2022 Start Date Expected for $1.5B FIMP Erosion Project

Beach and dune erosion are visible along the Atlantic Ocean in front of the Ocean Surf Resort in Montauk. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Posted on January 21, 2021

The long-awaited Fire Island to Montauk Point project, expected to protect 83 miles of shoreline along Long Island’s South Shore from storms and sea level rise, is predicted to begin in 2022, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Current cost estimates put the massive project, which is known as FIMP and includes dredging and a variety of coastal restoration projects, at $1.5 billion, according to a July Army Corps report. Federal funding was previously allocated following Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Authorization for FIMP as well as the Hashamomuck Cove Coastal Storm Risk Management project in Southold were granted with passage last month of the $1.4 trillion federal spending bill.

“Continuing to safeguard and invest in our maritime infrastructure will help preserve Long Island’s way of life for generations to come,” U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said last month in a news release.

The FIMP plan calls for a feeder beach along 6,000 feet of shorefront in Montauk to be replenished every four years for 30 years, according to the July final report signed by then-U.S. Army Corps Chief of Engineers Todd Semonite. Other measures recommended by the plan include sand bypassing at the Moriches, Shinnecock and Fire Island inlets, raising or flood-proofing 4,500 structures and the removal of two groins from Fire Island’s Ocean Beach Village.

“A true monumental achievement,” Semonite hand wrote at the bottom of the report. “FIMP is a model for 21st century coastal management. We have the Sandy funds. Let’s get it built!”

The Army Corps expects the project to begin in 2022 and said the first construction contract is for dredging Fire Island Inlet and placing sand to the west at Gilgo Beach in Babylon Town.

East Hampton Town officials are in talks with consulting engineers to create an erosion control taxing district where Montauk property owners who benefit the most from the beach would fund the town’s share of the continual replenishment.

During his annual State of the Town address on Jan. 5, town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc called the replenishment project an intermediate solution while the town develops a more sustainable way to deal with erosion. That includes moving infrastructure inland, the supervisor said, a proposition known as strategic retreat.

The Hashamomuck project would restore the beach along 1.5 miles of Long Island Sound shoreline near Town Beach in Southold. Zeldin said the project is now eligible for the estimated federal share of $11.5 million. It also would require $6.2 million from a non-federal sponsor, although it is not yet clear who that will be. Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the town is not in a financial position to be the project’s local sponsor, but residents have discussed forming a taxing district to fund some of the local share.

The spending plan also provides funding for feasibility studies and, if justified, preconstruction, for the following East End projects: shoreline stabilization along Reel Point on Shelter Island; improving navigation at Goldsmith Inlet in Southold; and at Lake Montauk Harbor, Zeldin said. It also funds a feasibility study for Wading River Creek.

Source: newsday

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