Congressman Visits Shinnecock Inlet Dredging Project (USA)
Congressman Tim Bishop visited the site of the Shinnecock Inlet dredge last week; he was joined by New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, and officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other local officials.
The dredge, part of an Army Corps project known as WOSI (West of Shinnecock Inlet), will replenish the areas around the inlet that were damaged by a series of storms, including Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy. The beaches and dunes being renourished are vital to the protection of the infrastructure around the inlet.
WOSI began as a six-year renourishment project intended to provide a temporary reprieve while the pending Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) reformulation study aims for a more long-term solution. Initially after its completion, WOSI maintained sufficient levels of material and required no further renourishment. However, a series of storms necessitated work to replenish the beaches and dunes. The work now being performed on the WOSI project is being fully funded through the federal government. Funding from the New York Works program will fund the second phase at Tiana Beach. In total, 450,000 cubic yards of sand will be replaced.
“Rebuilding the dunes around the Shinnecock Inlet is of vital importance for the infrastructure not only on the land immediately surrounding the inlet, but on the mainland as well,” said Congressman Bishop. “The storm surge estimates for the area were based on dune levels that no longer exist. Bringing the levels back to engineered levels can help to prevent the type of devastation we saw in 1992, when the ocean met the bay.”
“The Army Corps is pleased to be able to work with our federal, state and county partners to carry out this dual-benefit work, especially in light of the severe erosion that powerful storms like Sandy and Irene have caused in recent years,” said New York District Commander Col. Paul Owen. “Not only are we improving coastal storm risk reduction by placing much-needed sand in areas west of Shinnecock Inlet, but the sand we’re using is being dredged from Shinnecock Inlet, which helps improve navigation as well.”
“These projects ensure the barrier beaches are renourished and reinforced and recreational boaters, sport fishermen and commercial fishermen will be able to safely navigate the Shinnecock Canal, a waterway that is a critical part of our economy and way of life which must be protected,” Senator Ken LaValle said.
“This project is a testament to how government officials, when working together, can break through traditional bureaucratic barriers. Today, we are one step closer to protecting the East End’s commercial fishing industry, our fragile barrier beaches, and economic prosperity. I thank Congressman Tim Bishop, Governor Cuomo, Senator LaValle and Supervisor Throne-Holst for their cooperative spirits and quick responses,” said Assemblyman Fred Thiele.
“Swift action in addressing the storm damage is important for the fishing industry as well as for barrier beach protection,” said Legislator Jay Schneiderman. “I would like to thank Congressman Bishop and the State for expediting the work.”
“This dredging project is an example of government working at it best. We are fortunate to have representative at the County, State and Federal levels who understand the critical protection provided by the barrier island, and the environmental significance of the Shinnecock Inlet and Port to the local economy. Together they have made every effort to ensure this rebuilding effort took place as quickly as possible following the impact of Hurricane Sandy,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.
The port at the Shinnecock Inlet houses the second-largest fishing fleet in New York State. There are three commercial docks, along with the infrastructure necessary to pack, ice and transport the 6.6 million pounds of fish the port averages each year. The area also provides a habitat for piping plovers, least terns, and other endangered species.
Press Release, December 19, 2012; Images: 27east