U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that a $15 million Army contract has been awarded for emergency dredging and beach nourishment for the Fire Island Inlet and Shore Westerly to Jones Inlet.
Schumer and Gillibrand successfully secured approval from the Army Corps to begin this multi-purpose project which will provide much-needed dredging at the Fire Island Inlet and simultaneously help the Sandy-damaged Gilgo Beach by replenishing it with the dredged sand. Sand will also be replenished at Tobay Beach, Cedar Beach and Overlook Beach. Schumer and Gillibrand today announced that the work for this project has been contracted and the project will soon move forward.
“Today’s news means that work on this much-needed emergency project will soon be underway, allowing commuters and fishermen who rely on a passable Fire Island Inlet to better utilize this major artery,” said Schumer. “Superstorm Sandy ravaged Long Island’s south shore coastline and I worked hard to ensure restoration projects, like this one, were funded under the Sandy Relief Bill. I am relieved that a contract has been awarded so that Long Island’s beaches can be restored as soon as possible.”
“With Superstorm Sandy’s devastating impact on Long Island’s shorelines and the deteriorating conditions at Fire Island Inlet, it is clear that dredging and replenishment are necessary,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This Army Corps project will help address both of these problems before the situation worsens.”
Fire Island Inlet is located on the South Shore of Long Island in Suffolk County, passing through Robert Moses State Park, and is the only major artery between the Great South Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This inlet is primarily used by commercial and recreational fisherman and the USCG Fire Island Station is located just inside the inlet. Captree State Park, north of the inlet, is primarily used by fishing and dive boats.
In September 2012, USCG issued a warning to mariners who utilize the Fire Island Inlet and advised that they seek alternate routes. The advisory described the water depths of the Fire Island Inlet to be as low as 4 feet at high tide and less than 1 foot at low tide.
Gilgo Beach and Robert Moses State Park, including the historic water tower and roundabout, were badly damaged by storm surge during Superstorm Sandy. In November, Schumer called for a federally-funded multi-agency emergency plan that would reconstruct Ocean Parkway and nourish beaches that were destroyed after Superstorm Sandy. Schumer’s plan called for federal highway emergency funds to aid the rebuilding of the damaged parkway and protective dune system. New York State has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract and that work has begun.
The Fire Island Inlet and Shores Westerly to Jones Inlet, New York- Beach Erosion Control and Navigation Project is final piece of this plan. The project will use sand being dredged as part of the federally funded Fire Island dredge operation to rebuild the beaches that are in need of sand in between the road and the Atlantic Ocean. The transfer of sand from the inlet onto Gilgo Beach and Robert Moses Beach would mitigate erosion and protect the shoreline.
Schumer and Gillibrand announced that the Army awarded a contract to Norfolk Dredging Company in Virginia in the amount of $15,258,000. The contract provides emergency dredging and beach nourishment for Fire Island Inlet and Shore Westerly to Jones Inlet. At Gilgo Beach, 1.2 million cubic yards will be replenished. At Tobay Beach, 225,000 cubic yards of sand will be replenished and at Cedar and Overlook Beach, 50,000 cubic yards of sand will be replenished.
Press Release, July 18, 2013