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Senators Plan to Jump-Start Long Beach Army Corps Project

Sen. Charles Schumer in Long Beach in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Sen. Charles Schumer in Long Beach in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

At a Nov. 15 meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called on the corps to expedite seven projects – all of which Congress has already authorized but were never started or completed – to protect coastline communities from flooding during future storms, from Staten Island to Long Beach to Montauk Point.

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According to Schumer’s office, the senator hopes Congress will approve $500 million to $1 billion in new financing for these projects as early as December. The plan for seven of the nine miles of shoreline between Jones and East Rockaway inlets includes the construction of a 110-foot-wide protective berm 10 feet above sea level, as well as a 25-foot-wide dune system, as well as the rehabilitation of the 16 rock jetties in Long Beach, and the construction of four new jetties at the eastern end of the barrier island.

In a statement Schumer said:

These seven projects have been approved by Congress, are ready to be started or rebuilt, and should be the first phase of a comprehensive, Katrina-style protection plan for New York’s coasts. They will offer significant protection while our longer-term infrastructure needs are evaluated. This is a ready roadmap for storm and flood protection for New York that we can implement in the very near future that is affordable and based on the Army Corps’ successful actions after Katrina.
A $100 million Army Corps proposal aimed at protecting Long Beach from storm damage has stalled since it received federal approval in 1996. In 2006, the City Council shot it down after trustees who voted against it argued that it was too costly and failed to address potential flooding from Reynolds Channel, after a number of residents, surfers and others said it would ruin ocean views and negatively impact wave conditions, according to the Long Beach Herald.

