Seeking protection from the storms

Federally funded study to include the Five Towns


The bay front area of the Five Towns, along with several other Nassau County communities, should be receiving assistance in battling flooding from hurricanes and other storms as they will be included in a comprehensive study to be conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Funding for the study is part of the Sandy Relief Bill that set aside $20 million for an inclusive analysis to address the flood risks of vulnerable coastal communities affected by the storm from Virginia to Maine.

“The need to study flood protections for the bay front areas of Nassau County and Long Beach Island have been identified by previous congressional authorizations but never funded and completed, which makes [this] announcement a major first step in putting these communities on a potential path for new federal mitigation measures,” said Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in a release. Schumer said he pushed for Nassau to be included in the study.

In the Village of Lawrence, where flooding is an ongoing problem, especially in the portion known as Back Lawrence, being included in the study was welcome news to Mayor Martin Oliner. “I would like them to continue to study the entire area,” said Oliner, adding that the flooding problem goes beyond local communities and it requires assistance from the federal government. “We don’t know what to do. If they told us and helped in remediation that would be extraordinary.”

The Army Corps of Engineers previously took a look at the approximately 1,000-foot long dike that suffered a 30-foot breach due to 10 to 12-foot wave surges caused by Sandy. The dike serves as a barrier of protection to a cluster of 50 homes in a portion of the village known as the Isle of Wight. When the dike was breached flooding continued in the area during high tides until the village repaired the dike, but no long-term plan has been created.

“I hope it includes us,” was the wish of Village of Cedarhurst Mayor Andrew Parise. “I am going to touch base with [the Army corps of Engineers], I would like to be included.”

Though a portion of Cedarhurst flooded as water rose out of Mott’s Creek — a tributary of Jamaica Bay — the village received only $4,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair 180-feet of damaged bulkheading and a duct valve that regulates the flow of water, Parise said. Mott’s Creek is located alongside Lawrence High School.

The school and surrounding neighborhood suffered extensive flooding; flooding that led to the closing of the school for nearly three months as the building’s electrical system was corroding. One of the school’s two boilers was damaged and officials had to bring in a temporary boiler.

The other county communities to be included in the study are Long Beach, Island Park, Oceanside, Baldwin, Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh, Seaford and Massapequa. “Storm and flooding protection for back bay communities on Long Island is an area where federal resources need to dedicated in order to avoid repeated tragedies,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a release.

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