Notes from Shoreline Management
Briefing at FIA meeting in Ocean Beach July 19, ’14
Fire Island Ocean Beach Replenishment (FIMI) Project Status and Beach Scraping
Note from Fair Harbor:
The FIMI project (Army Core of Engineers’ Fire Island to Moriches
Inlet replenishment project) which put sand on the Fire Island ocean beaches is
moving forward—with the usual bureaucratic delays.
Unfortunately, the latest best guess is that Fair Harbor
will get sand on the beach in the fall of 2015.
This means that this fall and winter we will again be exposed to potential
hurricanes and winter storms with just the Trap Bags on the dunes for
(note: Kismet is the only community on Fire Island that does not
We do have the opportunity to do a beach scraping this late summer
or fall. Beach scraping is controversial, and while it may add some
dune protection, its overall benefit is unclear. It will cost
$75,000-80,000 will be funded by the Fair Harbor Erosion Control District
(FHECD), which has the money in the bank. Note that there are around 350
homes in Fair Harbor, so on average scraping will cost around $230.00/home.
Both the FHCA Board and the FHECD Advisory Board are
reviewing this issue. At the current time neither Board has taken a
PROS AND CONS
All agree that sand replenishment (FIMI project) offers
the best protection of our dunes. The intent is to proceed “full steam ahead”
with replenishment regardless of whether or not we scrape. The following
summarizes arguments for and against scraping in 2014 as a supplementary action
to address the delays and uncertainties of replenishment.
Scraping removes about 2 feet of the beach berm south of the dune
and deposits the sand on or slightly south of the dune (trap bag line).
Since a major after-effect of hurricane Sandy was to leave the region
immediately south of the dune about 4 feet lower than it was before, scraping
would remediate much of this, and leave the dune much closer to its pre-Sandy
state. Observations of the effects of past scraping efforts by adjacent
communities show that the “scraped” beach recovers within a few
Although sand replenishment is well recognized as far more
effective in preventing and controlling beach erosion, it is at best 15 to
18 months off. While we hope that the Army Core of Engineers sand
replenishment will occur as planned, obstacles remain that render replenishment
less than fully certain. Obstacles include potential legal challenges due
to claimed danger to piping plover habitat, inability to get necessary
signed easements from all oceanfront homeowners, and problems negotiating for
properties that need to be acquired for the project.
Fair Harbor tried to but was not allowed to scrape during the summer of
2013. Current surveys indicate that Fair Harbor is likely eligible to
scrape in 2014.
1. In the short term, scraping will strengthen our
2. Wind and sand settling have left the top portion of our
“Trapbags” exposed. Our DEC permit requires us to either keep the Trapbags
covered with sand or to remove them. The Trapbags could be covered with scraped
(note Kismet is the only Fire Island community that does not have
3. Fair Harbor is likely eligible to scrape in late
summer or fall of 2014. Whether beach conditions will support scraping
eligibility in future years is uncertain. This opportunity to scrape may not
4. Money for Scraping is available, no new taxes will be
1. There is a body of experts that believe that
scraping is ineffective as a beach preservation measure; the science is
2. Replenishment, when and if
it occurs, would provide far increased protection against storms. If
Replenishment comes earlier than expected, Scraping will be an unnecessary
3. Scraping would cost an
additional $80,000 above the money already spent for permitting and surveys.
. Note From Kismet
I am pleased to advise that the Kismet Beach Erosion Control
Tax District has been notified by the District's coastal
management consultant, Land Use, that the NYS Department of Environmental
Conservation (NYS/DEC) has granted the Kismet Erosion District a
permit for beach scraping in July/August 2014 at Kismet beach --pending
issuance of a permit from the Fire Island National Seashore and results
of a professional survey that must be undertaken 48 hours
in advance of the scraping that indicates the beach profile remains
positive. Barring an extreme change in the elevation and width profile of
the beach in the short term, it is highly probable the scraping will go
forward. The Kismet Erosion Control District has let a contract for the
scraping and the contractor is mobilized and ready.
Kismet is 1 of only 2 beach communities on Fire Island that has
qualified to date for a scraping permit. The time frame (of
July-August) for the scraping is non-negotiable based on
federal endangered species periods and NYS environmental regulations.
A scraping at this time will add considerable sand nourishment to the
existing dune and thus will add some storm protection through at least the next
fall/winter season of 2014 while we await the implementation of the US
Army Corps FIMI Project, which could take at least two dredging seasons to
complete through 2015/16.
I will advise the community as to the exact date the scraping will
begin and the duration within the broader time frame noted above. Please be
reminded that large earth moving machinery will be on the beach. Children
and pets should be closely monitored and kept away from the machines
undertaking the work and from the dune, itself, as it is built and graded.
Commissioner, Kismet Beach Erosion Control District, Town of Islip