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In 2009, the city released a coastal protection study conducted by the consulting firm Coastal Planning & Engineering Inc., which offered guidance in implementing a revised federal storm-protection program that addressed those concerns.   
paul.d.spellman November 27, 2012 at 10:57 AM
DeeAA, Do you know what year were the jetties installed?
DeeAA November 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Shortly after 1946, within a few years.
The real bear November 27, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Please tell me our collective fates will not be hinged upon wether a surfer can get some tasty waves
Beachguy November 27, 2012 at 11:41 AM
I've been surfing in LB for 50 years . Also owned a house in Napeague south of the highway. also a house on Hutchinson Island, Fla. So I've observed the situation For a long time. It's simply not an easy solution. In the first place we shouldn't be living on a sand bar which is what the barrier islands are. But the Army plan was defective in number of ways. The sand was supposed to be taken from the ocean areas with such wonderful names such as Cholera Bank, Tin Can Grounds, etc. That's where garbage was dumped for decades. Dunes are great if they are wide, high and anchored by grass and other plant growth. But just dumping contaminated sand in large piles on the beach. Is not the answer. They did that in Fla a few years back and it was all gone in a year or two. BTW-while some surfers did complain about decreased wave quality the responsible surfing organizations emphatically did not. The media just picked up on a few vocal idiots and made that sound like the opinion of all surfers which it wasn't and isnt. It makes for more interesting reading though and thats what sells newspapers.
Larry Nozowitz November 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM
DeeAA the Jettys may work at your beach but the study I linked talks about long term erosion away from the Jetty. So while your beach may be fine, it's at the expense of another. I can't believe the Senators who don't live in the area & know nothing about the people here are telling us what to do!!
Outsider November 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Sorry beach guy but nice try on blaming this on a few disgruntled surfers. They were bitching and moaning to no end about this and as ridicules as it seems real bear, the city listened to them. How the economy of the city would be hurt because the surfers wouldn't come here and spend their money. That, the people who lived on the first floors of some of the apt buildings on the beach and those who had a clear view of the ocean where there was an empty lot. They didn't want their view blocked by some ugly dunes. You can research it yourself. There are numerous articles from way back on this.
Outsider November 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Just ask who lives near the beach across from an empty lot.
paul.d.spellman November 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Beach Guy, The plan called for sand to be taken from the Cholera Bank (which is approx 10 miles south of Long Beach) and the Tin Can Grounds(approx 10 miles westerly of Long Beach)? The ACE proposed pumping sand for 10 miles? Where did you get that bit of information?
paul.d.spellman November 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Or more accurately where did you get that bit of misinformation?
DeeAA November 27, 2012 at 03:38 PM
The jetties were built within a few years after 1946. It was a huge effort to get those built, legally and logistically. My father was one of the property owners pushing for it. We have pictures. It was quite a scene. They built piers jutting out into the ocean . BIG trucks drove out on the piers hauling HUGE boulders that they brought down from New England, I think. They'd dump those boulders, one at a time. I think some of original little sea walls that ran out in the ocean perpendicular to the main sea wall are now visible, merging with where the jetties start. They way jetties work is: the waves bring the sand in with the water, then the jetties cut down on the undertow so not so much of that sand goes back out. therefore, slowly, slowly, a beach gets built naturally. Prior to the jetties I think they used to truck sand in from somewhere to try to make some sort of beach for the summer residents. The jetties are what negated having to do that each year, or however often it was done. The population was very seasonal at that time in many parts of town. I think the summer population was about 10,000 and much fewer in the winter.
paul.d.spellman November 27, 2012 at 03:52 PM
DeeAA, " the waves bring the sand in with the water, then the jetties cut down on the undertow so not so much of that sand goes back out. therefore, slowly, slowly, a beach gets built naturally. " How long did it take you to make that up? "Naturally"? "Naturally"? So the jetties were placed there naturally? What were you thinking ? "Oh look there is a keyboard, let me bang on it"
DeeAA November 27, 2012 at 04:09 PM
The jetties installed for Long Beach have worked for over 60 years. They work find for Long Beach. Perhaps they don't work in all areas, but here, they have worked and will work in the future. Perhaps it has to do with the coastline here. Jetties, in conjunction with the dunes that were constructed 25 years ago, have helped a lot.
DeeAA November 27, 2012 at 04:11 PM
"Naturally" refers to the fact that the beaches built up over a long span of time because of the actual wave action, not instantly by sand being brought in by truck or barge and dumped.
Larry Nozowitz November 27, 2012 at 05:24 PM
DeeAA sorry but you're not an expert. I'm glad you think the jettys work for you but there is no evidence I can find that supports your view
DeeAA November 27, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Where are you looking? Did you live here in LB before those jetties were put in? If so, don't you remember what the beaches were like? Why do you think they did not work?
K & J Miller November 27, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I understand people's frustration, but there were multiple issues involving the issue, and among the biggest was 1) Town of Hempstead opted out for Atlantic Beach and Lido prior to Long Beach voting 2) the Army Corp of Engineers could only guarantee that the funding would have been available for something like 10% of the first year's cost and 3) most importantly, the Army presented their plan to the city and required a yes-no vote; their was no debating the plan or room for any changes to address the many faults of the plan, some of which are detailed above. The city council voted 4-1 to turn down the plan,
Beachguy November 27, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Thank you LBmiller for clarifying the reasons for the rejection of the Army plan. Paul -- I didn't say they were going to pump sand 10 miles. But the ocean bottom is not the pristine sand we see on our beach. The whole bottom around the NY Bight has been the site of dumping off toxic materials for years although not so much in recent years. It's just one of a number of negatives that were attached to the plan. As far as jettys go they might help with the slowing down of lateral drift but they starve areas to the west . Just Look at the Westhampton situation and also Point Lookout. The bottom line, I think, is that it's not an easy or simple solution. People don't belong on barrier islands which are nothing but sandbars. But now it's a bit too late .
paul.d.spellman November 27, 2012 at 08:48 PM
