The sand can also be used to create sand dunes. Dunes provide a natural barrier to the destructive forces of wind and waves. Dunes are areas of the beach where sand is elevated several feet to act as a buffer between the waves and storm water levels and the structures landward on the beach. Dunes will be built and planted with dune grass. Asand replenished beach with dunes can prevent elevated ocean waters, caused by storms, from inundating coastal communities. According to Ciorra, “Post-Hurricane Sandy analysis showed that beaches that had previously received sand placement and dune construction sustained less damages and saved an estimated $1.3 billion in avoided damages on New York and New Jersey shorelines.” Lynn Bocamazo agrees with Ciorra. Bocamazo is a retired former se- nior coastal engineer and chief of the New York District’s Engineering Division’s Hurricane Sandy Branch. She added, “Immediately after Sandy, I visited the Fire Island at Montauk Point – Westhampton In- terim Beach Nourishment Project on Long Island, New York. This is part of today’s Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, New York, Coastal Storm Risk Management Project.” She continued, “I witnessed how the high dunes created by the Army Corps resulted in an estimated $107 Million in avoided damages.” Bocamazo was involved with the project for 27 years. To help these beaches retain sand in one location, a feeder beach will be constructed. A feeder beach is a beach that has been stockpiled with extra sand. This extra sand can naturally drift to other nearby beaches that may be losing sand. A feeder beach will be created along 6,000 feet of shorefront at Montauk Beach. To help facilitate the movement of this sand and restore the natural cross barrier island transport of sand in the region, two unneeded groins will be removed at Fire Island’s Ocean Beach Village. Groins, also known as jetties, are structures that extend out from the shore into the water and interrupts water flow and limits the movement of sand, to slow down beach erosion. Groins can be made of large boulders, concrete, steel or wood. Preserving Natural Resources Not only will the project reduce risks to the public, it will also restore coastal wetland habitats for endangered wildlife. According to Peter Weppler, Chief, Environmental Analysis Branch, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “The project in - cludes features that will be beneficial to endangered species in the area, such as the Piping Plover, Least Turn, and various protected beach plant life.” As part of the coastal restoration aspect of the project, sand will be placed on 12 barrier islands. The sand will be placed with native vegetation to create nesting and foraging habits for these species. In addition, this sand placement will also help to restore the natural cross barrier island transport of sand. “Placing the sand in these areas, augments resiliency and enhances the overall barrier island’s natural system coastal processes,” said
1992 Westhampton Beach Breach. Photo: USACE.
Weppler who started working on this project in the early 1990s as a new biologist. Adapting to Sea Level Rise Climate change is causing sea levels to rise and because of this the project may have to adapt to these changing conditions overtime. The Army Corps will be monitoring sea level rise on a regular basis and making adjustments to the project. Weppler said, “Based on our monitoring of sea level rise, this could mean over time increasing the volume of sand we place on beaches, increasing the height of berms and dunes to account for observed in- creases in sea level rise.” Vietri added, “It’s predicted that future sea level rise could increase anywhere between one to six feet over the next 100 years, resulting in more frequent and severe storm damages.” Recently, the work began on The Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point, New York, Coastal Storm Risk Management Project. The first phase of work includes dredging sand from Fire Island Inlet and shoals and placing this sand onto Gilgo Beach and Robert Moses State Park. All work on the project will be performed during times of the year that would not harm wildlife. The entire project is expected to be completed in a decade and all sand placement work will be replenished every few years, beyond the completion of the project. The Army Corps and its partners are pleased with the measures out- lined in the project and are glad it’s getting started. James Tierney, Deputy Commissioner for Water Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said, “New York State is proud to partner with the experts at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on this critical initiative. The project takes a holistic approach to increasing coastal resiliency while enhancing aquatic
March 2022 csengineermag.com
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