SURFRIDER FIGHTS TO STOP GEOTEXTILE SEAWALL FROM RUINING MONTAUK BEACH

November 17 2015

SAN CLEMENTE, CA, NOVEMBER 17, 2015 – The Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, along with its Eastern Long Island Chapter and local Montauk residents calls for a halt of the Army Corps of Engineer’s beach armoring project currently under way along the beach in Montauk, NY.

Since Friday, November 6, when the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the geotextile seawall, there has been a massive public outcry from packed public hearings to protests to civil disobedience with several arrests, and paddle outs in opposition. It continues daily. The Army Corps of Engineers’ geotextile seawall and artificial dune project has received much opposition since it was proposed in April 2014.

Dr. Rob Young, one of the nation's leading coastal geologists and an expert on the impacts for projects like this, stated: “It is my opinion that the project design is flawed. The geotextile wall will be exposed well before the projected lifespan is reached. The project will likely result in significant degradation of the public beach, while providing little protection for property.”

The Corps did not adequately explore alternative solutions for protecting the beach and community of Montauk.  Much of erosion stems from dunes being destroyed and coastal development built in its place. Healthy coastal dunes can protect the coast and provide a buffer to erosion. A perfect example exists to the west of the project where healthy coastal dunes exist and provide natural protection from coastal erosion.

“We are calling on East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell to pause project, and bring together all of the relevant agencies to consider alternative designs.  The Surfrider Foundation and the community are looking to protect the beautiful pubic beach and the coastal community that relies on the beach for recreation and their livelihood,” said Thomas Muse, Environmental Coordinator for the Surfrider Eastern Long Island Chapter.

It is clear that there are alternative solutions to protecting the beach and downtown Montauk. For the short-term, a sand only project and berm reconfiguration without a geotextile bag core would provide temporary protection without the impacts of the seawall.  And in the longer term, a well-designed and constructed bill fill (“nourishment”) project can provide temporary protection but is costly and will likely impact the near-shore habitats, beach going and surfing. A true long-term solution is to relocate the structures along the beach landward, if possible, or remove them and restore the primary dune.

To read more about this ill-conceived project as well as Dr. Young’s full environmental assessment, please go to the Surfrider Foundation’s Coastal Blog.

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About Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. Learn more at surfrider.org.