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Apr 2, 2018 7:46 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Costly Montauk Dune Reconstruction To Start Next Week

The beach on Wednesday, March 28.  KYRIL BROMLEY
Apr 3, 2018 10:47 AM

Dump trucks will begin hauling nearly 40,000 tons of sand to Montauk next week as East Hampton Town scrambles to rebuild the decimated artificial dune atop the 3,100-foot-long wall of sandbags that protects downtown Montauk, racing to meet a May 15 deadline.

The town will hire Patrick Bistrian Jr. Inc. to conduct the heavy lifting of hauling hundreds of truckloads of sand and bulldozing it into place on top of the sandbags.

Town officials said this week they are estimating the work will cost between $800,000 and $1 million, based on estimates of the amount of sand needed to be brought in and formed into the dune. The town will pay for the work out of surplus reserve funds that were earmarked in the 2018 budget for that purpose.

“It’s going to be a big number,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said of the cost of restoring the artificial dune. “But it’s money that needs to be spent.”

Using an analysis of the beach from a University of Rhode Island researcher, the town has estimated it will require 25,000 cubic yards of sand—about 37,500 tons—to restore the profile of the dune that covered the revetment at the end of last summer.

The sand will all have to be trucked in from sand mines to the west. The work is expected to take about 20 days, though inclement weather could cause delays.

The dune atop the revetment was constructed in 2016 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and then reconstructed, twice, after storms washed away portions of it last winter. Each of the two reconstructions by the Army Corps cost the federal government more than $700,000.

In the first season, the Army Corps remained responsible for the cost of repairs to the dune, since the project had not been deemed complete yet. But the town is now responsible for maintenance, including repairs from storm damage.

This winter’s storms, in particular the series of nor’easters that battered the South Fork in March, eroded the dune to a far greater extent than seen last winter. But the town also will not have to restore the dune to the same scale the Army Corps did—because after last winter’s erosion, town officials forced the Army Corps to rewrite the maintenance contract, reducing the extent of work required. The contract does require that the artificial dune be restored by May 15.

The revetment project has been the target of strident criticism since it was first proposed in 2012 and sparked protests by Montauk locals that led to 12 arrests when bulldozers dug into a natural dune at the outset of its construction.

However, town officials have noted that through this winter’s storms, while the sand was washed away, the revetment repelled waves away from the foundations of the hotels that line most of the beachfront in its reach. They have also said the project has always been intended to be a stop-gap protection from the most severe storms until the Army Corps can perform a broader restoration of the entire Montauk beachhead.

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$1 million now out of general Town funds with no assurance it will not wash away next year. More realistic approach needed then simply pulling out checkbook.

Everyone knows the ocean is going to win, cut our losses and move businesses to higher ground and make the entire beachfront area a park.

Same goes with Gerard Drive....money spent over last ten years is absurd.
By Amagansett Voter (62), Amagansett on Apr 3, 18 8:08 AM
2 members liked this comment
With all due respect, and I share your concerns, environmentally and economically, but I do not understand the simplicity of saying "cut our losses and move businesses to higher ground"

Where are they going? Where are you moving them to? Who is paying for that? Are you buying them out? With what funds? What do you tell families, in many instances friends and neighbors, who own or work at these places? They're just out of luck?

I have yet to hear a reasonable proposal for any of ...more
By tm (174), mtk on Apr 3, 18 9:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Swap out with other park land on higher ground for the shoreline disaster area here. The Town, County and State should step in to facilitate before the next major hurricane collapses the shoreline and floods entire downtown area. It will take planning and low interest loans.

NONE of this is news. All the businesses know this risk. The risk is already reflected in their values or will be. Unless there is a viable plan soon, the next flooding event will likely destroy everything and ...more
By Amagansett Voter (62), Amagansett on Apr 3, 18 1:30 PM
What other parkland areas?

As i said, I agree with your concerns, but that sounds overly simplistic.
By tm (174), mtk on Apr 3, 18 3:37 PM
FEMA has a grant program for repetitive flood losses which should apply here. The Federal monies should be spent buying these properties and tearing down the buildings to let the coastline change as it needs to returning the land to a natural condition. Bulkheads, revetments and other hard improvements to prevent erosion make the erosion worse in the long run. This is the third time this has been addressed here according to the article. Buying these properties in the long run saves taxpayers ...more
By Baymen87 (135), Lugoff, SC on Apr 11, 18 8:17 AM
Time to build in line items like this as permanent additions to the Town budget IMO. As many have commented -- FOR MANY YEARS -- rising sea levels will


that oceanfront communities RETREAT and fortify the shoreline if they don't want to drown. Isn't there a current proposal on the table to do just this?

Time to stop talking . . .

and DO something proactive.

Mother Nature is in control.

Get used to it!

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 3, 18 8:45 AM
Without getting into the whole debate on whether this was a good or bad idea, I believe the science is pretty clear that unless the replacement sand is of a similar grain size and texture to what exists naturally on that beach, it will quickly erode away. Typically sand from uplands mines are of a much thicker grain and are an extremely poor choice for dune restoration. The best of all the bad options would be to dredge from offshore, but of course that costs a lot more than $1 million. The coastal ...more
By GlassHouses (64), anywhere on Apr 3, 18 10:18 AM
Sand from mines "up west"?? We will bet that sand will come from your local sand pit on Middle Hwy in EH. Some nice yellow dirty sand mix direct from EH.That should look "beautiful".
By Woods woman (145), East hampton on Apr 3, 18 10:40 AM
"The Beaches are Moving" was published in 1979 but my young kids haven't read it and are still annoyed that the ocean keeps knocking over their sand castles.
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Apr 3, 18 4:17 PM
You can NOT STOP or CONTAIN the ocean.....all you have done is hasten the inevitable.
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Apr 4, 18 11:38 AM
2 members liked this comment
The Town has acted responsibly.
Had they not built the sand bag protection. !!!!!!!!

1. The shore front buildings almost surely would have had major damage.

2. The loss of taxes generated by Mountauk would have caused a major domino affect on all East hampton residents, by having all of our taxes going up as well as untold loss of jobs generated by Mountauk.

East Hampton relies on Montauk, Montauk relies on East Hampton.

Retreat, ...more
By DavidEH (5), East Hampton on Apr 12, 18 3:46 PM