A restoration project is shown underway Wednesday at Ditch Plains...

A restoration project is shown underway Wednesday at Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk. The project started Monday with sand replenishment in response to winter storms that caused erosion. Credit: John Roca

A two-phase project to rebuild and fortify a popular Montauk beach began Monday as crews started spreading about 5,800 cubic yards of sand, according to East Hampton Town officials.

The dune and beach recovery project at Ditch Plains Beach, an iconic surfing spot, follows a bruising winter when several storms battered the area, causing ocean waters to surge over the dunes and damage at least one home.

The approximately $1.75 million project, financed from the town’s capital budget, aims to replenish the beach and rebuild dunes that protect nearby homes.

Town officials said in a statement the project “will mitigate these impacts against the increasing threats posed by climate change.” A larger federal beach nourishment project completed in February in downtown Montauk — unrelated to the winter storms — didn't extend as far as Ditch Plains Beach.

The first phase of the new project is expected to finish by June 26, according to town officials. Southampton Excavation & Site Development LLC began hauling in sand Monday, five days after the town board voted to accept the company’s bid during a special meeting.

The first phase will cost a little more than $300,000 at a rate of $52.72 per cubic yard of sand, according to the town, which is seeking state assistance to offset some of the overall $1.75 million price tag that will include other dune fortifications.

The work “will ensure that our residents can enjoy the natural beauty of Ditch Plains Beach this summer,” Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the town board hired South-Carolina-based Coastal Science & Engineering Inc. for more dune restoration that will begin once summer ends. The second phase “is crucial for ensuring the recovery of the coastline,” according to town officials.

Councilwoman Cate Rogers said in an interview the dunes had “been in trouble for a number of years” and the goal is to rebuild them, but she doesn't expect the work to affect the surf break.

“We're all very conscious of making sure we don't disturb the surf break,” she said.

The work that's underway takes place daily between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to town officials, who said no work will happen Saturday or Sunday.

Kay Tyler, executive director of the nonprofit Concerned Citizens of Montauk, said more analysis will be needed to determine causes of accelerated erosion at Ditch Plains compared to nearby beaches and that she views the new project as a “Band-Aid.”

“My biggest fear is people have very short-term memories,” she added. “And they're going to forget how bad it was when the nor'easters blew in this winter and they're going to forget that this is all very temporary.” 

The Ditch Plains work follows the completion of the larger $11.25 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coastal restoration project in February in downtown Montauk that widened a vulnerable stretch of oceanfront beach.

Over 20 days, the Army Corps’ contractor, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp., dredged about 475,000 cubic yards of offshore sand and used it to widen a stretch from Kirk Park Beach to South Edison Beach.

That work, part of the federal agency's Fire Island to Montauk Point project, didn't extend as far as Ditch Plains Beach — which is east of downtown.

Town officials lobbied unsuccessfully for the Army Corps to add Ditch Plains Beach to that project.

 Earlier this year, Army Corps spokesman James D’Ambrosio said the agency doesn't independently select its projects and noted Ditch Plains wasn't part of the congressionally authorized beach replenishment project.  

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and Assemb. Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor) in February lobbied for the state to help fund the town's Ditch Plains Beach project “on a 50/50 matching basis.” In a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, the East End representatives noted how the beach wasn't included in the federal project, yet the area still faced “imminent danger from any future coastal storm.”

The town board began discussing how to address Ditch Plains Beach erosion in January after the last of three storms hit the area in quick succession.

A two-phase project to rebuild and fortify a popular Montauk beach began Monday as crews started spreading about 5,800 cubic yards of sand, according to East Hampton Town officials.

The dune and beach recovery project at Ditch Plains Beach, an iconic surfing spot, follows a bruising winter when several storms battered the area, causing ocean waters to surge over the dunes and damage at least one home.

The approximately $1.75 million project, financed from the town’s capital budget, aims to replenish the beach and rebuild dunes that protect nearby homes.

Town officials said in a statement the project “will mitigate these impacts against the increasing threats posed by climate change.” A larger federal beach nourishment project completed in February in downtown Montauk — unrelated to the winter storms — didn't extend as far as Ditch Plains Beach.

The first phase of the new project is expected to finish by June 26, according to town officials. Southampton Excavation & Site Development LLC began hauling in sand Monday, five days after the town board voted to accept the company’s bid during a special meeting.

The first phase will cost a little more than $300,000 at a rate of $52.72 per cubic yard of sand, according to the town, which is seeking state assistance to offset some of the overall $1.75 million price tag that will include other dune fortifications.

The work “will ensure that our residents can enjoy the natural beauty of Ditch Plains Beach this summer,” Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said in a statement.

Erosion damage is pictured Jan. 30 at Ditch Plains Beach in...

Erosion damage is pictured Jan. 30 at Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk, where a $1.7 million rebuilding program that includes sand replenishment began Monday. Credit: Randee Daddona

Earlier this month, the town board hired South-Carolina-based Coastal Science & Engineering Inc. for more dune restoration that will begin once summer ends. The second phase “is crucial for ensuring the recovery of the coastline,” according to town officials.

Councilwoman Cate Rogers said in an interview the dunes had “been in trouble for a number of years” and the goal is to rebuild them, but she doesn't expect the work to affect the surf break.

“We're all very conscious of making sure we don't disturb the surf break,” she said.

The work that's underway takes place daily between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to town officials, who said no work will happen Saturday or Sunday.

Kay Tyler, executive director of the nonprofit Concerned Citizens of Montauk, said more analysis will be needed to determine causes of accelerated erosion at Ditch Plains compared to nearby beaches and that she views the new project as a “Band-Aid.”

“My biggest fear is people have very short-term memories,” she added. “And they're going to forget how bad it was when the nor'easters blew in this winter and they're going to forget that this is all very temporary.” 

The Ditch Plains work follows the completion of the larger $11.25 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coastal restoration project in February in downtown Montauk that widened a vulnerable stretch of oceanfront beach.

Over 20 days, the Army Corps’ contractor, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp., dredged about 475,000 cubic yards of offshore sand and used it to widen a stretch from Kirk Park Beach to South Edison Beach.

That work, part of the federal agency's Fire Island to Montauk Point project, didn't extend as far as Ditch Plains Beach — which is east of downtown.

Town officials lobbied unsuccessfully for the Army Corps to add Ditch Plains Beach to that project.

 Earlier this year, Army Corps spokesman James D’Ambrosio said the agency doesn't independently select its projects and noted Ditch Plains wasn't part of the congressionally authorized beach replenishment project.  

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and Assemb. Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor) in February lobbied for the state to help fund the town's Ditch Plains Beach project “on a 50/50 matching basis.” In a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, the East End representatives noted how the beach wasn't included in the federal project, yet the area still faced “imminent danger from any future coastal storm.”

The town board began discussing how to address Ditch Plains Beach erosion in January after the last of three storms hit the area in quick succession.

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