2012-07-20 / Top Stories

Pols Ask City To Move Dredged Sand Westward

By Howard Schwach

In this 2010 file photo, pipes move sand from Beach 36 Street west to the surfing beach at Beach 90 Street. In this 2010 file photo, pipes move sand from Beach 36 Street west to the surfing beach at Beach 90 Street. Rockaway’s beaches, particularly those in the center of the peninsula, need sand badly, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will soon dredge the East Rockaway Inlet at the far eastern end of the peninsula, dumping lots of sand on nearby beaches.

In past years, former Congressman Anthony Weiner arranged for funding to move that sand from Beach 36 Street to where it was needed, most recently to the beaches from Beach 90 Street to Beach 103 Street a few years ago.

This year, however, Weiner is gone and the federal agency does not have the funds to move the sand west to where it is needed most.

Therefore, local politicians have asked Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make city money available for the task.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder recently sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg requesting additional funding to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to transfer some of the newly acquired sand from the dredging of the East Rockaway Inlet to areas of the Rockaway Peninsula that were affected most by recent storms and erosion.

Senator Charles Schumer and Goldfeder had called on the Army Corps last week to reprogram funding to dredge the East Rockaway Inlet. They were proud to announce that the Army Corps had agreed to allocate $4.5 million for the project, with a contractor expected to be chosen by the fall.

The Army Corps will place dredged sand from Beach 26 Street to Beach 36 Street, a site determined to meet federal standards of complying with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and DEP standards while also representing the site with the least cost. They will not, however, move the sand any further west, where it is needed.

“Together with Senator Schumer, we were able to convince the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the East Rockaway Inlet and provide the sand that we so desperately need in Rockaway,” said Goldfeder. “However we still need funding to ensure that the sand is placed in the hardest hit areas.”

A local sponsor agency could step in and reach a funding agreement with the Army Corps, to move the sand to other locations on Rockaway beaches, Goldfeder added.

“From the last storm we lost 30 percent of the sand and we are now 30 percent more vulnerable,” said John Cori, founder of Friends of Rockaway Beach. “I am concerned by the lack of urgency from the parks department and other city agencies that are allowing our neighborhood to remain in such immediate danger and willing to take such chances with the possible devastation of our boardwalk and surrounding neighborhoods.”

“The level of Rockaway beach erosion and deterioration is unacceptable, and I am urging Mayor Bloomberg to provide the critical funding necessary to bring us the sand we need to protect our homes,” said Goldfeder. “Everyone in Rockaway agrees that rock jetties are the permanent solution to our beach erosion problem, but until that official determination is made, agencies must work together to provide short term solutions.”

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