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Fire Island’s Robbins Rest emergency dune repair set to begin

Robbins Rest on Fire Island will need emergency

Robbins Rest on Fire Island will need emergency dune repairs because powerful storms caused significant erosion. Credit: Google Earth

Emergency dune-building to repair this winter’s storm erosion at Robbins Rest on Fire Island should begin this week, officials said.

Using 20,000 cubic yards of sand stockpiled at Robert Moses State Park, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will build an approximately 15-foot-high dune and a 90-foot berm.

“This project will strengthen Fire Island’s natural defense to protect its coastline and keep residents safer and better prepared for the next extreme weather event,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.

The work, which also will repair damage caused by superstorm Sandy in 2012, should be completed in several weeks.

After surveying recent erosion and a wash-over, Suffolk and the National Park Service concluded it might imperil Fire Island roads and heighten flooding on the South Shore “if a modest nor’easter or coastal storm were to hit,” Cuomo’s statement said.

New York is collaborating on the project with the federal government, which will foot the bill and transport the sand.

Suffolk, another partner, will provide a bulldozer to shape the sand, if needed.

Officials from the Army Corps and the state Department of Environmental Conservation could not immediately say how much the work will cost.

The sand for Robbins Rest, enough to fill about 1,000 trucks, is expected to be replaced at Robert Moses.

The repairs will follow the design already created for Robbins Rest as part of the Army Corps’ $207 million Fire Island to Moriches Inlet project to repair Sandy damage.

That much vaster project will build about a dozen miles of dunes and berms with 7 million cubic yards of sand on the 32-mile-long barrier island.

Dune-building for it began at the eastern and western ends of the island, though work in front of the communities has been delayed, mostly due to the difficulty of acquiring real estate from private homeowners.

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