Pheffer Amato, Community Leaders: Sand, Groins Needed Now

“Otherwise, disaster looms”
June 5, 2017

This Monday, June 5th, during the first week of hurricane season, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach) made an urgent call on the Governor, the Mayor and the Army Corps of Engineers to do a full emergency restoration of the Rockaway Peninsula beach, including sand replenishment and the proper installation of groins (perpendicular structures running from the coast out into the water) to keep the sand from washing away. She noted that some beaches are badly eroded, especially between Beach 90th and Beach 95th streets and between Beach 126st and Beach 149th streets. The lack of sand leaves entire blocks vulnerable to a major storm.

“The question isn’t whether we’re getting another storm like Sandy, but when,” said Pheffer Amato, a lifelong Rockaway resident and longtime champion of storm resiliency. “The NOAA [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] expects this year to be, and I quote, the most intense hurricane season in years – and it started this week. With thousands of homes exposed, we need our beaches intact or we run the risk of mass devastation with every passing day. We appreciate the first steps the Governor, Mayor and Army Corps have taken – but it’s time to make this happen.

“This is what we need,” Pheffer Amato concluded: “sand for our beaches and groins to hold the sand close to the shore. Long Beach is getting their resiliency project. So is Staten Island. We’re here to tell our state and national leaders: if we don’t install groins and deliver sand, this hurricane season could mean disaster. And we’ve just now gotten cleaned up from last time, five years later. To the Governor, the Army Corps, the Mayor, and our elected representatives in Washington: we need these basic safeguards today.”

“Our major concern remains protection for the homeowners of our community and throughout the peninsula,” said Hank Iori, President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners’ Association. “All up and down the peninsula, you see weak links that would create major damage in a large storm. Berms, rock jetties, sand replenishment, bulkheads, reefs and sea walls need to be installed, and in some cases enhanced, to protect the entire Rockaway Peninsula community. New York City needs to convene officials at all levels to make sure this effort is fully funded and happens right away.”

"Out of the whole area impacted by Sandy and whatever storms we get in the future, we're the last one to get sand AND groins," said John Cori, community leader and chair of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association. "Without groins to hold the sand in, the sand does nothing. Long Island is getting theirs, along with Staten Island, the Jersey Shore, and Coney Island. It's just the Rockaway Peninsula left exposed. It's time we got the most basic safety measures for the storms we know are coming."