Shoring up the barrier island

Gov. announces resiliency projects


New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced investments in Fire Island Resiliency projects to protect barrier island communities from extreme weather.

After assessing the beach damage, the state has pledged to take action by implementing a $2 million Environmental Bond Act to support Babylon Town’s Overlook Beach and $3 million for a Support Suffolk County Shoreline Stabilization and Replenishment Project at Fire Island. She also pledged to expedite infrastructure repairs and sand replacement at Gilgo State Park. 

“In the wake of significant storm damage and erosion from recurring coastal storms, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced key resiliency investments to stabilize communities from shoreline erosion and severe weather driven by climate change and continued to press the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to undertake more comprehensive repairs to its damaged coastal projects,” a New York State press release read.

Hochul made this announcement following a tour of Overlook Beach in the Town of Babylon, joined by Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Basil Seggos, Suffolk County executive Ed Romaine, Babylon Town supervisor Rich Schaffer, and Suffolk County Legislature presiding officer Kevin McCaffrey.

“Long Island communities are all too familiar with the destruction caused by extreme weather,” Hochul said. “In addition to New York’s actions to combat climate change, we are taking action to ensure our communities, homes, and infrastructure are resilient and will withstand the coastal storms happening now. I’m committed to continuing our close partnership with the Army Corps and local officials to protect Long Island.” 

The projects will repair shoreline damage, protect communities and recreation equipment from severe weather events.

Th state has partnered with Suffolk County to provide the $3 million for additional beach replenishment to protect communities on Fire Island, including Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove.

“I want to thank Gov. Hochul for her immediate attention to the dangerous situation we have been facing due to the numerous storms that have hit Long Island over the last few weeks,” said New York State State Sen. Dean Murray. “I look forward to working with her and our federal partners and local officials as we continue to address what has become an emergency situation on Fire Island and our local shoreline communities.”

“When it comes to storms, the barrier island is the first line of defense for the mainland, so we thank the governor for the allocation of these resources in furtherance of replenishment,” added Brookhaven Town supervisor Daniel J. Panico. “However, we must address this issue as a region and must end the seemingly endless cycle of emergency scrambling and instead embark on a regional plan, because the frequency and ferocity of these storms have exposed the fact that the current approach may be untenable.”

Currently, the Army Corps of Engineers have been addressing erosion to the western areas of Fire Island.

Hochul and the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), continue to urge the Army Corps to issue the required authorization to repair damage to eastern Long Island.

New York has requested expedited repairs by the Army Corps to four coastal projects: the Fire Island Inlet to Moriches Inlet; West of Shinnecock Inlet; Fire Island Inlet to Shores Westerly; and Downtown Montauk.

“Improving coastal resilience in the face of climate change requires all hands-on deck, and DEC is proud to work with Governor Hochul, Suffolk County, the Army Corps, and the many local partners supporting necessary post-storm recovery and restoration and helping prevent future damage,” Seggos said in a press release. “DEC’s coastal and water-quality experts will continue to work directly with communities across Long Island to advance critical projects following these devastating storms.”

Comprehensive Resiliency Plan to Protect New Yorkers

Gov. Hochul announced her Comprehensive Resiliency Plan to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather as part of her 2024 State of the State. The plan includes $435 million in the executive budget proposal to help implement the initiatives.

Creating the Resilient & Ready Program to establish a flexible fund to support resiliency efforts for low- and moderate-income homeowners ahead of future storms. The program will enable State Homes and Community Renewal to assist households that experience flood damage to make necessary repairs in the aftermath of storms and will cover the cost of proactive flood mitigation improvements. 

Creating the Blue Buffers Voluntary Buyout Program, with $250 million including in the 2024-25 executive budget to encourage buyouts in communities most vulnerable to flooding. The program will prioritize outreach and education first and then begin identifying voluntary projects based on the level of flood risk, ensuring we protect our communities that are most vulnerable to high water and storm surges. 

Making major investments in statewide disaster response to put more boots on the ground, improve training and preparedness, and address evolving threats as they come. 

Update Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) maps, which are essential to the protection of beaches, dunes, and bluffs that maintain and enhance flood resilience, so that communities and permit applicants quick quickly determine if a property is within a CEHA. 


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