home elevations, flood-proofing & acquisitions, coastal restoration, preserving natural resources, and adapting to sea level rise. Breach Response Plan After a storm or tidal surge, if a breach is created on a barrier island, it will be closed immediately. A breach is an opening or gap that develops in a barrier island, allow- ing the ocean water and bay water to meet, which can make an area vulnerable to storm damages. Closing the breach will be accomplished by dredging sand from federal navigation channels and placing the sand on the barrier island to build the island back up. Home Elevations, Flood Proofing & Acquisitions Homeowners will be able to decide if they want their homes elevated or flood proofed by the Army Corps. The homes will be elevated so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. Approximately, 4,000 homes will be elevated. “This is the largest number of structures that have ever been considered for a raising on an Army Corps project,” said Mark Lulka, project manager, NewYork District, U.S.Army Corps of Engineers, who oversees the home elevations, floodproofing and home acquisition aspect of this project and was the project manager for the entire project a few years ago. Flood proofing is a technique used to reduce damages to homes that may be affected by floodwaters. Approximately, 650 homes will be floodproofed. One method the Army Corps is using to flood proof homes is constructing ringwalls. Ringwalls are walled structures that encircle homes to hold back floodwaters. Ninety-three homes will be Over the years, much of the project’s coastal area has eroded, removing the natural beachfront and dunes that provide coastal protection to the communities from storm surge. To restore these beaches, sand will be placed back on them. provided with ringwalls. Coastal Restoration Approximately, 4.2 million cubic yards of sand will be dredged from several federal channels including Fire Island Inlet and shoals and Moriches & Shinnecock Inlets and shoals. This is enough sand to fill 420,000 dump trucks. Ocean dredges gather sand from offshore sand borrow areas and pump it through pipelines onto the beach. The sand will be placed onto several beaches including Gilgo Beach, Robert Moses State Park, and Tiana and Montauk Beaches. The sand can be placed in different areas of a beach depending on the project design. Sand can be placed to increase the height and width of a berm of the beach. The berm is a flat area of the beach between the landward shore and the ocean where beach goers typically sunbathe.
In the past century, especially in the last 20 years, Long Island’s devel- oped coast has experienced storm damages. Elevated tides and waves from these storms caused extensive flooding and sand erosion, leaving communities and shore life vulnerable. Most recently was Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Storm surge from Sandy eroded forty percent of the beach sediment from some areas and cre- ated three breaches in the barrier islands, leaving the area vulnerable to significant damages. Anthony Ciorra, Project Manager, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers remembers Sandy, “What stands out in my mind, was the devastation I witnessed in the south shore communities in the aftermath of Sandy. Just three days after the storm passed, I boarded a New York State Police helicopter with colleagues and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to inspect the dam- age caused by the storm surge. It was a glaring and harsh reminder that these heavily developed and densely populated communities are at high risk of continued damages due to coastal storm events.” Over the years, the Army Corps would perform small projects to stabi- lize vulnerable areas, but it was realized, especially with Sandy, that a more comprehensive long-term project was needed for the entire region. The project would become The Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, New York, Coastal Storm Risk Management Project. The project was created by the Army Corps in collaboration with nu- merous agencies and communities that include the NewYork State De- partment of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of State, Department of the Interior, National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Service, Suffolk County Govern - ment, the townships of Islip, Babylon, Brookhaven, Southampton and East Hampton, 12 incorporated villages, and the general public. The project includes several measures to manage the risks of coastal storm damage and sea level rise. They include a breach response plan, New York District Commander Col. Matthew Luzzatto meets with the project team managing the sand placement on Gilgo Beach, one of several beaches receiving sand replenishment with the Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, New York, Coastal Storm Risk Management Project. Photo: James D’Ambrosio, Public Affairs.
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