An East End assemblyman wants New York State to contribute $3 million to bulk up a federal emergency beach-nourishment project in Montauk that local officials say is inadequate in scope and funding.
Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) sent a letter to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens on July 23 asking the state to add the money to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that aims to protect downtown Montauk from storm surges and erosion.
Thiele wrote that the state funds would "create a larger project with a longer life expectancy that would significantly increase the protection of the vulnerable downtown Montauk area." He said the money could include $2 million set aside for an Army Corps plan to widen and deepen Montauk Inlet.
The Army Corps in April proposed a $6 million plan to bury 14,000 sand-filled bags on the beach using 45,000 cubic yards of sand. It said the emergency project, expected to begin this winter, will protect downtown Montauk until the completion of the Fire Island to Montauk Point project, or FIMP, along 83 miles of Long Island's South Shore. That project, funded with federal money, is tentatively slated to begin in late 2015 or early 2016.
East Hampton Town officials urged the Army Corps to present a more ambitious plan, saying the proposal doesn't offer enough protection to a 3,100-foot-long stretch of beach that has sustained severe damage from years of erosion and superstorm Sandy.
"It's better than nothing, but certainly not adequate," Thiele said.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell agreed. "Every additional cubic yard of sand we can secure for this project will add to the resilience of downtown Montauk," he said.
An agency spokesman said Thursday that "the Corps would need to further coordinate with our local and state partners" before knowing how the potential state funds might affect the project.
A DEC spokeswoman said extra funding would depend on at least one factor.
"The overall Fire Island to Montauk Point project will determine if additional measures are necessary," she said.
Cuomo's office did not return a request for comment Thursday.