Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) called on federal officials to develop a plan to defend the whole of Nassau County’s South Shore from storms that is comparable to a coastline project that is already in place for Suffolk County’s shorelines.
While Suffolk County is already getting protection from a $700 million Army Corps of Engineers plan that covers all points east to west, from Fire Island to Montauk Point, the lack of a comprehensive plan for Nassau is “the most gaping hole in the long-term protection of Long Island,” Schumer told Newsday Sunday. The senator said:
"The same kind of comprehensive protection that is justifiably and properly being put in place for Suffolk County must be put in place for Nassau County as well.”
The senator explained that it takes Congress up to seven years to authorize a new study through the Army Corps, but if the Department of Housing and Urban Development worked with local officials and engineers to develop a project using the county’s Rebuild by Design competition, funded through the Sandy Relief Act, the projected $1 billion plan for Nassau — which would include bulkhead, levee and road-elevation projects — could take just two years for approval.
Meanwhile, sand replacement at Gilgo Beach started last week, both Schumer’s and Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s offices announced. The $15.2 million project will add 1.5 million cubic yards of sand at Gilgo that was lost during Hurricane Sandy from emergency dredging at Fire Island Inlet, as well as replenish more than 200,000 cubic yards of sand at Overlook and Tobay beaches, in the Towns of Oyster Bay and Babylon respectively.
In July, Schumer and Gillibrand announced that the Army Corps awarded a contract that would provide emergency dredging and beach nourishment for Fire Island Inlet and Shore Westerly to Jones Inlet, and full sand pumping and construction started Sept. 3.
“Our barrier island beaches were hard-hit by Sandy and soon, these beaches will be well on their way to being protected against future flooding,” Schumer said in a statement. “This project is critical to Long Island because it simultaneously dredges the Fire Island Inlet while fortifying Gilgo Beach.”