear - that is exactly what this is. Our vulnerable infrastructure ie. power, water, telephone and 1 road in and out is at stake which puts all of our lives and home valuations at risk.

As feared, the demonstrators, protestors, and lack of unity is coming back to bite us all again.... 1st with the scaled back emergency interim project
and now with scaled back promises in FIMP.

Time ...more
By Steve Kalimnios (1), MTK on Jul 7, 16 12:53 PM