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Asharoken to receive 600,000 cubic yards of sand replenishment

Mayor Greg Letica said the village is expecting to receive an additional 45,000 cubic yards of material on the Sound side by Dec. 31, in accordance with an agreement with National Grid. File photo
March 21, 2013 | 10:18 AM
Asharoken Village will receive roughly 600,000 cubic yards of sand replenishment, as a result of a Sandy funding bill approved by Congress in January and signed by President Barack Obama Feb. 1.

The Hurricane Sandy supplemental funding bill included $2 million for the completion of an Army Corps of Engineers feasibility study looking at the most cost-effective manner of preventing beach erosion not only in Asharoken but also on the entire North Shore of Long Island. That study began in 2001.

The bill also included $30 million for a full-scale sand and dune restoration project by the Army Corps, as well as 600,000 cubic yards of sand to be dumped on Asharoken's Sound-side beaches.

The village is expecting to receive an additional 45,000 cubic yards of material on the Sound side by Dec. 31, in accordance with an agreement with National Grid, according to Mayor Greg Letica. The village's beaches face an estimated loss of about 15,000 cubic yards per year, according to the Army Corps.

For years Asharoken maintained that the Northport Power Plant, originally built by LILCO and now owned by National Grid, has interrupted the natural flow of sand to Asharoken located just west of the plant.

The original operating permit issued by the Army Corps to LILCO required the utility to dredge the channel regularly and discharge the inlet of accumulated sand and deposit it on Asharoken Beach. The dredging in the past was intermittent at best, and failed to provide sufficient sand to replenish the beach, which had grown larger before the construction of the plant, according to village records. Upon her 2008 election, Mayor Pat Irving made enforcement of this permit a top priority, and she got elected officials such as Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) to assist her with her mission.

The existing permit between National Grid and the Army Corps requires National Grid to place approximately 45,000 cubic yards of sand on Asharoken Beach every three years, Letica said. "The last deposit of sand took place in the fall of 2010. The [Army Corps] just advised me that the next three-year cycle for nourishment of Asharoken beach is due by 31 December 2013 and should include placement of 45,000 cubic yards of sand."

The village is also seeking funds from the Federal Highway Administration to have an additional 5,000 cubic yards of sand added to increase the size of the dune area protecting Asharoken Avenue.

"The FHWA recently informed the village that it will pay for the entire sand placement and 80 percent of planting the dune," Letica said. "The net cost to the village is approximately $3,500 out of an estimated $170,000 gross cost. Although the full reconstruction is still several years away the smaller additions should help protect homes and the road until then."

When Asharoken Avenue becomes impassable, thousands of residents in the village as well as on Eaton's Neck are stranded.

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