More sand for Shinnecock Inlet-area beaches

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The beaches near Shinnecock Inlet, badly hit by superstorm Sandy, will be replenished with sand dredged from the inlet, federal and state officials announced Friday.

The beaches were already slated to have 128,000 cubic yards of sand added to fix damage from Tropical Storm Irene. After Sandy hit in October, the beaches will get an additional 115,000 cubic yards in the area of Tiana Beach in Meschutt Beach County Park in Hampton Bays.

U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) said he'll work to get another 113,000 cubic yards of sand to address beach erosion using funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies program.

He said the damage from Sandy is making a "bad situation . . . even worse."

"I have requested that the Army Corps seek an expansion of the existing contract with the dredging company to deliver more sand while the dredge is operating in the area," Bishop said in a news release.

The work will be performed by the Army Corps of Engineers, along with Great Lakes Dock and Dredge of Illinois. A cutter-head dredge named Illinois, which closed a breach in the barrier island near Cupsogue County Park this week, has moved to Shinnecock Inlet to dredge it, according to Bishop's office.

The funding for the extra sand dredging was secured by state Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and state Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) through the NY Works Program.

The dredging and beach restoration are expected to take about three weeks, if the weather is cooperative. Bishop said the restoration of the beaches will help support local small businesses and marinas that need access to the fishing port.

"The protection of the barrier beach west of the Shinnecock Inlet is critical to public safety and the economy of the East End of Long Island as the home to one of the largest commercial fishing ports in New York State as well as world class parklands," Thiele said in the release.

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