After years of storm driven seas battering the Point Lookout shoreline, a bay-like depression was carved out of the northeast coast of the waterfront community. The erosion that resulted posed a threat to area homes, local roadways and a community park. What's more, the depression served as a collecting pool for seaweed left behind by receding tides. In response to the dangerous erosion and stifling stench of rotting seaweed, Hempstead Town pressed its new hydraulic dredge into action, restoring ravaged coastline and filling in the depression that trapped seaweed. At a press conference that featured the new marine dredge performing its beach restoring work, Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray was joined by Councilwoman Angie Cullin, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Point Lookout Civic Association President Matt Miller and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Peter Scully.
"When it comes to coastal erosion and the threat that it poses to homes and infrastructure, Hempstead Town is 'dredging up' a solution to the problem," stated Murray. "We're pleased that we've been able to restore the coastline and address the stifling odor of trapped, rotting seaweed that was a result of the erosion."
The "Hempstead Bays," a mid-size hydraulic marine dredge, is being stationed in the Jones Inlet where the crew is siphoning sand from the bottom of the clogged navigation channel and pumping it through a 12-inch plastic pipe onto the eroded coastline. The pipe extends approximately 1,000 feet from the dredge to the outlet pipe, where the water-saturated sand is sprayed into the storm-created void. Hempstead Town has already restored over 5,000 cubic yards of sand onto the scarred beachfront and anticipates replacing a total of 20,000 cubic yards when work is completed. The town's Conservation and Waterways crew will also be erecting a concrete groin along the beachfront to help mitigate ongoing erosion.
Hempstead officials will be discussing additional prospective remediation measures with the DEC, as storms may continue to threaten this impacted site. Town officials pointed out that tidal action and storm activity are dynamic and constantly changing. Monitoring and responding to these natural forces is a continual challenge for town officials and the DEC.
"Battling coastal erosion is an important job," said Cullin. "By addressing this issue we are protecting communities and ensuring the quality of life enjoyed by Point Lookout residents."
The "pocket" of erosion was at the Town of Hempstead's Point Lookout Community Park, located at the eastern terminus of Lido Boulevard. The northeastern corner of the park, which is adjacent to area homes, had evidenced the scarping of sand dunes and other signs of erosion.
Hempstead Town is one of the only area municipalities to own a mid-size dredge for the restoration of beaches. The dredge, a workboat and 8,000 feet of piping to move and pump the sand were purchased for $1.14 million. New York State Senator Dean Skelos secured $1.1 million for the dredge purchase, and the town contributed an additional $41,000.
"I want to thank Senator Dean Skelos, who attended the unveiling of this dredge, for securing the monies from New York State to fund its purchase," stated Murray. "His dedication to Point Lookout residents is literally making sure that local neighbors can keep their heads above water."
The town also thanked Peter Scully, Regional Director of the state's DEC, for working with the town, granting necessary permits and consulting on the restoration project.
"Sometimes 'dredging up' old stuff can be a good thing, and the sand we are removing from the channel for replenishment of this storm-ravaged coastline is a very good thing for Point Lookout neighbors."