BG, A direct quote from your post "The sand was supposed to be taken from the ocean areas with such wonderful names such as Cholera Bank, Tin Can Grounds, etc." Both of these locations are at approximately 10 miles from Long Beach. What was your understanding of how ACE was going to get the sand from your supposed borrow area?
Beachguy November 27, 2012 at 08:59 PM
My recollection of the debate was that sand would possibly be harvested from a large area of the bottom including the areas mentioned thereby posing potentially serious health issues. As has been pointed out the plan contained numerous flaws that don't have to be repeated by me .Just read some of the more informed posts. Some of the less informed are trying to say the plan was met with opposition and defeat because of the surfers saying they would have poorer quality waves and because others would have their view ruined. That's simply not the case. But in view of the recent disaster it's a simple way to get the ACE plan pushed through now without addressing the same concerns that havnt gone away.
paul.d.spellman November 27, 2012 at 09:07 PM
BG, "numerous flaws that don't have to be repeated by me" so you will just make up your own flaws and further perpetuate the misinformation. "read some of the more informed posts", safe to say those would not be any of your posts.
Beachguy November 27, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Paul- as usual you stray from seriously discussing the issues and resort to insults and personal attacks . Why don't you back off the nonsense and add to the conversation by , if you are intellectually able, saying something that helps resolve a very serious issue? Are you up to this task? If not, perhaps you should join a stream that is populated by high school sophomores that get their jollies by indulging in juvenile banter and trading insults. You are wasting the time of many concerned people who are trying to come to some informed conclusions about life changing issues.
paul.d.spellman November 28, 2012 at 08:49 AM
BG, You are the one that posted nonsense (see Cholera Banks and Tin Can), some uninformed person will read this post and propagate that blatant piece of misinformation. High school sophomores?- Perhaps you were amongst the people who had the high school students perform in front of the city council in 2006 with similar pieces of misinformation. "This plan will ruin the surf, etc." Like a bunch of trained seals lead off a cliff. I am wasting the time pointing out the blatant misinformation you are posting? You are not only wasting peoples time you are feeding them incorrect information "I've done this, lived here, cholera bank" If you have any verifiable factual information I am willing to discuss it and that would be a benefit to the community. If all you have are incorrect "recollections," the community would be best served by you keeping them to yourself.
Beachguy November 28, 2012 at 09:01 AM
Paul - you still havnt substantively addressed the issues I've raised. If the sand that will be pumped onto the beach will be safe then why don't you substantiate that and then that objection can be removed from the discussion. I eagerly await your reply. I hope I'm wrong and you're right. Also, I think it's time you see about getting your medication dosages adjusted. As we approach the so called " fiscal cliff" I think you are slipping off your own personal cliff and should get back to your mental health professional ASAP. But first please provide the data on the materials to be pumped onto the beaches. If my fears are misplaced I will be very happy man.
paul.d.spellman November 28, 2012 at 09:18 AM
BG, Let's review, you posted incorrect information, I called you on that misleading information and now faced with no rational response you feel a need to suggest I have a medical condition? Is that the best you have? So first you contribute misleading information and now you have to resort to childish name calling and insinuations. I think you can do better than that.
Beachguy November 28, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Hurry up Paul . Get help soon. You thrive on negativity and needless controversy. Try a calming hobby like bird watching that will take you outside and away from your computer. You still havnt come out and stated that the bottom gunk that was proposed to be dumped on the beach was safe. Well was it? Maybe so. I'm just stating that this was a concern. If it was misplaced then all the better. But so far all you've done is called this misinformation. Well if it is misinformation then please come out and affirmatively say the proposed beach fill was safe. And back it up if there is any reliable evidence. I'll repeat again that it will make me happy to hear so. On further consideration instead of birdwatching why don't you take up scuba diving and go out in the ocean and bring up bottom samples. Don't forget to have enough oxygen in your tank.
paul.d.spellman November 28, 2012 at 07:13 PM
BG, Are you incapable of following a thread in a coherent way, I never posted anything about the content of the fill from the proposed borrow site. All I have been doing is pointing out that you are posting things which are completely untrue. The simple fact is you have posted completely fictitious statements about where the sand was supposed to be taken. One more time, you have posted falsehoods about where the sand was proposed to be taken from, I have only pointed out your misinformation. If you feel I have posted any inaccurate information, please let me know what that was. If you have posted any accurate information regarding the proposed borrow site, please let me know what that was and how it can be verified.
Outsider November 29, 2012 at 07:31 AM
The bottom line is the surfers and the people who complained about their view from the beach and boardwalk caused this plan to be sh-tanned in the first place. Oh wait I forgot about the dirty sand. Now we have clean sand on our streets. So now they want this plan back? Good luck with that.
paul.d.spellman November 29, 2012 at 08:17 AM
Outsider, We must also explore the concerns about swimming safety, as well as surfing, about fishing, kayaking, aesthetics -- any use of the beach, And remember it is not just about surfing, we must make sure the powers that be look at storm protection in a different way, which is the biggest success you can ask from any project.
Beachguy November 29, 2012 at 09:57 AM
The ACE plan was presented in a ham fisted way . It didn't address the legitimate concerns of many different groups not the least of them people on the bay side who routinely get slammed by hurricanes, northeasters, blizzards and other storms. The other concerns listed by PDS and others were the reason for the plans defeat not just the possible loss of quality waves and a nice view. The danger now, as I see it , is that there will now be a reaction To the disaster in which none of these concerns are taken into account and any plan will be imposed as quickly as possible. I've been a constant critic of theCity Council but to allege that the one that rejected the ACE plan did so because of the objections of a few adolescent complaining surfers is inaccurate ,simplistic and dangerous since it could stifle legitimate concerns.
Beachguy November 29, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Btw-my house is uninhabitable as are many on my street. A wonderful lady on my block caught pneumonia and died. So I'm not taking all of this lightly. I don't want to see a remedy delayed by endless debate and irresolution. But I want to see a reasoned plan that consists of more than dumping large amounts of sand on the beach that disappears in a few years. I want a vigorous discussion of all the plusses and minuses that doesn't sink down to stupid insults and denigrations and that doesnt go on endlessly while we await the next storm.

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