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Sep 12, 2018 6:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Erosion Exposes Montauk Sandbags In Summer For First Time

The sandbags that form the revetment across downtown Montauk's oceanfront were exposed this week, the first time they've been uncovered by erosion during the summer. Michael Wright
Sep 13, 2018 10:31 AM

The relative calm of summer was not kind to the Montauk beaches this year, and has left them in poor shape to fend off the onslaught of the winter storm season.

Some of the large sandbags that make up the 3,100-foot revetment protecting the oceanfront in downtown Montauk were exposed over the summer and again early this week, and the beach along all of the revetment’s face remains very “low” as the season when beaches typically are building came to an end.

Town officials said the condition does not bode well for the coming winter. Last spring, the town spent some $1 million re-burying the revetment beneath thousands of tons of sand, as required by the Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed the revetment.

“There was a scarp there, probably a place where it’s a little deeper offshore, and it gets washed away faster,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said. “I’m concerned. I’ve been concerned about it from day one.”

The revetment was built in 2015 to protect the foundations of the major hotels that line Montauk’s anemic beachfront from the impact of severe storms. The $9 million cost of constructing it was borne by the Army Corps, but the town is responsible for maintaining the artificial “dune” that covers it.

On Tuesday, the town said it plans to borrow $200,000 to hire consultants to draft an erosion control district for the downtown area, which could be used to fund a much larger beach restoration project along the hamlet’s oceanfront—hopefully in partnership with the Army Corps.

A committee of town officials and Montauk business and community leaders has already estimated that the town will need to kick in up to $17 million to augment what the Army Corps has said it will be willing to contribute to sand replenishment in the hamlet as part of an Island-wide storm resiliency effort that is expected to kick off in 2022.

The town could borrow the money and then tax property owners in the special district to repay the loans over several years. The arrangement would mirror the one employed by Southampton Town in 2013 to replenish sand along 6 miles of beach in Sagaponack and Bridgehampton—a $25 million project that homeowners agreed to fund to protect their homes from erosion.

The town has yet to determine what the boundaries of the district should be or how to apportion the tax levy to recoup the costs. Mr. Van Scoyoc said that the push for the district has been broadly supported by the major hotels along the downtown that would likely bear the lions share of the costs.

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"First Time" - seems like I've seen this picture quite a few times!
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 18 8:57 PM
"The Beaches Are Moving" by Wallace Kaufman, which was published in 1979 is an enlightening book : )
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Sep 12, 18 10:57 PM
2 members liked this comment
I'll have to check that out.

The fact of the matter is, that beach erosion is inevitable here. We are a barrier island and despite how much sand and money we throw at this problem it will never stop the erosion.

It is time for us to stop fighting Mother Nature, it's always a losing battle. We need to build structures either in places where they aren't immediately threatened by erosion or to design them in such a way that they can be easily assembled and reassembled as necessary. ...more
By Enviro Guy (55), Southampton on Sep 13, 18 4:45 PM
I was against sand bags once. "let nature take it's course" I thought. If they weren't there then that beach would/will be flat. But is the Army Corps of Engineers really qualified? They don't necessarily have the best track record. Can someone say Katrina?
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 18 11:06 PM
I love it when people who are ignorant take cheap shots like the one above.
By Baymen87 (135), Lugoff, SC on Sep 13, 18 7:26 AM
Facts are cheap? They built worthless levees in LA and they paid the price with lawsuits they lost. New Jersey beach replenishment failures? Sandbags are exposed and that lighthouse will have to be moved. How again is it cheap?
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Sep 13, 18 10:01 PM
Broken: The Army Corps of Engineers
Plodding, complacent, careless—the agency whose lapses led to the near-destruction of New Orleans now must fortify the entire U.S. coast for an era of rising seas, global warming, and more powerful storms. But first it must fix itself.

By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Sep 13, 18 7:36 AM
You do the best you can with the monies and knowledge available.

Thank a "conservative" for "starving the beast"...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 13, 18 7:34 PM
Town should move the hotel district to much higher ground. Only long term solution.

Swap parkland for beach front with state.

Stops beach hotel erosion issue, stops septic nightmare, stops wasting money, creates a natural beach park for all with ample parking!
By Amagansett Voter (62), Amagansett on Sep 13, 18 8:05 AM
2 members liked this comment
Replenishment is literally shoveling sand against the tide and a foolish waste of taxpayer money.

Increasing ocean temperatures and rising sea levels are not disputed, only the cause. We must accept the inevitable, the sea level will rise.

CPF funds should be approved to be used to begin purchasing the most vulnerable properties and the buildings demolished to allow a new landward dune to form naturally from rising sea levels. If folks aren't willing to make a deal with CPF then ...more
By Wainscott217 (12), Wainscott on Sep 13, 18 12:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
Precisely, very well said.
By Enviro Guy (55), Southampton on Sep 13, 18 4:46 PM
At 14 meters above sea level I figure the next generation will have a prime barrier island real estate provided we hang onto it.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 13, 18 7:35 PM
If anyone thinks this works, check today's video's of Topsail, NC...You can NOT stop the ocean. The protesters were right and they should have been listened too.
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Sep 13, 18 7:23 PM
what i really want to know is what is happening to burger king?
By BrianWilliams (87), on Sep 13, 18 11:38 PM
1 member liked this comment