2012-05-18 / Top Stories

Local Pols Make Sand Replenishment Push

Beach replenishment is performed by crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Beach replenishment is performed by crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Local politicians at the state and federal level are urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the Rockaway sand replenishment in time for the beach season as well as finish their long term study on a more permanent solution to the erosion problem which is magnified every time a major storm rolls through the area.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder called on the Army Corps of Engineers to fund the immediate dredging of the East Rockaway Inlet, and also to work with the New York City Parks Department to place dredged sand on storm-eroded Rockaway Beach.

Without dredging, the East Rockaway Inlet’s vital channels will clog up and threaten safe passage for boaters, anglers and emergency response, as well as the viability of the commercial shipping industry.

“Dredging the East Rockaway Inlet would serve a dual purpose of keeping the inlet free of excess debris which would protect a vital shipping channel and by placing the dredged sand on the Rockaway beaches; it would increase the size of usable beach area. More importantly this provides a much-needed barrier for local residents and businesses,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “This sand is desperately needed to help Rockaway Beach recover from last year’s severe storm damage and the erosion that followed which put the lives and safety of so many Rockaway residents at risk.”

Congressman Bob Turner also is asking for the Corps of Engineers to resume the long term study aimed at addressing the problem long term. The sand replenishment is a temporary solution repeatedly carried out while Rockaway awaits the conclusion of that ten-year study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which will eventually implement a long term solution to the beach erosion.

The study began in 2004. Recently many independent advocates and elected officials have put pressure on the Corps to expedite the study.

Turner sent a letter this week to Army Corps of Engineers Acting Commanding General, Major General Merdith “Bo” Temple, expressing his support for the allocation of additional funding to complete the Rockaway Beach Reformulation Study.

“The Rockaway Beach Reformulation Study was drafted in 2004 to develop a comprehensive and cost-effective solution to continuing erosion on the Rockaway peninsula.

This project made significant progress when adequate funding was provided, and preliminary alternatives and an estimated damage analysis were completed and presented in the fall of 2011. If proper funding is provided, the Army Corps is ready to conduct a public scoping meeting to summarize its findings and begin the process of selecting an alternative that can be recommended for future construction,” he said in the letter.

“The Rockaway Beach Reformulation Study is eligible for additional funding in FY 2013. The residents of the Rockaway Peninsula cannot afford to lose momentum on this critical project, and the damage sustained from Hurricane Irene last August has made the reformulation study all the more important – especially with hurricane season just a few short months away.”

The project can be completed in another two years if adequately funded.

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