The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a $17.7 million beach renourishment project at Hashamomuck Cove in Southold, where erosion has been a problem for many years and where a number of homes and businesses sit just feet from Long Island Sound.
The Army Corps recently opened a 30-day public comment period on the project that runs through Sept. 16.
But the project will need a “non-federal sponsor” to pay 35 percent of the initial costs and 50 percent of ongoing maintenance costs, which will total about $6.8 million, and Southold Town will not be that sponsor, according to Supervisor Scott Russell.
“They need a sponsor at the state or county level, because Southold is in no position to pay that much,” Mr. Russell said. “The town can’t be a sponsor of a public works project like that.”
Still, he said, the renourishment is desperately needed.
“The erosion there is very bad,” the supervisor said. “It’s critical. Studies like this should have taken place years ago.”
New York State paid the non-federal share of the study, but the non-federal partner for the actual implementation of the project has yet to be determined. The Army Corps said it envisions executing a “project-partnership agreement” with the non-federal sponsor by July 2017 and expects the project to be completed by 2018.
The Army Corps outlined its tentative plan last week in a Hashamomuck Cove draft integrated feasibility report and environmental assessment. The proposed renourishment project would affect approximately 8,500 linear feet of beach and would consist of a berm on each of three coves in the study area.
They include a 25-foot-wide berm on the westernmost cove, a variable-width berm of 25 to 75 feet in the center cove and a 25-foot-wide berm in the easternmost cove. Beach fill would be built up to an elevation of six feet to resemble the average natural elevation of existing shoreline, according to the draft feasibility report.
The report says Southold Town Beach, 58 residential structures, two commercial structures, including the Sound View Restaurant and Sound View Inn, and even County Road 48 “are vulnerable to erosion, wave attack and inundation from coastal storms” in this area.
The report estimates the combined value of all these properties to be about $46 million.
In addition, it says, about 40 percent of the study area is protected by bulkheads and about 15 percent of the shoreline is protected by stone revetments.
The Army Corps chose the beach nourishment plan over other options, such as a buyout of private properties in the area or construction of additional bulkheads, the report says.
North Fork county Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said he’s been reviewing the project and plans to set up a meeting with town officials.
“This has been something that’s of concern for a long time,” he said. “As a former town trustee, I am well aware of this area and how that shoreline has been hardened.”