McCarthy makes plea for Long Beach coastal funds

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is calling on the White Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is calling on the White House and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fully fund a project aimed at protecting Long Beach from future storms. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp, 2011

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Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is calling on the White House and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fully fund a project aimed at protecting Long Beach from future storms.

In a letter to Jeffrey Zients, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, McCarthy (D-Mineola) said superstorm Sandy damaged Long Beach's coastal protection measures.

Reinforced dikes, a strengthened groin field and new dunes and sand berms are needed to shield the area from hurricanes, she said in the letter sent Friday.

"The community of Long Beach, New York, and its surrounding communities are on borrowed time," she wrote.

The corps is expected to release a list next week of Sandy-related restoration projects that it will fully fund, said Shams Tarek, a spokesman for McCarthy. The Long Beach project is among those under consideration, although it's unclear how many other local proposals are on the list.

"There is an interim report to Congress that is currently under review," corps spokesman Gene Pawlik said. "It will be released once the review is complete." Officials from Fire Island villages and the Town of Islip have said the corps is poised to take on a massive beach replenishment project that would restore the barrier island's dunes. A corps spokesman last week said provisions of the Sandy relief bill are still being interpreted by the agency's headquarters.

In 2006, the Long Beach City Council rejected a corps plan to fortify Long Beach with sand dunes and elevated beaches after the idea was heavily criticized by local residents. But city officials had a change of heart after Sandy caused roughly $250 million in damage to the city and destroyed its venerable boardwalk.

The council voted in December to restart conversations with the corps on a storm damage-reduction project.

Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman met with the corps on Friday but did not know whether the restoration project would make the list. "But we find the prospects of a fully funded project very helpful," he said. With Candice Ruud

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