2011-12-02 / Top Stories

Beach Replenishment Deserves Public Forum

By Nicholas Briano

U.S Army Corps of Engineers replenishing Rockaway beaches in 2010. U.S Army Corps of Engineers replenishing Rockaway beaches in 2010. As with most major storms that pass through Rockaway, Hurricane Irene severely eroded areas of Rockaway’s beaches, requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform yet another beach replenishment project along the peninsula.

With replenishment work set to begin shortly, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is requesting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers host a public hearing prior to starting the project. Goldfeder says the public hearing would involve key stakeholders, including residents, local businesses and community organizations. The upcoming replenishment project will involve the removal of approximately 240,000 cubic yards of sand from the East Rockaway Inlet to place on the shores of Rockaway.

“The potential for new sand on our beaches is welcomed news to our community,” Goldfeder said. “We’re eager to have a say in the matter and be given the opportunity to weigh in on the impact and best location for sand replenishment, which is why I’ve asked the Army Corps of Engineers for a public hearing.”

In November 2009 the remnants of Hurricane Ida battered the Rockaway shoreline, requiring the need for emergency repairs from the Corps of Engineers. At that time they did not hold public hearings and proceeded with replenishment as planned.

“Our beaches got hit badly by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,” Goldfeder said. “The damage has left our community in desperate need of help. We should be doing everything possible to restore our beaches, not only for our local families but for the thousands of tourists that come to enjoy the very best beaches in New York City, and the local businesses who depend on them.”

The sand replenishment is a temporary solution repeatedly carried out while Rockaway awaits the conclusion of a ten-year study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will eventually implement a long-term solution to the beach erosion. That study began in 2004. Recently many independent advocates and elected officials have put pressure on the Corps to expedite the study.

Goldfeder says he’s also urging the Corps to try to speed things up and install more rock jetties, which many believe go a long way in decreasing the amount of erosion that occurs after major storms.

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