Hempstead Town Leads the Way on Long Beach Island Storm Protection Project , First Municipality to Authorize Plan

Reaffirming its longstanding support for a major coastal protection measure for residents who live on the Long Beach Barrier Island, Hempstead Town today became the first local municipality to authorize the Long Beach Island Storm Damage Reduction Project.  The project, which will build up local shoreline dunes and erect a system of groins to protect homes on the Long Beach Barrier Island from major storm damage, will be overseen by New York State and the federal government.  In order for the project to commence, local municipalities including the Town of Hempstead, Long Beach and Nassau County must “sign-off” on the project.

“Hempstead Town has been unwavering in its support of the storm damage protection plan for well over a decade,” stated Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray.  “It’s gratifying that we continue to lead the way as the first locality to ‘sign-off’ on the project, and we encourage other governments to follow our pro-active agenda to protect area homes, businesses and people from flooding and other storm damage.”

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Supervisor Murray and Councilwoman Angie Cullin called upon the federal government to finalize a required project report and complete needed “plans and specs” in order to make the project “shovel ready”.  The officials’ plea for action on December 11th was followed-up by a January 27th Point Lookout joint rally with Murray and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, demanding Congress’ approval of Sandy emergency recovery funding, including full-financing for the Long Beach Island Storm Damage Reduction Project.  Indeed, the Senator announced on March 12th that all costs associated with the storm damage reduction project would be picked-up by the federal government.

“Hempstead Town will continue to push forward in full support of the Long Beach Island Storm Damage Reduction Project,” said Murray.  “Councilwoman Cullin and I thank Senator Schumer for securing the needed funding for it to proceed.”

In the aftermath of the Superstorm, Hempstead Town began dredging sand from the ebb shoal of Jones Inlet, and pumping it onto storm-ravaged beaches in Point Lookout.  Only weeks after the storm, the town’s Conservation and Waterways team began repairing breaches in the townships’ dune structure, the last line of defense against surging Atlantic seawater.

This most recent work continues Hempstead Town’s long-standing commitment to protecting local homes and businesses.  Over the course of several decades, the town built dunes, erected snow fencing, planted beach grass and built stone revetments (bulkheads) – all in an effort to protect against storm damage and combat coastal erosion.  A December 12, 2012 New York Times article observed that Hempstead Town hamlets of Point Lookout, Lido Beach and East Atlantic Beach weathered Sandy’s wrath better than Long Beach because of Hempstead Town’s pro-active dune building program.  Hempstead Town bolstered its beach protection project after the City of Long Beach declined to “opt-in” to the Long Beach Island Storm Damage Reduction Project many years ago.

“We are dedicated to protecting our neighbors on the barrier island,” said Cullin.  “This project will enhance the town’s storm protection efforts.”

 “The Long Beach Island Storm Damage Reduction Project is essential to the protection of residents who call the barrier island home,” concluded Murray.  “We’re proud to be the first local government to authorize the project, and encourage other localities to follow our lead.”