Army Corps of Engineers – NEED FOR ACTION NOW!

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 It is important that the communities across the Rockaway Peninsula focus on getting answers from the Army Corps of Engineers. Our communities have been patiently waiting for the USACE to announce meeting dates for them to discuss their draft plans to protect the Rockaways from future storms.  In the interim, I urge individuals to read the first 19 pages of the USACE report and write to USACE to express your concerns. You can find the USACE Draft by going to BelleHarbor11694.org click the news tab on top, the second article listed opens up the report. When the public meetings are announced – attend and let your concerns known! After four years of waiting we deserve a comprehensive plan to protect our communities and for the work to begin!

Below is a letter sent to USACE on September 14 by the BHPOA that expresses our concerns. I’m recommending that all civic associations across the peninsula write the USACE expressing their concerns and request that immediate action is taken to meet with the Rockaway communities to complete the formulation of a plan and begin the work.

 

Dear Mr. Falt,  (Daniel Falt, USACE)

The Belle Harbor Property Owners Association has been reviewing the Army Corps of Engineers recently released “Draft Integrated Hurricane Sandy General Reevaluation Report and Environmental Impact Statement.”

Key issues of concern impacting the communities of Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor and Neponsit were discussed. 

 

The key issues of concern are:

  • The fact that groins are not planned to be placed in Belle Harbor, Neponsit and a portion of Rockaway Park. The community views groins as a necessary component in protecting our community, reducing the loss of sand from the beaches and coupled with other elements such as reefs would reduce the need for regular sand replenishment.
  • The plan calls for New York City to undertake small-scale sand replenishment projects. Is there a formal agreement with the City? We need to develop a comprehensive plan for the beach side that will end the need to replenish sand on the beaches. Temporary fixes of sand replenishment put these communities at risk. Considering it has been four years since Sandy this section of beach is no safer than before Sandy. A large percentage of sand that was pumped onto the beach is gone. Do we spend another 20 million to replenish the beach again? In the event a comparable Hurricane Sandy storm occurs, the existing berm would be of little help and the baffle wall would fail and prove to be very dangerous.
  • What is the status of the collaboration between USAC and NPS? Has the National Park Service given an indication that they support the USACE draft proposal? Our communities are being put at risk if no action is taken on NPS lands. In the event of a storm NPS lands would become the back door allowing floodwaters into the adjoining communities.
  • The Composite Seawall – Beach 126th to Beach 149th – we need greater clarification. It appears in the rendering on page viii the seawall on the north side ends at the top of the baffle wall installed by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. This would create several problems related to safety and access to the beach. Greater details are required and need to be shared with the respective communities. On page xiii it states that “Final design and selection of the Storm Surge Barrier alignment and associated tie-ins are deferred until additional analysis and design refinements can be conducted.” It is four years since Sandy, there is no excuse why more detailed plans have not been developed and shared with the community.

 

Questions that need to be answered:

  • Currently, what are the existing dollars available for the proposed projects?
  • How is each recommended project prioritized?
  • A cost factor, timeline and milestones are required for each component spelled out in this draft report – has that been drafted?
  • Since Hurricane Sandy struck four years ago, what work has the USACE done in communities along the impacted east coast area?
  • When will the public meetings in the Rockaways be scheduled to discuss these concerns?

Sincerely,

Hank Iori

President, BHPOA

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