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Oyster Bay wants Army Corps to help replenish sand lost to erosion at Tobay Beach

Erosion is seen at Tobay Beach on June

Erosion is seen at Tobay Beach on June 7, 2019. Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino is asking the Army Corps of Engineers for help after 1 million cubic yards of sand disappeared from Tobay Beach in a recent storm. Photo Credit: Newsday/John Keating

Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino on Friday asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replenish an estimated 1 million cubic yards of sand washed away from Tobay Beach in a recent storm.

Saladino, in a letter to officials at Army Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., said the sudden loss of sand in the May 12 storm could affect beachgoers and cause flooding on Ocean Parkway as well as in nearby homes.

The beach will remain open this weekend, Saladino said in a telephone interview.

In the letter, he called the problem an "urgent situation" and requested the Corps' "immediate attention to this matter."

"A short-term and long-term action plan must be implemented, along with the proper funding to achieve the goals of hardening the shoreline with additional sand, protecting the mainland and continuing to provide the public access our residents expect and deserve," Saladino said in the letter to Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, the Corps' commanding general and chief of engineers. "The Town of Oyster Bay suffered enough during Superstorm Sandy and we must resolve this matter now, as the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season has just begun."

Army Corps officials did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

Saladino said in the interview that he had spoken to Army Corps officials. “They’re going through their process, but we are pushing them for immediate action,” he said.

Saladino said the May 12 storm kicked up high tides that washed away sand from Tobay Beach, east of Jones Beach. Tobay Beach also sustained substantial damage from Sandy in 2012.

Residents of nearby homes have not complained of flooding, but Saladino expressed concern that the erosion from the May storm could pose problems in future storms if the sand is not replenished.

"If you get another bad storm that scours that dune, then you get the possibility of saltwater on Ocean Parkway,” he said. “With hurricane season coming, we need that beach fortified.”

Saladino fixed part of the blame for the May erosion on dredged materials placed at nearby West Gilgo Beach in the Town of Babylon. The dredged material caused a "change in wave currents" that "contributed to the crisis," the supervisor said in the letter.

Tobay Beach will open additional areas to bathers this weekend. Saladino encouraged residents to consider using the bay side of the beach as an alternative.

“We’re providing for widening the swimming area, so we can spread the residents out further,” he said. “We have spread out the lifeguards so that same number of people who come to the beach can utilize the current positions that we have.”

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