Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State formally notified the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that it supports the $700 million large-scale, federally funded project to upgrade natural and manmade storm protections along an 83-mile section of coastal and bay areas of the south shore of Long Island, from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point (FIMP). Initial phases of the FIMP project would include expedited emergency repairs to restore dunes and beaches on Fire Island and in downtown Montauk that were significantly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Governor Cuomo is seeking to expedite all dune renourishments to protect other Suffolk County population centers, such as Mastic Beach.
This stretch of beaches along Long Island's south shore suffered extensive damage caused by Superstorm Sandy and now we are taking steps to build it back stronger and better prepared to withstand future storms," Governor Cuomo said. "Not only is this area important to local tourism and the economy, it is also a critical natural barrier protecting the inland. This project will protect local communities and residents against future storms, including shoring up defenses in coastal areas. It will also address an immediate need to restore beaches and upgrade dunes to reduce the potential risks to families and property as a result of storm surges. New York looks forward to collaborating with the Army Corps of Engineers and local communities on our continuing storm recovery efforts.
The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 established a pool of funds that could provide in excess of $700 million for the FIMP project. The Army Corps of Engineers is working with New York State to refine specific elements of the project and to expeditiously complete an environmental review.
Recognizing the threat of increased storm surge intensity, the Army Corps of Engineers, in consultation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of State (DOS), developed an innovative FIMP project that would establish multiple barriers of protection including: enhanced dunes along the coast, installing surge dampening natural infrastructure in and along the bays, elevating of as many as 4,000 flood-prone structures and transportation infrastructure, and structural and maintenance modifications that will better facilitate the movement of sand along the shoreline. The FIMP project will take into account sea level rise and the more intense storms projected under on-going climate change.
As the process proceeds, local officials and stakeholders will be actively involved to provide input into proposed measures.U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, State approval was one of the final steps we need to take to turn this project, long a dream of coastal communities on the South Shore of Long Island, into a reality, said Schumer. By agreeing to pick up the full tab for this project the federal government had virtually guaranteed that this critical coastal protection project will be built, and now that the state has given its formal approval, the project can move forward. Homeowners and residents along this 83 mile coast can feel a little more secure knowing that vital protections, in the forms of dunes, berms, beaches and more will now be constructed.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, The South Shore of Long Island suffered severe damage from Superstorm Sandy, and it is critical that this project continues to move forward at full federal expense to protect our coastal communities and weather future natural disasters, Gillibrand said. I applaud the Governors commitment to working with the Army Corps on a plan to ensure that Long Islands coastal communities are more resilient.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated exceptional leadership in expediting recovery and rebuilding of areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, while also taking critical steps to shore up defenses against powerful storms. We look forward to working with the Army Corps and local officials on this project to make it a national model for managing shorelines and protecting coastal communities that are potentially threatened by hurricanes, storm surges and rising sea levels.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, As we rebuild stronger and smarter on the South Shore in Sandys wake, it is critical to have leaders support the FIMP plan to provide the long-term protection our communities need. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his continued support to make sure that New York State is an active partner in rebuilding a stronger Long Island.
Two interim coastal damage reduction projects were previously completed in the FIMP area: the West of Shinnecock Inlet Interim Project in 2006, which provided beach fill placements and renourishment in the area immediately west of the inlet; and the Westhampton Interim project in 1997, which included construction of a protective beach berm and dune, and periodic sand re-nourishment. Another interim project, the Breach Contingency Plan, resulted in the closure of two breaches caused by Hurricane Sandy and an ongoing evaluation of options to address a third breach within the Fire Island National Seashore wilderness area.
For additional information, visit: http://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/ProjectsinNewYork/FireIslandtoMontaukPointReformulationStudy.aspx.