Posted on October 3, 2016
By Lisa Finn, East Hampton Patch
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell plans to speak out Wednesday night about the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point draft general reevaluation report.
The public hearing is one of four scheduled on Long Island to discuss the next phase of the Fire Island to Montauk Point Project, a $1.16 billion project that contains funding for essential dredging and shoreline projects across the 1st congressional district.
Wednesday’s hearing, for the East Hampton/Montauk area, is the last, and will take place at the Montauk Playhouse, which is located at 240 Edgemere Street in Montauk, at 6 p.m.
According to East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, East Hampton Town has completed a Downtown Montauk Beach Restoration and Flood Damage Prevention Report in response to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ FIMP plan.
“The Army Corps’ report currently calls for only a sediment management plan to place 120,000 cubic yards
of sand once every four years along 3,300 feet of downtown Montauk shoreline,” Cantwell said. “This is insufficient.”
The supervisor said an analysis of the engineering and economic considerations contained in the Army Corps’ report indicates “sufficient benefits to justify the expansion of the FIMP plans for Downtown Montauk.”
Prepared by First Coastal, East Hampton Town’s report recommends the expansion of the project to a “full-scale beach nourishment project,” Cantwell said.
The goal would be to move forward with an initial placement of 759,000 cubic yards of sand that would be distributed over a longer area of 6,000 linear feet of shoreline and add an additional 414,000 cubic yards every four years, Cantwell said.
“This report highlights the need for the Corps to consider the recent impact of Storm Hermine on the existing
emergency stabilization project, the seasonal variation that the beach experiences in a given year, and the
long-term erosion rate of this stretch of beach,” Cantwell said. “In addition, it found that the economic analysis in the FIMP report for downtown Montauk missed important factors, such as $4 million of yearly recreational benefits to a widened beach, $8 million in associated benefits from flood damage prevention, and the complete benefit of $238,834,884 in damages avoided to 43 buildings in downtown Montauk.”
Cantwell said it’s critical for the Army Corps to consider the potential breach of the dune into Fort Pond Bay, which breached in the 1938 Hurricane, known as “100-year storm.”
And, the supervisor said, the engineering analysis for FIMP in downtown Montauk was conducted more than a decade ago; since then, significant beach and dune changes have occurred, including Superstorm Sandy.
“Based upon First Coastal’s report, the Town of East Hampton implores the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider the draft recommendations for downtown Montauk. The recommendation for 120,000 cubic yards of supplemental sand placement every four years is inadequate protection in light of Superstorm Sandy and Storm Hermine. The current recommendation does not fully consider the extent of potential damages to property and economic impacts.”
In addition, the recommendation “underestimates” seasonal and long term erosion and the impacts of sea-level rise, Cantwell said.
In addition to attending the public hearing, residents can also submit public comments by email to: Project Biologist Robert.J.Smith@usace.army.mil and Project Manager Mark.f.Lulka@usace.army.mil.
The public comment period is set to end Thursday.
With the last hearing taking place only one day before, Congressman Lee Zeldin sent a letter recently to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commander Colonel David Caldwell, formally requesting a two week extension of the deadline for public comments. View a copy of the letter here.
“Since first taking office, I have been fighting to secure the many victories coming to NY-1 as a result of the draft GRR. The FIMP project, which covers a distance of 83 miles, 80 percent of which is in the First Congressional District, has been a long time coming and will greatly improve our environment, economy and coastal way of life on Long Island’s South Shore,” Zeldin said.
He added that he encouraged South Shore residents to get involved in the process and participate in the public comment period to ensure that their voices are heard and requests received.
“The Army Corps needs and wants to hear from the public. South Fork residents deserve and need more than 24 additional hours to comment after a public hearing. It is so important that every member of the public has their opportunity to weigh in on this process before the comment period ends and the final project is planned.”
On August 18, Zeldin was joined by local elected officials and community leaders at Westhampton Beach Village Hall to discuss many of the key components of the Draft General Reevaluation Report, or GRR, which was released in July and specifies which projects will be included in the next phase of the FIMP Project.
Source: East Hampton Patch