Happy New Year! We are looking forward to getting this year off to a good start and we already have many things ahead of us this year that will require more than organizing beach clean ups and avoiding use of plastic bottles. We will need people to step up and get active. Pick your spots and be heard.
Coastal Planning & Engineering (CP&E)
CP&E are independent engineers that were hired by the City of Long Beach after the city council voted down the proposed Army Corps of Engineers Long Beach Island Plan in 2006. A copy of the reports they prepared, one for the ocean side of Long Beach and a second addressing the bayside of Long Beach can be found by using the links we have posted on our website. The CP&E Plan included the concept of a storm protection barrier in front of the boardwalk.
Surfrider Foundation’s national office is endorsing the CP&E plan.
Storm Protection Barrier?
In short, The ACE has said that a sea wall would not be possible under their current plan and the city council has expressed that a storm protection barrier in front of the board walk would not be in the city’s best interests. The ACE bases their opinion on the change in scope this would cause to their project and how it would jeopardize the funding allocated to the project. The city council trepidation assumes a scenario where the barrier is built, we have another surge event and millions of cubic yards of sand are washed away only to have the ACE cite the barrier as having worked and thus no replenishment of the beach “required”.
We are asking that residents of Long Beach consider signing the attached petition (Mr. Len Torres, City Council President of the City of Long Beach, New York: Incorporate a protective storm barrier into city rehabilitation plans) requesting the addition of a storm protection barrier in front of the boardwalk. There are new considerations at work since the storm and we believe that the boardwalk needs to be better than it was before. We think a storm protection barrier integrated as a last resort needs to be part of that plan. It would be logical to think that the government interests that are being asked to fund the building of the boardwalk would want to see their investment protected as well.
From my conversations with the Commissioner of Public Works, Jim LaCarrubba and others the City plans/hopes to use Public Assistance Grant funds to pay for most of the boardwalk reconstruction and other beach projects such as storm damage mitigation plans. How much they pay for depends on whether the Federal Government requires the State, City and others to pick up a percentage of the cost.
Why am I talking about all of this? Well when it comes time to reconstruct the boardwalk clearly there will be more interested parties at the table than there were in the past. We will have FEMA approving funds, the Senators vying for the full funding of damage costs that we will need to afford the reconstruction ahead as well as the ACE who has been communicating with the City and has adopted some measures from the independent engineers report prepared by CP&E in 2009. None of these parties will want to have to go back and ask for more funds or budget in the future for this.
What does that mean? In March the ACE met with the city to go over what they call their LRR (Limited Revaluation Report). Once an ACE project is funded as the Long Beach Island project was there is a 20% scope modification limit placed on it. In March 2012 the ACE prepared an LRR presentation to describe what they thought would be possible in the LRR and what was not. The actual LRR has yet to be delivered as it was promised in late fall or early winter in March. One thing that was specifically mentioned as putting the scope of the project outside this 20% measurement was a “sea wall”. So far the scope limitation restriction has not changed. Surfrider National is looking into whether this has changed since the storm in the disaster relief funding already in the approval process.
If you go beyond the 20% scope change you get into a General Revaluation Review which opens the plan up to possible defunding and re-approval requirements, including how costs would be shared with New York State, which could drag the process out another 5-10 years.
Christmas trees may be part of the dune restoration process in Long Beach. Pick up of the trees is on Wednesdays. I am not sure where they are being stored for later use or whether they will take tree donations from out of town. If you know of other townships with similar programs let me know and I will help get the word out.
Part of the scope revision that ACE did plan to adopt was the dune rebuilding proposed by CP&E.
This Saturday at 11am the City of Long Beach will have a ceremony to mark the start of demolition of the old boardwalk at Grand Blvd. The contractor has 30 days to remove the boardwalk before the city can impose daily financial penalties on them according to the contract.
Rebuilding the new boardwalk and having the beach ready for use in the Summer of 2013 is a priority and goal of the city council and the administration. I would expect this happen in short order so staying close to the information available at City Council meetings in Long Beach will require attendance. The next meeting is January 8. I will try to post any pertinent updates on Facebook and our website.
I have not received any news on the plan for restoration of Ocean Parkway and welcome any update you may have.
Surfrider Foundation Central LI Chapter