06.02.15

SCHUMER, MEEKS, GOLDFEDER: FOLLOWING ARMY CORPS’ PUBLIC MEETING & COMMUNITY INPUT, LAWMAKERS URGE FEDS TO PROVIDE ROCKAWAY COMMUNITIES WITH MOST RESILIENT BEACH PROTECTION PLAN AND THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF ROCK JETTIES AND GROINS; PUSH ARMY CORPS TO CHOOSE ‘ALTERNATIVE III’ PROPOSAL, WHICH WILL INSTALL NEW ROCK GROINS ALONG PENINSULA

At Schumer-Meeks-Goldfeder Request, Army Corps Held Public Information Meeting on “Rockaway Reformulation Study” in April; Three Alternative Proposals for Study Were Presented to Community & Homeowners; ‘Alternative III’ Garnered the Most Support 

Schumer, Meeks, Goldfeder Urge Army Corps to Support ‘Alternative III,’ Which Would Provide the Maximum Number of Rock Groins and Jetties, Which Help Keep Sand on the Beach and Provide Effective Storm Protection; Lawmakers Say Proposal Includes Necessary Long-Term Protective Measures 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Congressman Gregory Meeks and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder today urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to choose the “Alternative III” proposal, the alternative with the maximum number of jetties and groins, as part of the Rockaway Reformulation Study, which was outlined at a public information meeting in April. Earlier this year, Schumer and Goldfeder announced that, after their push, the Army Corps would hold a public meeting on the long-delayed Rockaway Reformulation Study.  At the meeting, the Army Corps unveiled three proposals to the community.

Of the three options, Rockaway residents have conveyed their clear support for the Alternative III proposal, which provides periodic beach restoration, the formation of sand dunes, and the installation of new rock groins along the peninsula. Schumer, Meeks and Goldfeder today said that the Army Corps should carefully consider choosing ‘Alternative III,’ as it includes much-needed long-term protective measures, like groins which help maintain beach profiles, cuts down on future renourishment and provides natural storm protection measures.  In addition, reinforced dunes and periodic renourishment included in this plan provides necessary long-term protective measures.

The federally-funded Rockaway Reformulation Study, that Schumer, Meeks and Goldfeder have long supported, will ultimately determine the solution for long-term erosion control and coastal protection projects along the Atlantic Coast, between East Rockaway Inlet, Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay. While the reformulation study dates back to a 2003 agreement with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, it has been subjected to various delays in funding and implementation. However, in the Sandy Supplemental Appropriation of 2013, Senator Schumer secured full federal funding to complete the Reformulation study and construction of the preferred alternative.

“Rockaway residents across the peninsula agree that new and rebuilt rock groins and jetties are a necessary aspect of the Rockaway Reformulation Study, and so, the Army Corps should carefully consider the ‘Alternative III’ proposal because it includes these long-term measures,” said Senator Schumer.  “I will continue working alongside Congressman Meeks and Assemblyman Goldfeder until a proposal is studied and the full protection project is implemented.”

“I fully support the Army Corp of Engineers’ “Alternative 3” proposal that combines essential re-nourishment of the beach to combat coastal erosion and the creation of sand dunes with plans to construct new jetties and groins, as well as improves existing ones.  However, the Army Corp of Engineers must exhaust every effort to maximize these coastal resiliency investments in order to prevent future storm surges.  These improvements to our coastline are just the first steps to a holistic strategy that addresses our community’s vulnerabilities. I remain committed to securing all of the peninsula and the communities in and around Jamaica Bay from the impacts of climate change so that future storms never threaten our homes, families, and neighborhoods again,” said  Rep. Gregory W. Meeks.

"It is unfortunate that it took a storm like Sandy to show the world what Rockaway residents have known for too long. Our families have made it clear that they want the strongest possible protections against future storms. The Army Corps' Alternative III proposal of sand replenishment and the installation of new groins and jettys together with a hardened dune system has the potential to provide our community with the permanent protections we have long requested. I want to thank Senator Schumer for his tireless efforts to ensure Rockaway's voice is heard in Washington and that we have the full storm protections we need and deserve,” said Assemblyman Goldfeder.

The Rockaway Reformulation Study, with the objective of finding a long term, cost-effective solution to the effects of continued erosion on the Rockaway peninsula, is currently ongoing. The Sandy Supplemental Appropriation, passed by Senator Schumer in 2013, provided for full federal funding to complete the Rockaway Reformulation Study and construct the recommended alternative. Schumer, Meeks and Goldfeder have long supported protection projects along the waterfront communities in Rockaway. In September 2011, Schumer and Goldfeder surveyed the damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and pledged to fight for resources needed to rebuild the beaches. After Superstorm Sandy, Schumer secured full federal funding in the Sandy Relief Bill for the “Rockaway Reformulation Study” and subsequent construction.

A copy of their letter is below:

Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick

Commanding General and Chief of Engineers

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

441 G Street NW

Washington, DC 20314-1000

Dear Lt. Gen. Bostick,

We are writing to declare our full support for including the maximum number of jetties and groins, currently the Alternative III proposal for the East Rockaway to Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay Reformulation Study (“Rockaway Reformulation Study”), to provide the greatest level of protection to thousands of families living in and around Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway Peninsula.

As you know, the Army Corps of Engineers recently held a public information meeting, convened at our request, at which three alternative proposals for the Rockaway Reformulation Study were presented to the community. Of these three options, our constituents have conveyed to us their clear support for the Alternative III proposal to provide periodic beach restoration, the formation of sand dunes and the installation of new rocks groins along the peninsula. As our constituents have expressed, the installation of new groins, as well as the enhancement of existing groins, is a necessary measure to ensure continued protections from sand erosion and wave action in the coming years.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated the communities surrounding Jamaica Bay, displacing thousands of families. To this day, many are still struggling to rebuild their homes. By ensuring the Rockaway Reformulation Study includes sufficient protection in the form of groins and other proposed measures, we can provide families the peace of mind in knowing that all necessary steps have been taken to protect their homes and their lives.

We respectfully request that you give due consideration and support to the Alternative III proposal for the Rockaway Reformulation Study, as well as to the concerns expressed by our constituents during the present public comment period. Please inform us of any actions taken. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention and response. We look forward to working with you on this important matter.

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