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Murray Calls for Coastal Protection Plan

Seeks state and federal government aid for Sandy-battered beaches.

Credit: Chris Boyle
Credit: Chris Boyle
Story by Chris Boyle

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray called on state and federal agencies to prepare a Coastal Protection Action Plan in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastating passing in the hard-hit barrier island area last month.  

Speaking at a press conference held on the shores of the Point Lookout Town Park, Murray spoke of Hempstead’s efforts to repair the damage left after the powerful superstorm tore through the surrounding area, destroying homes and businesses alike.  

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“Long Beach Island and all of the communities that comprise western Nassau’s Barrier Beach was slammed by Hurricane Sandy over a month ago,” she said. “We have been overseeing the restoration of our coastline, which is critically important, as it is the last line of defense for our local homes and business communities against the ravages of surging Atlantic seawater.”  

According to Murray, Hempstead Town has taken a proactive environmental approach for the last decade to protecting residents and their property. 

“We have planted beach grass to stabilize dunes,” she said. “We’ve dredged waterways to place sand on beaches, built bulkheads to keep our coasts from washing away, and places snow fencing strategically to keep our beaches from literally blowing away.” 

Murray said that the sand dunes Hempstead build in areas such as Point Lookout, Lido Beach, and Atlantic Beach, helped to mitigate the damage inflicted by Sandy’s passing, preventing a bid situation from becoming even worse.  

However, Murray stated that Hempstead is looking for state and federal agencies to update a postponed coastal protection plan to help protect residents from future storms like Sandy.  

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“The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had developed a project in 1996 called the Long Beach Island Storm Damage Reduction Project,” she said. “The project stalled after the City of Long Beach pulled out. Hempstead Town moved forward on its own with a limited protection project, but the damage to the island underscores the need for an engineered approach to storm damage, and we need it now.”  

“Today we’re calling upon the DEC and the Army Corps to take steps to get us closer to putting a shovel in the ground for a coastal protection plan,” Murray declared. “We need to protect our communities and to protect our beaches.”  

The original coastal protection plan proposed by the Army Corps called for the installation of four new groins, which are barriers used to protect beaches against erosion; the repair of existing groins; and the replenishment of sand and strategic build-up of dunes.  

Currently, the Town is using their own construction equipment, including the only marine dredge owned by a government on Long Island, to pump sand from the Jones beach inlet to repair the area’s badly eroded beaches.  

Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) also spoke at the press conference, and pointed out that some forward momentum had been achieved on a local level to advancing the coastal protection plan.  

“I know that, this past week, the City of Long Beach passed a resolution allowing the city council to enter into discussion with the Army Corps,” she said. “I urge the Army Corps to come down here and work with us...time is of the essence, as we are still working to recover and rebuild.”  

Lido Beach Civic Association president Liz Murdy also addressed those present at the press conference, echoing the sentiments of Legislator Ford that any plan to protect the beaches needs to be put into motion sooner rather than later.  

“All the residents saw the wrath of Sandy and what it did to our beautiful beach, and what it can do in the future if we do not build up our shorelines and get protection wee need so we can be safe in future storms,” she said. “Hopefully that will never exceed the damage that we saw just last month.”
Gerald Cymbalsky December 12, 2012 at 07:25 PM
The dunes with vegetation and snow fencing are gone from the beach at the 600 block of Shore Road. We need concrete walls inside the new dunes and under the boardwalk. Movable concrete construction barriers at the beach in place when storms approach.
Bobby Newman December 12, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Gerald, that seems very sensible. Concrete wall under the boardwalk to provide a barrier might have stopped some of the power. I think a combination approach with various ideas mentioned would be appropriate (dunes with vegetation, etc.) , but having that barrier under the boardwalk would also eliminate some of the arguments about wood versus concrete, etc. in the construction of the boardwalk itself.
Jack December 12, 2012 at 09:11 PM
To all of you arm chair engineers: Lido Beach was flooded and sustained enormous damage. There was a major infestation of ocean water through the break in the dunes near Lido Towers at the west end of the Town Park. People are wondering why and who created this opening. Was it done for the convenience of nearby buildings or for Town trucks. Nevertheless people are discussing taking legal action for the damages incurred.
Beachguy December 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM
The Town of Hempsted had a large cut through the dunes in between Nevada Ave., in Long Bech and Brookline in EAB and that's where the ocean broke through. The cut through the dunes for beach access between Nevada and Ohio also contributed to the devastation. If you put anything under the boardwalk the waves an be funneled upwards blowing the boardwalk apart. A storm barrier in front of the boardwalk might work though.

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