2009-08-21 / Top Stories

Congressman Anthony Weiner Calls For Rip Tide Study

Congressman Anthony Weiner and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer discuss the dangers of rip currents this week on the boardwalk at Beach 116 Street. Congressman Anthony Weiner and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer discuss the dangers of rip currents this week on the boardwalk at Beach 116 Street. Congressman Anthony Weiner, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, was joined by Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer this week to call on the United States Army Corps of Engineers to expand their $4 million study of the Rockaway beaches to include safety measures to prevent deadly riptides.

In a letter to the Army Corps' Lt. General Van Antwerp, Congressman Weiner wrote, "I have fought hard to secure funding for the Army Corps' $4 million study of beach erosion, but it won't be complete if it doesn't closely examine the serious safety concerns for swimmers and recommendations for structural changes to prevent drownings."

This summer, six people have drowned because of strong rip tides along Rockaway, a drastic increase over previous years.

Weiner was on the boardwalk at Beach 116 Street this Tuesday to discuss his plan to have swimmer safety included in the study.

Since the 1970s, the Army Corps of Engineers has helped to maintain the Rockaway coastline by renourishing the beaches every few years.

Weiner's call was in response to the drowning death of Jose Luis Olivares. Weiner's call was in response to the drowning death of Jose Luis Olivares. The last time they did beach renourishment was in 2004. Currently, due to the support and insistence of Weiner, the Army Corps is conducting a $4 million study of ways to fight beach erosion.

This study, to conclude in 2011, will create and help to implement a 100- year storm protection plan for the Rockaways that goes beyond dumping sand on the beach, but will include proposals such as building groins along the beach between Beach 149 Street and Jacob Riis Park.

While this study is an important step to preserve our beaches, it doesn't go far enough.

Therefore, Weiner is calling on the Army Corps to include safety measures in their current study that prevent future drownings.

"The ocean currents may at times be very strong, but the Army Corps can help us turn the tides of the awful tragedies that have hit the Rockaways and make our beaches better and, more importantly, safer," Weiner said.

The congressman has secured more than $9 million since 1999 for the Rockaway Inlet, including $699,000 for the study of groins and jetties last year and $500,000 in this year's appropriations bill.

He was also able to secure funding to lay down more than 1,000,000- cubic-yards of sand in 2003 to prevent shore erosion at Rockaway's beaches.

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