01.27.13

SCHUMER REVEALS THAT SANDY AID BILL WILL PROVIDE MORE THAN A BILLION DOLLARS FOR KEY, LONG DELAYED CRITICAL PROJECTS THAT WILL PROTECT THE COAST OF LI AND NYC FROM FUTURE STORMS

brbrProjects Include the Long Delayed Fire Island to Montauk Point Project To Protect 85 Miles Of Coastline; New York Harbor Dredging To Make Sure The Regions Major Port Stays Navigable; Protective Dunes for Long Beach and Rockaways; and MorebrbrSchumer Urges Army Corps To Start Projects With All Due Speed Will also Provide Preview On Mondays VotebrbrSchumer Detailed Projects That Congress Allocated Funds For Through Sandy Bill, Urges Army Corps To Start Them With All Due Speed Once Funding I

 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today revealed that the Sandy aid package, set to receive a vote on the Senate floor Monday night, will provide millions of dollars in funding for dozens of damaged and delayed projects on Long Island and New York City that will protect the coastline from future storms. In a letter to Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Schumer discussed the implementation of these Army Corps of Engineer projects, which will include funding for a comprehensive study of New York Harbor, construction of previously authorized projects,  and repairs to critical navigation channels and ports. Schumer today described the intent of the Congress with respect to these New York projects and urged the Army Corps to immediately begin negotiating agreements with local partners  so that coastal communities in New York City and Long Island can be protected in the future.

 

"For years and years critical protection shore protection projects remained incomplete and unfunded, but once the Sandy aid bill passes, that will change," said Schumer.  "This bill will finally provide the money to begin these projects to protect our coast, fortify roads, rebuild beaches, raise houses and shield homes and business owners.  It will also provide the money for the Army Corps to fix damaged projects and finally do a comprehensive look into the best methods for protecting our city and state over the long run.  These funds could not be more necessary, and I look forward to the Corps getting right to work."

 

The Sandy Supplemental Package, which will receive a vote in the Senate on Monday, includes $5.4 billion in appropriations for emergency and longterm Army Corps Projects.  During the original deliberations between the White House and Senate on the supplemental, Schumer and the congressional delegation insisted that the package include funding to repair Army Corps projects damaged in the storm, as well as fund authorized projects that were never fully built.  Using cost assessments provided by the Corps, the Administration and Senate designed the relief package in a way that provides funding for each of the major projects throughout New York, New Jersey, and the affected states.  Because of the existing ban on earmarks rules, the names of specific projects were not be included in the legislation.

 

The projects that were funded can be broken down into four areas: comprehensive studies, ongoing projects, unconstructed projects, and repair to navigation channels.

 

Comprehensive Study

 

The bill includes $20 million for a comprehensive study to address the flood risks of vulnerable coastal populations that were affected by Superstorm Sandy. Schumer noted that a comprehensive study should focus on the need for additional protection in New York Harbor and include storm surge barriers as well as other nonstructural options like ecosystem restoration to protect against future storms.

 

Ongoing Construction Projects

 

The bill also includes funding for "ongoing construction projects" which have already been approved by Congress and are ready to begin in short order.  They will reduce flooding and storm damage in Sandyaffected areas like the Rockaways, Fire Island and Staten Island. The bill includes funding for the following projects:

 

Long Beach Island  The project area is located on the south shore of Long Island from Jones Inlet to East Rockaway Inlet and consists of approximately 9 miles of oceanfront. A historical low height and narrow width of the beach front has increased the potential for storm damage.  The recommended plan would provide dune protection against a 100year storm event for 7 of the 9 miles of public shoreline between Jones Inlet and East Rockaway Inlet, including the communities of Point Lookout, Lido Beach, and the City of Long Beach.  

 

This project is authorized for construction.  The Supplemental package would allow the Corps to finish design and preparation of plans and specifications for the first constructible element, sign a project agreement with the State and City, and proceed to project construction.

 

The estimated cost of this project is $150 million.

