Reject the currently proposed US Army Corp Downtown Montauk Stabilization Project that jeopardizes our public beach and will cost taxpayers uncertain ongoing maintenance expenses.
This petition had 3,603 supporters
THE PROPOSAL: To build a seawall as far as 60 feet seaward of the natural primary dune using a combination of sand-filled geotextile bags and tubes, 10.5 feet high and 35 feet wide covered with three feet of sand. A sand berm will also be built and extend from the seawall 60 to 70 feet seaward and well past the high tide line. The project will run for 3,100 linear feet along the public beach between the Atlantic Terrace Motel and South Emery Street. Of the approximately 100,000 cubic yards of sand proposed for the project, most will come from an upland quarry site, raising serious questions about the compatibility with our native beach sand.
THE PROBLEM: The entire berm and a portion of the geotextile seawall will be located in what is now the ocean intertidal zone (the area covered by water at high tide). The Army Corps describes this type of relocation of the natural shoreline as a “bump out” resulting in a much higher rate of erosion than the naturally occurring rate. As part of this project, East Hampton Town will be obligated to maintain the artificial dune, including keeping it covered with sand, at a cost to taxpayers that some project could be as much as $1 million per year, with Suffolk County covering no more than 50% of such maintenance expense.
Four well-known and respected coastal geologists, Jay Tanski of NY Sea Grant, Dr. Robert Young, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, and Dr. Orrin Pilkey, have reviewed this proposal, visited the site, and agree that this is a seriously flawed proposal. They have all pointed out that sand-filled geotextile bags and tubes are hard, armoring structures. When exposed to tide, storm surge and surf, they are no different than rock seawalls or bulkheads and will result in the loss of the public beach.
[See Dr. Young’s letter here: http://easternli.surfrider.org/dr-robert-youngs-letter-to-eh-town-officials-re-downtown-montauk/]
The Town’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) expressly prohibits Erosion Control Structures on the ocean beach. As defined by the East Hampton Town Code, sand-filled geotextile bags and tubes are Erosion Control Structures. The Town Code restricts the use of geotextile bags to times of extreme emergency and only for a period not to exceed 9 months. The disregard by the Town of the LWRP and Town Code sets a dangerous precedent that may lead to the extensive long term use of geotextile armoring by private homeowners throughout the Town- a practice that is currently prohibited due to the resultant destruction of the beach.
The project also projects approximately 5000 truckloads of sand will need to be transported exacerbating traffic issues and possibly causing damage to our roads. Required staging areas may also cause additional disruptions to our community.
ACTION REQUIRED: Please join us in convincing our public officials (East Hampton Town Board members, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman and his colleagues, NYS Assemblyman Fred Thiele, US Congressman Lee Zeldin, NYS DEC and NYS DOS) that our public beach is our greatest asset and its long-term protection warrants top priority. Proposals to protect private property should not be approved if they will result in the destruction, or degradation, of the public beach. This proposal will compound the mistakes made in the 1960s and 1970s when development destroyed the protective primary dune; if implemented, it will result in the destruction of the natural beach as well. Until such time as the motels can be made FEMA flood-proof or be relocated away from the primary dune, sand nourishment and dune reconstruction is the only acceptable temporary solution that will not likely cause harm to our beach.
Today: Surfrider is counting on you
Surfrider ELI needs your help with “East Hampton Town Board, NYS DEC, Kenneth LaValle, Fred Thiele, US Army Corp of Engineers, Suffolk County Legislators, NYS DOS, Lee Zeldin, East Hampton Town Planning Department: Reject the currently proposed US Army Corp Montauk Beach Stabilization Proje”. Join Surfrider and 3,602 supporters today.