Monday, March 06, 2006

In the News: Long Beach Sand Replenishment Project?

The City of Long Beach, New York, will have a public meeting on Tuesday, March 7 to discuss the fate of a proposed Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) sand replenishment project that claims to offer protection to residents and businesses in the City by creating a barrier from hurricanes and nor'easters. The project, which has been proposed for several years by the ACOE, is being presented with recent modifications that would change the overall impacts of the effort. However, local residents and the Surfrider Foundation are continuing to fight the project, citing the impacts it will have on the environment, recreational opportunties, and the local economy states the following Newsday article. JB

March 4, 2006

One of the main questions arising from a proposed $98-million project to protect the Long Beach shoreline is whether it's worth spending money to fight Mother Nature.

Some feel such sand-replenishment projects are a waste of money because erosion is an unstoppable process. Others argue that people have interrupted natural processes by building ports, dams and jetties, thereby making it necessary to replenish the shoreline."

The only way to engineer with nature is to replenish the sand from one place to another," said Gilbert W. Hanse, director of emergency preparedness for the Town of Babylon. "That's what dredging does. It takes the sand from one area and puts it where it's needed."I

n the past 10 years, Gilgo Beach in Babylon has been replenished three times with 1 million cubic yards of sand from the Fire Island inlet. The projects' cost, $27 million, was borne by the state and federal governments, Hanse said.

The town, Hanse said, is hoping to do it again next year. The beach is now 170 feet wide; the goal is to get it back to 330 feet.

The sand, Hanse said, is a shock absorber."

If that sand in that beach and the sand dunes are not there, the waves will attack any structure that is in the way," he said. "The sand is doing its job. It is providing protection."

Jeff Kupferman, a resident of Long Beach for 45 years, is doubtful that a $98-million replenishment project in his community is worth it."

I have great concerns that a tremendous amount of money is spent," he said. "I don't know that it will provide the amount of protection they say it will."

As the chairman of the Long Beach Action Committee for Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit, environmental organization that works to protect oceans, waves, and beaches, Kupferman is concerned the replenishment of the shore would do more harm than good."

I don't care what you put on the beach, all this new stuff is going to be washed away," he added. "I don't know if the benefit of the project warrants us losing our beautiful beach and the marine life."

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