BABYLON, NY – In light of the devastating impact recent storms have had on Overlook Beach, Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer held a press conference on Friday, January 12 to emphasize the gravity of this situation of urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to include the beach in its upcoming beach erosion control dredging project. Supervisor Schaffer and Babylon Town Board members were joined at the press conference with support from Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino and the offices of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Congressman Andrew Garbarino, Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Donald Clavin.
“This is a bipartisan effort between our town, county, state and federal levels of government,” declared Supervisor Schaffer. “By working together, we will be able to get the state and federal government to assist us in finding a temporary solution to enjoy the summer of 2024, as well as a long-term solution because mother nature will continue to act.”
The sand at Overlook Beach was last replaced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a decade ago, prompting vulnerability to recent storms. The beach pavilion and playground are currently in danger of being washed out to sea as a result of the mean high tide of Overlook Beach now existing within 120 feet of the structures. In order to address the urgency of the situation, a bipartisan coalition of federal, state and local officials is collaborating to demand action be taken to mitigate the harmful erosion of Overlook Beach, as well as the rest of Long Island’s South Shore.
“Repeated storms have battered Long Island’s shore, and Babylon Town, Suffolk County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have requested federal aid,” said Senator Schumer. “I will continue pushing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve and commence emergency rehabilitation projects protecting Long Island’s South Shore as soon as possible, including those on Fire Island and on the eastern end of Jones Beach Island that protect critical infrastructure, public facilities, businesses and private homes.”
“I am profoundly concerned about the increasingly severe beach erosion and flooding caused by recent storms on Long Island's South Shore. I am working closely with our local leaders to devise a comprehensive solution that will restore our beaches and fortify our vulnerable coastlines,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Restoring this shoreline is one of my top priorities, and I will continue advocating for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to collaborate with Suffolk County and the Town of Babylon and for the swift approval of the pending emergency shoreline replenishment request.”
“Long Island's shoreline has been devastated by recent storms - endangering property and public safety. That is why I stand in solidarity with the Town of Babylon as they call for the Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize dredging Overlook Beach and why I have submitted a proposal to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to ensure that storm damage-related erosion on Long Island can be addressed in a timely manner,” said Congressman Andrew Garbarino. “The longer we leave these problems unchecked, the greater the probability that Long Island will require increased support for infrastructure resiliency projects. If we can fix this problem quickly, we can avoid having to take on even greater damage in the future.”
“The protection and preservation of our coastline demands immediate attention, and when we all work together in a bipartisan way, the residents of our communities benefit the most,” said County Executive Romaine. “I am urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to collaborate with our local efforts in implementing robust solutions to ensure the longevity and resilience of Overlook Beach. We must do all we can to combat erosion and secure the future of our coastline.”
Thousands of Town of Babylon residents enjoy Overlook Beach each year. Supervisor Schaffer’s call to action seeks to maintain Long Islanders’ ability to do so for years to come.
“Beaches are a part of Long Island’s history and culture and a key reason of why we live here,” said Legislator McCaffrey. “Those of us at the county level are committed to working with our partners in town, state and federal government to make sure that we receive the necessary resources to address this emergency.”
“All of Long Island is coming together to send a strong message to Washington, D.C.,” said Supervisor Saladino. “We know the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has expertise, but we are tired of hearing that another study and project is needed. We are losing our beaches and need the help now. Today, we unite as Republicans and Democrats, people from all walks of life. We are all Long Islanders, and this is a tremendous part of our culture and our life here. Every grain of sand also helps protect our roadways from damage.”