Congressman Tim Bishop visited the site of the Shinnecock Inlet dredge with New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, officials from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and other local officials on Monday.
The dredge, part of an Army Corps project known as WOSI (West of Shinnecock Inlet), will replenish the areas around the inlet that were damaged by a series of storms including Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy. The beaches and dunes being re-nourished are vital to the protection of the infrastructure around the inlet, said Bishop in a press release issued on Tuesday.
According to Bishop’s office, WOSI began as a six year re-nourishment project intended to provide a temporary reprieve while the pending Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) reformulation study aims for a long-term solution. Initially, the WOSI did not require beach re-nourishment, however, Bishop’s office said the series of storms necessitated work to replenish both beaches and dunes.
The work performed on the WOSI project is fully funded through the federal government and funding from New York Works program will fund the second phase at Tiana Beach. In total, 450,000 cubic yards of sand will be replaced.
“Rebuilding the dunes around the Shinnecock Inlet is of vital importance for the infrastructure not only on the land immediately surrounding the inlet but on the mainland as well,” said Congressman Bishop. “The storm surge estimates for the area were based on dune levels that no longer exist. Bringing the levels back to engineered levels can help to prevent the type of devastation we saw in 1992, when the ocean met the bay.”
“These projects ensure the barrier beaches are re-nourished and reinforced and recreational boaters sport fishermen and commercial fishermen will be able to safely navigate the Shinnecock Canal, a waterway that is a critical part of our economy and way of life which must be protected,” said Senator LaValle.
“The dredging project is an example of government working at its best,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. “We are fortunate to have representatives at the county, state and federal levels who understand the critical protection provided by the barrier island and the environmental significance of the Shinnecock Inlet and port to the local economy. Together, they have made every effort to ensure this rebuilding effort took place as quickly as possible following the impact of Hurricane Sandy.”
The port at the Shinnecock Inlet houses the second largest fishing fleet in New York State. There are three commercial docks, along with the infrastructure necessary to pack, ice and transport the more than six million pounds of fish the port averages each year. The area also provides a habitat for piping plovers, least terns and other endangered species.