Posted on 25 March 2015
Part of Montauk’s downtown beach. Photo by Mara Certic.
Defend H2O and the Eastern Long Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation announced this week they had filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court seeking to halt the construction of a revetment by the Army Corps of Engineers along the Montauk oceanfront.
The suit names East Hampton Town, Suffolk County, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps for their role in approving the “Downtown Montauk Stabilization Project.”
The project consists of constructing a revetment measuring 3,100 feet in length extending from the Atlantic Terrace Motel to Emery Street. The revetment will be created by stacking 14,560 geotextile sandbags weighing approximately 1.7 tons each. As built, the 50-foot wide structure will span the narrow beach creating an unnatural “bump out.” The result of this shoreline hardening project is the inevitable loss of beach, the suit charges.
“The assertion by some officials that the geotextile sandbags are not shoreline
hardening, will have no adverse impacts to the beach and deemed a temporary action in the context of the prescribed plan is scientifically indefensible. Although officials were fully informed, they made a conscious decision to sacrifice a public beach in favor of private property interests,” said Kevin McAllister, the founder of Defend H20.
“If implemented, this project sets a terrible precedent for the Town of East Hampton, whose economy is largely driven by it natural beaches,” added Mike Bottin of the Surfrider Foundation.
Posted on 03 March 2015
The Eastern Long Island Chapter the Surfrider Foundation has launched a petition drive on Change.org against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to bolster the beach at Montauk with geotextile bags and tubes 10.5 high and 35 feet wide and sand berms along some 3,100 feet of oceanfront. The project would require 100,000 cubic yards of sand, most of which would be trucked in from a quarry.
The berm and a portion of the seawall would be located in what is known as the ocean intertidal zone, which is covered by water at high tide. The group says the project would be susceptible to more erosion and require taxpayers to pay the costs of maintaining the artificial dune, which it estimates could cost up to $1 million a year, with Suffolk County providing no more than half that cost.
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, Surfrider says.
The petition can be accessed by visiting the chapter’s website.
Posted on 15 October 2014
Members of the Eastern Long Island chapter of the Surfrider Foundation staged a protest of the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to construct an artificial dune on the publicly owned beach in downtown Montauk on Thursday, October 9.
The proposed work includes placing 14,000 sand bags—each weighing 1.7 tons—along 3,100 feet of the ocean intertidal zone seaward of the existing motels and seaward of the natural primary dune line in that area. The bags will be covered with a layer of sand and planted with beachgrass, a cosmetic touch that coastal geologist Dr. Robert Young describes as “the lipstick on the pig.”
In a press release, the foundation charged that the Army Corps’ proposal flies in the face of the advice offered by three well known and respected coastal geologists who have reviewed the situation in downtown Montauk: Dr. Young, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, and Dr. Orrin Plikey. All three have stated that sand-filled geotextile bags mimic bulkheads and other hard structures in terms of their impact on beaches.
The Army Corps’ proposal prioritizes the value and protection of privately owned commercial structures over that of the public beach, the group said in a release. “Surfrider Foundation’s position is that the public beach is the East End’s greatest asset and its long term protection warrants top priority. Reflected wave energy from the geotextile bags will quickly erode the public beach.”
The foundation also said that the motels on the beach were constructed many years ago on top of the existing primary dune, destroying that natural resource. “This proposal will compound the mistakes made in the 1960s and 1970s: it will result in the destruction of the beach in addition to the already destroyed primary dune,” the group’s release stated.
Posted on 04 June 2014
By Stephen J. Kotz
A new economic analysis by East Hampton Town of a proposed beach stabilization project for downtown Montauk has calculated that the project’s value in total economic benefits would be more than double the amount projected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
First Coastal Consulting Corporation prepared the report at the request of the town and estimated that saving the ocean beach in the downtown Montauk area would be worth an estimated $238.9 million. URS, a consulting form that undertook a similar study for the Army Corps, estimated that the project would provide an estimated $103.9 million in economic benefits.
The finding lends support for Montauk to receive significantly more relief than what the Army Corps has already committed to the hamlet, the town stated in a press release on Monday.
The Army Corps’ latest proposal calls for only half of the Montauk project to be built this fall. A more extensive project is proposed to be built under the greater Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study two years later.
“Without the construction of a feeder beach, the emergency project as currently proposed places Montauk in a vulnerable position,” said Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.
Since the economic analysis is key to the Army Corps’ justification for this project, Supervisor Cantwell has urging the Army Corps to build a much more substantial project in Montauk as soon as possible.