The city’s re-engagement with the corps comes after U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called on the corps last month to “jump-start” a series of projects — including the plan for the Long Beach barrier island — that have already received federal approval but were never begun or completed due to a lack of funding or local support, and are aimed at protecting communities from the flooding that will inevitably accompany future storm surges.
The nearly $100 million 2006 Army Corps plan for the barrier island included dune protection against a 100-year storm for seven of the nine miles of shoreline between the Jones and East Rockaway inlets. The proposal included the construction of a 110-foot-wide protective berm 10 feet above sea level, backed by a system of 25-foot-wide dunes. The city’s 16 existing groins, or jetties, would be rehabilitated, and four new groins would be built at the eastern end of the island, in the Town of Hempstead.
According to Schumer’s office, because the plan is already authorized, the project can be started up quickly, and wouldn’t require years of planning. In the meantime, to help protect the city from future storms, LaCarrubba said that officials have contacted FEMA, requesting funding to replenish three to four million cubic yards of sand lost in the storm.
“There are components of the [2006 project] that, had it been implemented, it would have helped,” LaCarrubba said. “It would have held back the tide and the storm surge a little bit longer. There would have been flooding, no doubt, but you wouldn’t have seen as significant flooding on the ocean side.”
The council shot down the plan in 2006 after trustees and residents said that it did not address potential flooding in Reynolds Channel. A number of residents also said that it would ruin ocean views, while volleyball players expressed concern about sand levels and some surfers said that dredging and replenishment could have a negative impact on wave conditions and rip currents.