The Army Corps’ flood inundation map for downtown Montauk.
The Army Corps’ flood inundation map for downtown Montauk.

Last week, when the Army Corps of Engineers pitched a $6 million plant to shore up the Atlantic Ocean beach in front of downtown Montauk, they had one big problem. They had no local partner for the project, and they needed a commitment to become the sponsor from either Suffolk County or East Hampton Town by April 30.

Today, the county has agreed to be that partner, said Suffolk County Department of Public Works Commissioner Gil Anderson in a letter today to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is overseeing the local side of the project.

The Army Corps is asking its local partner to agree to maintain the project and indemnify the Army Corps against lawsuits until a larger beach renourishment plan is completed as part of the Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study, which they expect to begin next year.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said in a statement Thursday afternoon that he was happy the county stepped up to the plate.

“I am pleased the County has agreed to be the local sponsor for the downtown Montauk stabilization project,” Mr. Cantwell said. “I am looking forward to working with them on a more detailed agreement that spells out more clearly the County’s financial responsibility.”

Mr. Cantwell had sent a letter to County Executive Steve Bellone April 16 asking why the county had not agreed to sponsor the Montauk project, even though the county is the Army Corps’ local sponsor for the larger FIMP project.

“I believe it is only fair for Suffolk County to show the same commitment to Montauk and the Town of East Hampton as you have committed to Fire Island, as Montauk’s economy generates substantial sales tax revenue to the county,” he wrote in the letter.

The short-term project involves placing geotextile bags of sand along a 3,100-foot section of beach in front of downtown Montauk, creating a dune to protect downtown from storm waves. The project would use 45,000 cubic yards of sand. Army Corps representatives said at the April 23 meeting that work could begin as soon as early 2015.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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