 

Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP)   The authorized project provides for hurricane protection and beach erosion control along five reaches of the south shore of Long Island between Fire Island Inlet and Montauk Point, a distance of approximately 83miles. The project also authorizes federal participation in periodic beach nourishment.  Major dunes and beach nourishment could commence across the south shore of Suffolk County.  Though some interim construction has been completed, the project has never been fully completed.

 

The Supplemental package would allow for acceleration and completion of reevaluation studies, authorization of any recommended project elements for construction and funding of construction of any recommended projects; funds could also be used on the Westhampton Interim project for engineering and design and award and completion of the next beach renourishment contract.  

 

The estimated cost of this project is $750 million.

 

Coney Island   The Coney Island Reach project, which extends from West 37th Street to Brighton Beach, consists of approximately 3 miles of beachfront which provides storm damage reduction to the densely populated communities and infrastructure located along the shoreline of Coney Island.   The Army Corps needs to repair lost beach and study and construct a higher dune, as well as constructing additional protections in Sea Gate.

 

The estimated cost of this project is $48 million

 

Rockaway Beach    The project study area is located along the shoreline on the Rockaway Peninsula. The project was authorized by Congress as a 100200 foot wide beach at an elevation of 10 feet from Beach 149th Street to Beach 19th Street, approximately 6.2 miles. From1977 until 2004, the Corps of Engineers designed, constructed and maintained the project under two major construction projects. Because of the high costs, the Corps was directed to "reformulate" the original plan, with the objective of finding a long term, costeffective solution (potentially including dunes, stonegroins and other protective measures) to the effects of continued erosion on the Rockaway peninsula.  Supplemental package funding would repair the existing project to it's designed level, finish the reformulation study, and construct any improvements needed for additional protection.

 

The estimated cost of this project is $300 million.

 

Gilgo Beach (Fire Island to Jones Inlet) and Robert Moses Beach   This is a multipurpose project that provides navigation and shore protection through the dredging of Fire Island Inlet with placement of dredged sand along the shoreline several miles west of the inlet at Gilgo Beach and Robert Moses Beach. The sand placed at Gilgo is intended to nourish the westerly beaches and provide storm damage protection. The Army Corps needs to repair the existing project, and expand the dune structure.  Ocean Parkway was breached and a new road and protective feature must be installed.  Working with New York State, additional nourishment and dune construction could commence at Robert Moses Beach and other areas identified to protect the badly damaged Ocean Parkway.

 

The estimated cost of this project is $107 million.

 

Unconstructed Projects:

 

The supplemental also provides funds to accelerate and complete projects currently being studied by the Army Corps. These projects include:

 

Asharoken Asharoken Beach is a narrow section of land in the Town of Huntington, Suffolk County on the north shore of Long Island. Asharoken Beach connects Eaton's Neck and part of the Village of Asharoken with the rest of the Village of Asharoken on the mainland of Long Island. The length of Asharoken Beach is approximately 2.5 miles. The roadway along Asharoken Beach, Asharoken Avenue, provides the only vehicular access to Eaton's Neck. Recent coastal storms have accelerated shoreline erosion and inundated highly developed areas.

 

The Supplemental package would allow for accelerated study efforts, authorization of any project recommendations for construction, and funding of  construction of recommended project.

 

The estimated cost of this project is $2 million to complete study and $30 million to build.

 

South Shore of Staten Island  The project area covers about 13 miles of coast on Staten Island, extending along lower New York Bay and Raritan Bay from Fort Wadsworth to Tottenville at the mouth of Arthur Kill.  NYS and NYC are the local partners.  A large sea wall has been proposed as a potential protection.  The Supplemental package would allow for acceleration of study efforts, authorization of any project recommendations for construction, and funding for construction of recommended project.

 

The estimated cost of this project is $500,000 to complete study and $350 million to construct it after study is completed.

