hamptons local events, express news group

Story - News

Jan 5, 2010 5:10 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

President declares South Shore beaches a disaster area following November storm damage

Jan 5, 2010 5:10 PM

Following requests from local lawmakers and New York State officials, President Barack Obama last week issued a disaster declaration to help repair beaches damaged by a powerful nor’easter, the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida, which struck parts of Long Island, including the South Shore, in November.

The move opens up federal reimbursement for work done to repair the damage, according to Kristina Simpson of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Damage estimates from the nor’easter, which took place between November 12 and 14, exceed $35 million, according to a statement issued by U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, who sought a disaster declaration early last month.

“What [a disaster declaration] means is that we will be eligible to receive federal disaster relief funding to [repair] at least some of the damages to the South Shore beaches that resulted from the nor’easter of mid-November,” he said.

The three most damaged areas Mr. Bishop said he was looking to focus on include Sagaponack Village, the Quogue and East Quogue area, and Fire Island, including Smith Point County Park in Shirley. “Those appear to be the areas that have sustained the most damage,” Mr. Bishop said.

The storm swept away parts of beaches along the South Shore, washing away more than 175,000 cubic yards of sand in front of the pavilion at Smith Point County Park in Shirley. Additionally, waves that reached up to 14 feet, with winds between 30 and 60 mph, swept away up to 50 feet of beaches and dune in East Hampton, Bridgehampton and Quogue, stripping the beaches bare going into the winter storm season.

Mr. Bishop, Governor David A. Paterson and State Senator Brian X. Foley all rallied for a disaster declaration soon after the storm hit.

The next step, Ms. Simpson said, is for the state to host briefings with local governments across Nassau and Suffolk counties to assess what repairs can be reimbursed by the federal government. She said FEMA officials would also be present at the briefings to help in the decision making process.

“That’s where they bring in their cost associated with disaster damage and we work with them to see if they’re eligible or not for reimbursement,” Ms. Simpson said.

Ms. Simpson said eligibility could depend on damage to public structures, such as roads, bridges, utility buildings and recreation areas. Once determined eligible, the federal government will reimburse the local government for 75 percent of any repair work.

Suffolk County Commissioner of Parks John W. Pavacic said the cost of replenishing Smith Point County Park could have a significant range, depending on whether sand is trucked in from an upland site—a more expensive alternative—or dredged from an offshore area. To dredge the material from an offshore area would cost roughly $4.4 million. Trucking in sand, however, could range between $13 million to $17.5 million.

Damage estimates for Smith Point Park, Theodore Roosevelt County Park in Montauk and Meschutt Beach County Park in Hampton Bays amount to $3.9 million, according to Mr. Bishop’s office. Additionally, Mr. Pavacic said the county-owned park in Montauk sustained the most damage at Shagwong Point, located at the eastern portion of the property, which suffered loss of sand and bluff. At Meschutt Beach in Hampton Bays, which is adjacent to the Shinnecock Canal, sand was lost under the deck in front of the pavilion.

Damage at Meschutt Park, according to preliminary estimates, amount to about 5,000 cubic yards of sand lost, accounting for approximately $130,000 in repairs, said Mr. Pavacic. At Theodore Roosevelt Park, 30,000 cubic yards were lost, and damage estimates amount to about $740,000. “Again, these numbers are preliminary,” Mr. Pavacic said. “They’re subject to change and likely could go up.”

Between West Hampton Dunes and Wainscott, the storm swept away more than 800,000 cubic yards of sand, according to Aram Terchunian, a coastal geologist for First Coastal Corporation, an environmental and marine construction consulting firm based in Westhampton. According to a report prepared by First Coastal on November 23, the Village of Quogue lost 275,000 cubic yards of sand. On Surfside Drive in Bridgehampton, the storm washed away about 146,000 cubic yards of sand. On Beach Road in Wainscott, about 83,000 cubic yards of sand were swept away. About 59,000 cubic yards of sand were swept away in the Village of Sagaponack. On Flying Point Road in Water Mill, about 11,000 cubic yards of sand were washed away. In East Hampton, initial damage estimates made by Larry Penny, the town’s natural resource director, amounted to about $500,000.

