U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray proudly toured Point Lookout beaches that have been restored from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy. The second summer since the Superstorm witnessed Schumer and Murray welcoming neighbors back to the ocean for the start of the beach season. Partnering on shorefront restoration, the Senator successfully recruited the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Jones Inlet and place the sand siphoned from the clogged waterway onto the local beachfront. Murray oversaw a town beach restoration program that included distributing Army Corps sand that was placed on the Point Lookout shorefront to other sand-starved locations, the rebuilding of sand dunes and the planting of beach grass to preserve fragile dunes that protect area homes and businesses. The town also performed extensive sand dune restoration and beach replenishment in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“Senator Schumer has been one of the best friends that beachgoers and those who live by the water could have,” stated Murray. “The Senator’s strong and persuasive voice ensured that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged the sand-clogged Jones Inlet and deposited desperately needed sand onto the storm-wracked Point Lookout coast. Thank you Senator Schumer.”
During this past winter, Schumer succeeded in having the Army Corps remove 680,000 cubic yards of sand from the Jones Inlet, simultaneously pumping that sand onto Point Lookout beaches. There were two primary benefits of the project. First, the sand-clogged inlet is now clear, removing a serious hazard to navigation for boaters. Second, the sand that was removed from the navigational channel was deposited on Point Lookout beaches, adding coastline for beachgoers and increasing the protective sand barrier between local homes and the Atlantic Ocean.
"I could not ask for a better partner in the critical and ongoing restoration of the beaches in the Town of Hempstead than Supervisor Kate Murray,” said U.S. Senator Schumer. “Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on Jones Inlet, Point Lookout, Lido and East Atlantic Beach, and after working with the Army Corps to dredge, replenish the sand and restore dunes at these beaches, it's great to welcome local beachgoers and tourists back this season.”
While the Senator delivered the valuable $10 million Army Corps project to the barrier island in Hempstead Town, Supervisor Murray directed the township’s Conservation and Waterways Department to “dovetail” its operations with the federal project. In direct coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that took place between February and March of 2014, town crews moved 50,000 cubic yards of sand west from the point where it was deposited by the Army Corps dredging operation, restoring eroded beaches and dunes. Dune restoration and beach replenishment was concentrated along Civic Beach, Middle Beach and Town Park Point Lookout, as well as other locations to the west of Point Lookout. Sand was replaced at the undermined lifeguard offices at Point Lookout, cabana areas at the same beach and along the protective dune structure.
Complementing the placement of sand and the restoration of sand dunes, Hempstead Town procured 250,000 beach grass plants (ammophila breviligulata) which were planted on dunes in Civic Beach, Lido ANCHOR Beach and East Atlantic Beach. The beach grass has a dense root structure which stabilizes sand dunes and literally prevents the sand from blowing away. The plants also fortify the dunes to protect them from washing away during storms. Town officials are poised to continue planting beach grass during upcoming fall planting season with the assistance of local community groups.
“It is a pleasure to partner with Senator Schumer to restore our coastline for beachgoers,” stated Murray. “What’s more, collaborating to restore sand dunes along the coast will make sure homeowners and businesses have a greater degree of protection from tidal storm surges.”
Schumer and Murray observed that the beachfront distance from dune to waterline has doubled in many areas as a result of their joint work along the barrier island. Additionally, the officials reaffirmed their mutual commitment to the Long Beach Island Project, an almost $180 million initiative, that is anticipated to commence in March of 2015. The effort includes restoration of existing stone groins (jetties), construction of new groins, replenishment of sand along coastal beaches and other engineered work to protect coastal communities during major storms.
“I'm thrilled to be part of this banner day for The Town of Hempstead," said U.S. Senator Schumer.
“We’re here today to tell everyone that the beaches are back and better than ever,” concluded Murray. “Grab the sunscreen, put on your bathing suit and visit one of Hempstead Town’s beautiful beaches now.”