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Notes from Shoreline Management Briefing at FIA meeting in Ocean Beach July 19, ’14



new_brighton_beach_scraping_to_commence-beach_scraping-520x390.jpg (520×390)

The 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 protection.

(note: Kismet is the only community on Fire Island that does not have trapbags)


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 public position. 






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 months.


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 dunes.


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 sand.

(note Kismet is the only Fire Island community that does not have Trapbags)


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 recur.


4. Money for Scraping is available, no new taxes will be required.




1.  There is a body of experts that believe that scraping is ineffective as a beach preservation measure; the science is unclear.


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 expense.


3.      Scraping would cost an additional $80,000 above the money already spent for permitting and surveys.


Note From Kismet

Kismet Community Association, Inc.

 Re:        Beach Scraping/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.



Marsha Hunter

Commissioner, Kismet Beach Erosion Control District, Town of Islip