The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Friday announced the state formally began to implement the Breach Contingency Plan for Long Island by requesting that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers evaluate the breaches at Smith Point County Park and Cupsogue County Park in Suffolk County.
“Hurricane Sandy caused catastrophic damage to the barrier beaches of Long Island,” Commissioner Joseph Martens said. “With the help of the Army Corp, we are taking the first step to fix those breaches. The state is prepared to allocate funds as quickly as possible through the New York Works program to protect the bay communities, infrastructure and habitat.”
These breaches are on the east and west sides of Moriches inlet. If the Corps concludes closing the breaches is necessary and cost effective, the State will pay its portion of the non-federal share of the project through the New York Works program.
Since Tuesday, DEC and its local and federal partners have been documenting the damage to Long Island’s coast. Through these assessments, three breaches have been identified to date. The Smith Point County Park breach is approximately 50 yards wide and located approximately 5,000 meters west of the west jetty of Moriches Inlet. The Moriches Inlet breach almost completely washed Cupsoque County Park into Moriches Bay. The National Park Service is conducting further assessments of the breach in the Fire Island National Seashore.
“The Breach Contingency Plan lays out the steps necessary to rebuild the breached sections of Long Island,” Commissioner Martens said. “DEC has solid partnerships with the Army Corp, other federal agencies and Suffolk County that will expedite the implementation of the plan and the start of the recovery process for Long Island’s beaches.”
In accordance with Beach Contingency Plan, the Department of Environmental Conservation received a request from Suffolk County for assistance in closing the Smith Point and Cupsoque County Park breaches. DEC sent a request to the Corps today seeking assistance.
Under the cost-sharing arrangement in the Breach Contingency Plan, the federal government would pay for 65 percent of the costs to fix the breaches. The state and local portions of the cost is 35 percent.
The Corps evaluation is expected to be complete within a week to 10 days.