Jones Inlet Dredging to Begin

our current look, with as much top sand and forward sand catchment has been moved away from the shoreline to prevent washing away

our current look, with as much top sand and forward sand catchment has been moved away from the shoreline to prevent washing away

There’s been some discussions about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plan, the fortification along Jones Inlet being held up by NY Dept of Environmental Conservation, movements of sand and the like here in town at the NY Rising and other local meetings.

So I decided to find out what the story is. I sat down with town of Hempstead Department of Conservation and Waterways Commissioner Ron Masters who gave me many, many details.

Due to Sandy and other factors Jones Inlet has become dangerous for maritime navigation and is being dredged starting this month by the Army Corps of Engineers.

This is completely separate and in addition to the upcoming USACE project that will fortify our shores from Atlantic Beach to Jones Inlet, due to begin in 2014.

The bad news is: this plan does not address revetment of the north side of the inlet in Point Lookout: that is still not permitted from NY State Dept of Environmental Conservation.

Now the good news: In this original inlet dredging plan, USACE was to take all of the dredged sand and dump it out to sea. Luckily our town officials, including Commissioner Masters and his staff were able to insert their requests into the process that will actually both save the Army Corps effort and give us that sand that will be dredged, we so desperately need.

Our beach replenishment several years ago was approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sand. The expected dredging in Jones Inlet this time around is expected to be 600,000 cubic yards. 300,000 of that is from the extended Jones Beach side jetty which was damaged badly in Sandy, spilling all that sand over and into the inlet. If you think it looks like there’s a beach along the Jones Beach side of the inlet it is because… there is.

The "beach" on the east side of Jones Inlet, seen from Point Lookout Civic Beach.

The “beach” on the east side of Jones Inlet, seen from Point Lookout Civic Beach.

Commissioner Masters explains, the sand is going “to all 3 Point Lookout beaches between groins 1, 2, and 3” and extra will be left “north of groin 1,” for future discretionary use.

“The Town made the case that the dunes be redone” with that sand he said.

Unfortunately the Army Corps of Engineers had initially said that we could not have it to make “dunes”.

To overcome those objections, Town officials were able to get the sand on the basis that we will, instead, make “wind rows”. The town will make three big, long rows of sand parallel to the shorelines between groins 1-3, from the recovered sand. If they become dunes over time, all the better. The town is trying to place this sand as far back from the tideline as possible.

Mr Masters explains, “The three wind rows add mass to protect us against storms. The big buildup (20′ tall dune at the Point Lookout town beach which was half washed away during Sandy) kept Point Lookout from being flanked” by ocean flooding. Parkside Drive at the beach is in a perilous situation for very big storms and this will provide the best defense for now.

These wind rows will also give extra fortification and depth to our protection system when the big Army Corps plan comes in and expands the beach. That plan also builds new dunes and 3-4 groins (jetties) at the Point Lookout town beach to our west, and westward at Malibu etc.

That’s not all we may get.

Commissioner Masters tells me the town met with the Army Corps of Engineers last week about the USACE renovations of the stone for both the Jones Inlet and East Rockaway Inlet jetties.

Once again, thanks to their proactive measures, the town will get any unused boulders from that project. The USACE has agreed to make them available, and the Town of Hempstead gets invaluable materials for the price of picking them up.

The Inlet dredging project is expected to last about three months. I asked if there would be midwinter dune grass planting and although there are orders for grass in the works it’s unknown yet whether we can actually get the grass or plant it, at that time. I’ll keep you posted.

Coincidentally, while writing this post, I was contacted by Carol Eckert from Water Park Beach Association in Northport, NY.
They’re looking for replenishment beach grass and are having a tough time finding it. Can anyone help her? Post in comments below or email that info to me at makingmypointny@gmail.com and I will forward that info to her.

In related news: Newsday discussed Long Beach receiving $12 million for limited bay side sea walls to protect infrastructure.   

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