2012-03-09 / Community

Goldfeder, Schumer Fight For Beach Study Funding

Senator Charles Schumer and Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder called this week for the Army Corps of Engineers to restore funding for the Rockaway Beach Study – East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet.

The study began in 2004 after three decades of continuous beach upgrades by the Army Corps, when it was determined that the beach required a comprehensive, long-term plan for protection and upkeep.

Significant progress had been made while funding was steady – however, the loss of federal funding in 2011 delayed the project’s completion.

Now that the study is so close to completion and ready to undergo a public scoping process, Schumer and Goldfeder argued that it was vital to keep it moving swiftly forward by maintaining appropriate funding.

Further serious damage to the coast from Irene last August has made the Rockaway Beach Study more important than ever, and it is estimated that completion of the project will take approximately two years if fully funded. Schumer and Goldfeder have called on Army Corps to fully fund the study to ensure the safety of the Rockaway community.

“The need for long term comprehensive action to deal with the eroding Rockaway Beach is evident today more than ever before,” said Goldfeder “We’ve spent almost 10 years waiting for results and have made too much progress only to lose momentum now that we are so close to a real solution. The beaches in Rockaway are crucial to our community and economy; after being hit by several recent storms taking care of this beach must be a top priority. Restoring much-needed funding will help see this project to completion and ensure the future of Rockaway beaches and our community.”

“We need to restore funding to the Rockaway Beach Study immediately,” said Schumer. “This project has made great progress in the last several years toward ensuring the safety of Rockaway’s beaches and neighborhoods. Allowing the coast to deteriorate further would put these communities at risk for serious damage. Irene taught us that we must always be prepared for the worst. If we do not restore this funding, we’re making a gamble that could ultimately cost residents their homes and businesses.”

The Army Corps has had a long history of working to protect Rockaway Beach. From 1977 until 2004, the Corps designed, constructed and maintained the beach under two major construction projects.

In 2003 it was determined that the need to continually re-nourish the eroding shoreline demanded a comprehensive long-term protection plan.

This led to the Rockaway Beach Reformulation Study with the objective of finding a long term, cost-effective solution to the effects of continued erosion on the Rockaway peninsula.

The study has made considerable progress and now it is crucial to sustain movement and see it to completion. Preliminary alternatives and estimated damage analysis were completed and presented in fall 2011with non-federal sponsors.

Following input from these sponsors and other stakeholder agencies, the Corps is ready to begin preparing for a public scoping meeting to summarize its findings and begin the process of selecting an alternative that can be recommended for future construction. Without fiscal year 2012 funding this momentum will be lost.

Schumer and Goldfeder urged the Army Corps to restore funding for the Rockaway Beach Study to ensure the safety of the Rockaway community. Schumer and Goldfeder noted that not only are the beaches a favorite summer destination for the people of Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, they also act as an important barrier that protects infrastructure and private property from the sea.

They argued that expedient completion of this study is the key to provide long-term security to the Rockaways.

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