Senators push to protect coastal communities

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The plan for the barrier island would provide dune protection against a 100-year storm for seven of the nine miles of shoreline between the Jones and East Rockaway inlets. The proposal includes the construction of a 110-foot-wide protective berm 10 feet above sea level, backed by a 25-foot-wide dune system. The 16 existing groins, or jetties, in the City of Long Beach would be rehabilitated, and four new groins would be built at the eastern end of the island, in the Town of Hempstead.

Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said that the project might require City Council approval, but would be considered seriously. He added that it was unclear whether such a project would include the construction of a new boardwalk.

“We greatly appreciate the work that Senators Schumer and Gillibrand are doing on our behalf for dune restoration and assisting in the permanent repairs and improvement of our bay and coastline,” Schnirman said. “We look forward to working with Senator Schumer and the Army Corps of Engineers in order to make our beach and dunes safe for our residents. Everyone saw the magnitude of the storm that impacted us, and it underscores the need to have significant projects like this given the most serious consideration.”

Army Corps studies aimed at protecting Long Beach from storm damage have been kicked around since the 1960s, but a $100 million project that received federal approval in 1996 has stalled in the years since. In 2006, the plan was shot down by the City Council after trustees who voted against it said that it was too costly and did not address potential flooding in Reynolds Channel. A number of residents said that it would ruin ocean views, and some surfers said that there was a potentially negative impact on wave conditions, while others expressed concerns about the impact replenishment would have on the beachfront.

In 2009, the city released a coastal protection study conducted by the consulting firm Coastal Planning & Engineering Inc., which offered guidance in implementing a revised federal storm-protection program that addressed those concerns.

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