Officials agree that damage to the Village of Quogue was the most severe. On December 24, the Village Board approved $67,610 in expenditures to temporarily repair damage to the severely hit Quogue Village Beach. That measure paid for the dumping of approximately 800 tons of sand on the beach and 590 tons of boulders to temporarily guard against further erosion. It also paid for a damage assessment survey of the dunes.

1  |  2  >>  

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

No need to declare a disaster area.
Ever single winter the beach erodes and over night it 50 feet to 100 feet of beach disappear after a storm.

When the currents change in the spring and the beaches rebuild as the sand magically come back. There is no need to spend 35 million.

Of course Bishop and Obama like to play God. The problem is the game always involves spending our money on ridiculous projects!
By saveamerica1 (2), Southampton on Jan 4, 10 9:09 PM
3 members liked this comment
Our last president spent too much money as well, but that all went to tax breaks to the rich and off the book wars which destroyed our economy and left the future of the middle class in peril. Spending money to create jobs is what we need and that is what this is.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Jan 5, 10 8:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
Great comment "the 35 million is peanuts compared to the bailout money" We are going to pay 35 million to move sand that will be washed away anyway. Its like flushing money down the toilet. Very logical.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jan 5, 10 11:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
People First how in the world do you turn this issue into "Bush gave tax breaks to the rich"??? Get over it already. This issue is about spending millions to build a sand castle that will last approximately 6 months if we are lucky. It wouldn't make sense if it were Bush, Roosevelt or George Washington making the decisions.
By double standard (1506), quogue on Jan 5, 10 2:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
double standard, if you would read the complete post instead of just spouting off whatever comes to mind you would see that I was responding to savamerica1's posting.
By dfgmom (8), southampton on Jan 5, 10 4:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
referring to peoplefirst's post
By dfgmom (8), southampton on Jan 5, 10 4:54 PM
C'monnnn.... Sava's post knocks Obama's spending and you fire back with Bush tax cuts and wars. You want jobs created? You can't think of another way? So this plan to dump sand on the beaches of those who received those Bush tax cuts that you hate so much is ok because Obama and Bishop came up with it eh? Now if Bush wanted to play million dollar sand castle I'm sure your tune would change. Personally I think Bush was a complete failure and not once did I vote for him, but that doesn't make Obama ...more
By double standard (1506), quogue on Jan 5, 10 5:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is infrastructure.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Jan 5, 10 6:59 PM
We should be working to take back the barrier beaches for parks and not to protect multimillion dollar homes that shouldn't have been built there in the first place. The ocean will win in the end no matter what we spend if that is what the real God wants.
By nellie (451), charleston on Jan 4, 10 9:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
SC is cold too, maybe snow on Thursday. I know exactly where the oceanfront in question is and as you point out the Town failed in 1970 to preserve it...I clammed the Shinnecock Inlet area east of the inlet in the early sixties and seventies. You seem to forget that parts of Bridgehampton are barrier beaches too along Mecox bay (the crabbing here WAS gret too). Smith Point is a barrier beach as well as Fire Island. I have disdain for ANY building and destructive groins (built by Suffolk County) ...more
By nellie (451), charleston on Jan 5, 10 8:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Great. Now they'll pump a bunch of sand up onto the beaches only to have it wash away in subsequent storms. This is a multimillion dollor boondoggle that will mostly benefit the Army Corps of Engineers and their associated contractors.

By Undertow (64), Southampton on Jan 5, 10 8:58 AM
3 members liked this comment
We live on an island that has seasonal and cyclical storms and erosion/acretion events, has since the glaciers receded, there is no disaster that requires federal re-distibution.
If money is to be spent, remove the jetties and stop dredging off shore sand deposits which need to be there in spring to naturally replenish beaches. Let the beaches function naturally including inlet openings and closings. And also stop subsidizing oversized oceanfront structures with federal flood insurance. I beleive ...more
By smacw (240), New York on Jan 5, 10 9:39 AM
I am totally against this. what i am also against is people messing with the planet and disturbing nature by erecting all sorts of things to save their huge mansions which the price could feed to many of our hungry and homeless. selfish people. thinking only of themselves.
By local (106), north sea on Jan 5, 10 11:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why put up 35 million against mother nature - take the money and put it to a better use - like creating jobs not just jobs to dump a bunch of sand on a beach that will just wash away again-Let the people who built their houses on the ocean be responsible for protecting them - I think thats fair.
By jacks (70), hampton bays on Jan 5, 10 12:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am so old... wish I had a dollar fo evey time I remember the governmen,t be it local of national, spreading sand after a big storm. They even had to restore some of the beach after the BIG hurricane of '38. I can't quite remember did that storm uncover old cars .. or did a subsquent storm uncover cars that were dumped after the hurricane? Putting down boulders and then dumping sand seems like a good idea. And believe me it's cold down here I actually saw 27 degrees on my outside register.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jan 5, 10 1:46 PM
Let us all remember that our ocean beaches are among our most important resource. If we want to keep our seasonal economy strong, we had better sustain those beaches.

