Congressman Tim Bishop and state and local officials representing East Hampton Town announced Tuesday that federal funding to begin the process of rebuilding heavily eroded beaches on the South Fork, including Montauk, has been approved by the federal Office of Management and Budget as a part of the implementation of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) Reformulation Study.
The USACE included $700 million for the implementation of the FIMP in its second interim report for a strategy to expend $3.461 billion appropriated by Congress for the construction of previously authorized Corps projects in areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The scope of what projects will be undertaken along the 83 mile FIMP study area has not been determined, but according to Bishop’s office the release of the report allows the detailed planning and design of the downtown Montauk beach nourishment and other FIMP projects along the South Shore to continue at 100 percent federal expense.
Bishop said rebuilding beaches to protect vulnerable coastal property and tourism resources devastated by Superstorm Sandy is a top priority. He is working with the ACOE to complete planning and design for the Montauk project with a goal of construction in 2014, following the release of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the entire FIMP area.
“Superstorm Sandy was a once-in-a-generation storm that dealt a heavy blow to downtown Montauk and other areas along the South Shore, but it has provided a unique opportunity to secure a stronger and more resilient coastline for the long term at 100 percent federal expense,” said Bishop. “I will continue to advocate in the strongest terms for a plan that will protect vulnerable beachfront properties and the beaches that make Montauk a world-class vacation destination.”
“So much of Long Island’s economy depends on tourism and recreation,” said New York State Senator Ken LaValle. “Jobs depend on tourist dollars, and also on the local stores, restaurants, inns and hotels and recreational boasters and fishermen in the area. Rebuilding our beaches and shores is not only about protecting our beaches, but also about protecting our economy.”
“Our coastlines, the crux of the East End’s economy, were severely impacted by Superstorm Standy,” said New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. “This funding will allow us to address the serious erosion issues Montauk is facing in the immediate future, as well as providing a long-term solution to ensuring a more resilient coastline.”
“I applaud Congressman Bishop’s efforts in securing funds to help re-build our valuable beaches, from Fire Island to Montauk,” said Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman. “Areas such as Montauk are important to our economy and our beaches are not only a tourist attraction but they provide important protective barriers to residential and commercial areas during storms.”
“This is great news for the hamlet of Montauk and the Town of East Hampton,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. “Sandy painfully highlighted the vulnerability of downtown Montauk. The global attraction of these beaches are an economic asset to all of New York and I, the people of Montauk and the residents of East Hampton want to personally thank Congressman Bishop for his extraordinary efforts in securing the expertise and funding to complete this renourishment.”
Bishop also announced that the ACOE’s second interim report also includes $18 million to fund design work and construction of an 840-feet of riprap stone revetment for long-term erosion control at Montauk Point to protect the historic Montauk Lighthouse an associated facilities. USACE has not yet released a timetable for the next phases of the project.