U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder yesterday called on the Army Corps of Engineers to fund the immediate dredging at the East Rockaway Inlet, and also to work with the New York City Parks Department to place dredged sand on storm-eroded Rockaway Beach.
On shore, as a result of severe storm damage to the beach, most recently after Hurricane Irene, erosion has put the homes and safety of Rockaway residents at risk. Offshore, vital channels are clogging with sand. Without dredging, the East Rockaway Inlet’s vital channels will clog up and threaten safe passage for boaters, anglers and emergency response, as well as the viability of the commercial shipping industry. Schumer and Goldfeder today called on the Army Corps to reprogram funding to dredge the East Rockaway Inlet, and then to work with New York City Parks Department to restore Rockaway Beach with dredged sand from the Inlet, which can protect both Rockaway residents and this vital recreational boating and commercial shipping channel.
“We have a huge opportunity for a two-step win-win here: first the Army Corps needs to direct available funding to dredge the rapidly-clogging East Rockaway inlet; then they need to work hand-in-glove with the NYC Parks Department to place this sand on storm-eroded Rockaway Beach,” said Schumer. “We need to restore Rockaway Beach to its full sandy glory, both to protect against the next big storm and for the enjoyment of the countless city residents who flock here during the summer months. Rockaway residents live in constant fear of flooding, so we need to do everything we can to prevent severe erosion that can put residents in harm’s way. Opening up the channel is also key for area boaters, anglers and emergency responders, as well as for commercial shipping.”
“Dredging the East Rockaway Inlet would serve a dual purpose of keeping the inlet free of excess debris which would protect a vital shipping channel and by placing the dredged sand on the Rockaway Beaches; it would increase the size of usable beach area. More importantly this provides a much-needed barrier for local residents and businesses,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “This sand is desperately needed to help Rockaway Beach recover from last year’s severe storm damage and the erosion that followed which put the lives and safety of so many Rockaway residents at risk. I urge the Army Corps of Engineers and the NYC Parks and Recreation Department to take action immediately to help protect Rockaway Beach and the livelihoods of the many families and businesses that call this community home.”
Schumer and Goldfeder argued that it is imperative that the Inlet is dredged for commercial purposes to accommodate the large vessels whose average commercial tonnage is approximately 357,000 tons. Schumer and Goldfeder noted that not only are the beaches a favorite summer destination for the people of Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx and an economic engine for the Rockaways, they also act as an important barrier that protects infrastructure and private property from the sea. In some parts of the Rockaways sand is less than 15 feet from the boardwalk during high tide, compared to an average of 75 feet of beach during 2010.
“The Army Corps are the experts when it comes to dredging and beach replenishment and I look forward to working with them, and the NYC parks Department, to get this job done for the people of the Rockaways,” continued Schumer.
Senator Schumer has been a long supporter of funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and has fought for funding on behalf of New York State through Energy and Water Appropriations. The Army Corps has had a long history of working to protect East Rockaway Inlet and Rockaway Beach. East Rockaway Inlet was authorized as a federal navigation project in 1930. At Rockaway Beach the Corps designed, constructed and maintained the beach under two major construction projects from 1977 until 2004. The Rockaway Beach 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. In March Senator Schumer and Assemblyman Goldfeder called on the Army Corps to continue funding the Reformulation Study which is about 2 years from completion.
Dredging Today Staff, May 16, 2012;