The city’s lack of support for the project, Murray explained, allowed it to stall over the years. She said that the town has worked with the corps on less comprehensive coastal protection projects in the years since, constructing dunes and bulkheads and planting beach grass. She added that the town’s 15-foot-high dunes in Point Lookout, Lido Beach and Atlantic Beach helped mitigate the storm damage, while in Long Beach the costs associated with the storm have reached $250 million.
The town is currently dredging to replace 400,000 to 500,000 cubic yards of sand that washed away from Point Lookout’s eastern shore. An additional 800,000 cubic yards of sand is needed at Point Lookout beaches, in addition to millions of cubic yards on other town beaches on the barrier island. The estimated loss in Long Beach is 3 million to 4 million cubic yards.
As the town reconstructs its portions of the island, Murray said that the recovery effort will be “long and arduous” and that a more “substantial engineered project is needed to protect families and property.”
“[The] time is now,” said Liz Murdy, president of the Lido Beach Civic Association. “Not only do we have the elected officials behind it, but I think we have all the residents who saw the wrath of Superstorm Sandy and what it can do in the future if we don’t build up our shorelines and get the protection we need …”
Last week’s council resolution revived a debate among residents who support the Army Corps project and those who question its viability, with many arguing that any plan must address flooding along Reynolds Channel. Morris Kramer, a local environmentalist who supports the plan, said he was not confident that the city would approve the initiative, and asked Murray whether the town could take legal action if it is voted down again.
“We certainly will encourage the elected officials in the City of Long Beach to think about this seriously … before they make an ultimate determination,” said Murray. “We have long asked the Army Corps of Engineers to separate us out … to actually do the plan in the Town of Hempstead communities. The Army Corps has resisted that kind of an effort …”