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Sep 28, 2016 11:14 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Officials Oppose Suggested Shortening Of Rock Jetties

Westhampton Beach officials are opposing a plan that would shorten the rock jetties on municipal beaches. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
Oct 3, 2016 11:02 AM

Westhampton Beach Village officials said this week that they will oppose plans pitched by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would shorten nearly a dozen rock jetties in the village, a move that the federal agency said is needed to curb erosion at beaches to the west.

The proposal is a part of the draft 400-page Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Plan, commonly referred to as FIMP, a document that has been circulated and tweaked for decades, and whose main goal is to slow erosion and fortify the South Shore of Long Island. The public comment phase is set to expire in mid-October, with the completed plan scheduled to be released sometime next year.

FIMP recommends shortening the village’s 11 jetties, also known as groins, as well as four nearby ones that are within the Town of Southampton, all part of the Westhampton Groin Field. Currently, 13 of the groins are 480 feet long, while the last two are 417 and 337 feet long. The Army Corps wants to reduce the length of eight of them to 380 feet, while the others would either be 410 feet or 386 feet long.

The modifications, which are expected to cost $426,754 per jetty and be covered by the federal government, has the potential for a one-time release of more than 500,000 cubic yards of sand that would eventually settle to the west of the village, according to the Army Corps.

Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore said she is worried that the shortening of the groins, if approved, will cause erosion on her village’s beaches.

“They are stressing that this is not the final report, and they are going to do a more detailed design in the next phase of their analysis,” Ms. Moore said this week. “But we wanted to make sure we get our position in early enough that they would consider the impacts of their actions on our beachfront.”

The primary goal of FIMP is to increase the amount of sand deposited on beaches to improve Long Island’s ability to withstand future storms. Other portions of the plan include dumping 1.5 million tons of sand onto beaches in East Quogue and Hampton Bays to fortify them, and shoring up the coast of Montauk to the east.

According to experts, jetties help curb beach erosion by blocking strong currents and riptides from scouring away sand from the shoreline—though their actual effectiveness has been debated for decades. The Westhampton Groin Field, as the area has been dubbed, was created between 1965 and 1969 and spans about 2.8 miles of beach. The original plan also called for the installation of eight additional groins in what is now the Village of West Hampton Dunes; that work was never completed for reasons not immediately clear.

The draft FIMP notes that the groin field has done a good job in protecting the area from erosion and flooding. The hardened structures, however, have been blamed for causing erosion to the west, and some point to the 1992 breach of the barrier island in the Village of West Hampton Dunes as evidence to that theory.

Ms. Moore said her village has retained local environmental firm First Coastal Corporation of Westhampton Beach to review details of the federal document that would specifically impact Westhampton Beach.

“The Army Corps has studied the area and determined it would not have an adverse safety impact on the homes and properties in Westhampton Beach,” Ms. Moore said. “But that is why we asked them for a more detailed analysis on that because it seems counterintuitive to us if that would be the case.”

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Right, because the Army Corps have a history of being right about anything they've done on anything regarding erosion. Just ask Louisiana after Katrina and more recently Montauk.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Sep 29, 16 6:54 AM
This whole scam has the potential to eliminate home rule when it comes to the beaches, once the Feds put sand above the mean low water mark, they will control access and permitted activities! Additionally, First Coastal is playing all sides of the equation here, consulting for the Town, Trustees , WHB and WH Dunes as well as the erosion control districts, entities that are at times in opposition to each other, watch them closely!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Sep 29, 16 7:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
Good Point Big Fish. I would not put it past this Mayor and some of the Trustees to cater to a hometown organization (Wonder what the relationship w Tyman is with them and his role in this). Of course you cant blame Coastal- they play it real good. Hats off to them but what's the political favor gonna be in return?
By realistic (472), westhampton on Sep 29, 16 8:05 AM
Why does everything have to be a "conspiracy?" My takeaway after reading this is that the Village is exercising caution and wants all of the facts presented before giving the ACE free reign. Our local electeds are truly damned if they do, dammed if they don't. If you are so afraid that the Board is trying to "get one over" on you, come to Village Hall and participate in this wonderful process we have. It's called called democracy.
By CountryMouse (8), westhampton beach on Sep 29, 16 8:30 AM
No Problem. And I do. BTW I guess they will have no problem disclosing their "relationship" and other firms vetted. You see its called "transparency". I'm waiting...
By realistic (472), westhampton on Sep 29, 16 11:12 AM
Gee, you used to be all in on this administration -- now you are so sour. What went wrong? Share share!

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 30, 16 9:33 AM
Based upon some quick math, that means the total length of the 15 existing groins is slightly under 7,000 feet. If the existing groins are all modified to a lenght of 380 lineal feet, the total length would be 5700 feet. How about using the remaining 1300 feet of material to create additional groins heading east from Moriches Inlet. The original design for the groin project was to commence adjacent to Moriches and head east to Shinnecock. Its long been my belief that if this design had not been ...more
By roverton (64), Westhampton on Sep 30, 16 1:01 PM
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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By roverton (64), Westhampton on Sep 30, 16 1:02 PM