Thank you Congressman Bishop for preserving the pristine shoreline which is vital to the economy and many jobs here on the South Fork of Long Island.

Even you-all out on the far right have to agree with that.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 5, 10 9:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Nothing "pristine" about dredged sand and jetties, nor the politics behind it, and "Hollywood" Bishop has "preserved" nothing. If you are really a native you would understand the cyclical nature of shoreline dynamics and the futility of throwing money at every temporarily washed away beach.
By smacw (240), New York on Jan 6, 10 9:04 AM
The beaches or the campaign donor houses along the shoreline? That is what we taxpayers want to know. Nature will win in the end no matter what Congressman Bishop does. He is a smart man and I think he knows this too.
We need to work with nature not fight it.
By nellie (451), charleston on Jan 5, 10 9:47 PM
Move the buildings not the beaches. They are as you say "constantly changing/evolving." Most east coast communities do not replenish their beaches as you state since the cannot afford to do it. Individual property owners raise or move their houses (which by the way was done here before we started providing free sand for beach front property owners). It is a waste of taxpayer money to dump sand on a beach every time it washes away when there are other more important social concerns. Those who want ...more
By nellie (451), charleston on Jan 6, 10 10:05 PM
I'd like to know who and how much and where the funds come from for whoever these communities are so we can learn something from it. But, you are right, like it or not it will happen again and again ...at least this waste will shed no blood.
By nellie (451), charleston on Jan 6, 10 10:42 PM
Wave action and set at the shore need to be reduced. Build a reef from Montauk west just below the surface at the outer bar. Add artificial kelp to hold the sand. This would create a lagoon between the reef and the beach, a good marine habatat, new surfing spots in adddition to greatly reduced shoreline erosion.

Everyone wins EXCEPT the hacks we insist on sending to Washington. The chance to bribe LI voters with multi million dreging contracts every few years would be almost eliminated. ...more
By Lost Tribe (66), East Hampton on Jan 7, 10 11:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Lost Tribe no offense but that is the craziest idea I have heard in awhile
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jan 7, 10 6:36 PM
Smacw writes, "If you are really a native you would understand the cyclical nature of shoreline dynamics and the futility of throwing money at every temporarily washed away beach"

What is happening to the beach is what is called "long shore drift, sometimes called lateral drift". Because of the wave and wind patterns, the sand is moving west. This drift is depositing sand to the west of the South Shore of Long Island and depleting it from the east. This is a natural occurrence, however ...more
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 7, 10 10:28 PM
Amazing amount of political posturing here. Amazing, too, how defeatist it is, too.,Not surprisng, though, is the usual class warfare envy married with the presumption that anyone with a cottage near the seafront must be rich. Not so. Not so. The beaches of Long Island bring joy and recreation to hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders. As for "taxpayer money", since I don't drive would I be entitled to moan about the cost of the highways, ditto with schools, etc.
By cavalier (2), Quogue on Jan 8, 10 12:12 PM
It's not class warfare or political posturing to say that homes, large or small, rich or poor should NOT BE BUILT THIS CLOSE TO THE OCEAN. It's ridiculous.
By Undertow (64), Southampton on Jan 8, 10 2:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Like Undertow says this is not class war. NOTHING (including public beach structures) should be built close to the ocean. If I remember correctly the Flight 800 Memorial at Smith Point Park was threatened by its proximity to the ocean even before it was completed. This problem (if it really is one) will not go away. To equate this with highways and schools is ridiculous. We can vote on school budgets and highway/transportation construction bonds but we cannot vote on this.
By nellie (451), charleston on Jan 9, 10 9:58 PM