A federal spending bill authorized by Congress late last month included legislation to block the sale of Plum Island — but several local projects to bolster coastline protections from rising seas and storms are also getting a boost.
The largest project to receive federal funding is the Fire Island to Montauk Point study, which includes shoreline restoration projects along 83 miles on the south shore.
On the North Fork, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) announced that the Hashamomuck Cove Coastal Storm Risk Management Project will now be eligible for an estimated $11.5 million in federal funding by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of its annual work plan.
“On the East End of Long Island, we have a unique responsibility to safeguard our local waterways, from bolstering our local maritime infrastructure to managing future storm risks,” Rep. Zeldin said in a statement. “Continuing to safeguard and invest in our maritime infrastructure will help preserve Long Island’s way of life for generations to come.”
The Hashamomuck Cove project is designed to reduce coastal storm damage for residents who live along the Long Island Sound while also protecting Route 48 and surrounding infrastructure from natural threats.
It would also require an initial contribution of $6.2 million from a non-federal sponsor, though it appears unlikely that the town will back the project.
“I would have a hard time justifying to the 18,000 other property owners in Southold why we agreed to spend 5 million up front and millions more down the road to protect 43 private properties,” Town Supervisor Scott Russell said Monday.
Residents in the area had floated the idea of forming a separate taxing district to fund the project, but it’s unclear if those plans are moving ahead.
Mr. Russell said that in addition to that initial contribution, the town would be expected to sign onto a management agreement to maintain the beach and replenish sand as needed. “That would be a costly, long-term obligation that we are not willing to take on,” he said.
In addition to the Hashamomuck Cove project, the bill directs the Secretary of the Army to expedite completion of feasibility studies for improving navigation in Goldsmith Inlet in Southold, Reel Point Preserve on Shelter Island and Lake Montauk Harbor in Montauk.
A fourth feasibility study for Wading River Creek will focus on hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, flood risk management, navigation and ecosystem restoration in the area, located next to the decommissioned power plant in Shoreham.
A provision in the bill also allows each project to move directly to pre-construction planning, if justified once studies are completed.