 

Repair to Navigation Channels:

 

Operations and Maintenance funding in the relief bill will go towards repairing navigation projects through sorely needed dredging of harbors and inlets that were damaged during Sandy. Often times during Hurricanes, large amounts of sediment and other materials clog up federal navigation waters. According to the Army Corps' initial assessments, the following projects would receive funding under the supplemental bill.  Dredging is required to keep these channels navigable for both commercial and recreational boaters.  Click on the project names for details of what each entails.

 

Moriches Inlet The estimated cost of this project is $15 million

Jamaica Bay Federal Navigation Channel The estimated cost of this project is $12 million

East Rockaway Inlet The estimated cost of this project is $15 million

Long Island Intracoastal The estimated cost of this project is $12 million

New York and New Jersey Harbor Channels The estimated cost of this project is $45 million

Buttermilk Channel The estimated cost of this project is $12 million

Hudson River Channel The estimated cost of this project is $16 million

NY Harbor Maintenance The estimated cost of this project is $75 million

Lake Montauk The estimated cost ofthis project is $1 million

Mattituck Inlet The estimated cost of this project is $1 million

Great Kills Harbor The estimated cost of this project is $2 million

New York/New Jersey Harbor Deepening The estimated cost of this project is $30 million.

Hudson River MaintenanceTHERE IS NO WORKING LINK The estimated cost of this project is $3 million.

Fire Island Inlet The cost of this project will be determined when NYS has finished partial dredging needed to build Ocean Parkway dunes.

 

A copy of Schumer's letter can be found below:

 

Dear: Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo Ellen Darcy,

 

I am writing today to discuss the implementation of postHurricane Sandy Army Corps of Engineers projects in the State of New York.  As you know, Congress will pass a Supplemental Appropriations relief package this week for the affected Sandy states.  Working with my colleagues in the Congressional delegation, we fought for the inclusion of $5.4 billion in appropriations for emergency and longtermArmy Corps projects in order to rebuild our battered coastline and maintain our navigation channels.  In the absence of Congressional Report language accompanying the supplemental, the purpose of this letter is to describe the intent of the Congress with respect to New York projects.

 

First, with respect to the $20 million authorization and appropriation for a comprehensive study to address the flood risks of vulnerable coastal populations in areas that were affected by Hurricane Sandy within the boundaries of the North Atlantic Division of theCorps.  This program should incorporate the expertise and input of agencies across the federal, state and local levels and specifically focus on the need for additional protection in New York Harbor.  It should include, but not be limited to, structural options like storm surge barriers and nonstructural options like ecosystem restoration.

 

Second, with respect to the definition of "ongoing construction projects" for purposes of funding a project at full federal expense, the Corps should include projects that will reduce flooding and storm damage in the Sandyaffected areas and are authorized for construction by Congress. Due to the emergency nature of this legislation, this language was meant to include, at a minimum, the shore protection projects authorized for construction from East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet (Rockaway Beach), Jones Inlet to East Rockaway Inlet (Long Beach Island), and Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP).

 

Third, with respect to accelerating unconstructed projects under study by the Corps, the supplemental legislation intends to provide authorization to construct to completion the projects known as South Shore of Staten Island, North Shore of Long Island (Asharoken) and Rockaway Inlet to Norton Point (Coney Island).

 

Fourth, with respect to Operations and Maintenance funding to repair our critical navigation channels and ports, the following projects should receive a high priority by the Corps:

 

Hudson River

Fire Island Inlet

Shinnecock Inlet

Moriches Inlet

Jamaica Bay Federal Navigation Channel

East Rockaway Inlet

Long Island Intracoastal

New York and New Jersey Harbor Channels

Buttermilk Channel

Hudson River Channel

Red Hook Anchorage

Lake Montauk

Mattituck Inlet

Great Kills Harbor

New York/New Jersey Harbor Deepening

 

I appreciate your attention to these very important matters.  As you know, the Corps of Engineers plays a critical recovery and rebuilding role for states like New York.  I look forward to working with you to implement these projects.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Gerry Petrella in my Washington office at  2022240059.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Charles E. Schumer

U.S. Senator



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