The end-of-January snowstorm caused large amounts of sand erosion on already vulnerable beaches and carved out 4-foot-deep cuts that created steep, dangerous slopes in the Ocean Ridge and Davis Park communities of Fire Island, Brookhaven Town officials said.
Cost estimates to replenish the sand are projected at nearly $1 million, and town officials said they will ask federal officials for financial assistance.
“The amount of sand lost was incredible,” Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said at Thursday’s town board meeting. He said another severe winter storm could possibly cause homes in the two hamlets to topple into the ocean.
Davis Park and Ocean Ridge are located in the Fire Island National Seashore.
Town officials on Thursday called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately provide the town with 6,000 cubic yards of sand to repair the damaged slopes.
Brookhaven has been waiting for the Army Corps to start the federal Fire Island to Moriches Inlet replenishment project since superstorm Sandy struck in 2012, causing widespread damage and sand erosion across Fire Island.
That project isn’t scheduled to start until November, town officials said at the meeting.
In addition to Ocean Ridge and Davis Park, town officials last week also inspected beaches at Cherry Grove, Fire Island Pines, and Ocean Bay Park.
A Brookhaven town report released at the Thursday meeting said the January winter storm carved out 4-foot-deep cuts at Ocean Ridge. The report said it will take about 4,340 cubic yards of sand to stabilize the erosion there at a projected cost of $694,000.
Davis Park needs about 1,400 cubic yards of sand to restore its beach at an estimated cost of $225,000, the report said.
In addition, about 3,340 feet of snow fencing at Davis Park was lost or damaged during the recent storm, the report said.