Posted on October 5, 2023
MONTAUK, NY — Montauk Beach is poised for restoration and replenishment, officials said this week.
A contractor has been chosen for the Montauk section of the Army Corps Fire Island to Montauk Point coastal restoration project — known as FIMP.
Work in Montauk is slated to immediately follow Fire Island beach restoration, which is scheduled to begin this fall, East Hampton Town officials said.
The news comes after more than six decades of review and planning by the Army Corps of Engineers’ Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation project, a coastal restoration and protection effort covering the 83 miles of shoreline from Fire Island to Montauk Point that includes beach renourishment.
The work in Montauk has been approved and authorized as part of a Fire Island/Moriches Inlet contract, and the bid was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company on Friday, town officials said.
After completing the work at Fire Island, which is expected to take several months, the contractor proceed to Montauk. An estimated Montauk start date will be calculated by the Army Corps based on the timing and progress made at Fire Island, officials added.
A full replenishment of the Montauk beach was not initially included in the federal FIMP project plan, but town officials, led by then-Supervisor Larry Cantwell, negotiated its inclusion, with support from regional and Congressional elected representatives, officials said.
In addition, the scheduled beach renourishment in Montauk was recently accelerated by about a year following recent successful lobbying efforts by East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and town staff to have the work included as part of emergency work being conducted on Fire Island, town officials added.
To proceed with the plan, about 450,000 cubic yards of clean sand compatible with the existing downtown Montauk beach will be dredged and pumped from an offshore “borrow site” off Napeague, and placed on a length of beach between the Benson Reservation on the west, to just east of Surfside Place, officials said. The additional sand will extend the beach both above and below sea level to create a wider beach that is more resistant to future erosion and storms.
To manage the risk of coastal storm damage along Long Island’s Atlantic coast the Army Corps, in the 1950s, first conceived of the Fire Island to Montauk Point comprehensive, long-term plan, for areas prone to flooding, erosion, and other storm damage, such as downtown Montauk.
The impacts of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 precipitated some emergency measures that were undertaken in advance of the start of the full FIMP project, town officials said.
In 2016, the Army Corps completed the Downtown Montauk Stabilization Project, reinforcing approximately 3,100 feet of shoreline with sand-filled geotextile bags to protect downtown Montauk businesses left vulnerable after severe erosion caused by Sandy.
Since then, according to an agreement with the Army Corps and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, East Hampton Town and Suffolk County have shared the cost of annually replenishing the sand covering the bags, officials said.
Public access to the beach will be maintained during the beach restoration process, though active work areas will be blocked off for safety. The town parking lot at Kirk Park will be used by the contractor as a staging area.
After the work is done in Montauk, periodic beach renourishment with 400,000 to 450,000 cubic yards of sand is expected to take place every four years, for three decades following the initial project. The cost of that work will be shared between the Army Corps, New York State, and the local municipalities, pursuant to a future agreement.