Sandy salvation! Army Corps to restore eroded Plumb Beach

By the spring, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin replacing these sandbags with actual sand!

Plumb Beach is about to get boatloads of what it desperately needs — more sand.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will transport tons of sand from miles away to Plumb Beach to fortify the eroding shoreline and save the Belt Parkway from falling into the sea under a long-sought deal hammered out between the feds and the city’s Parks Department, Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) told members of the Sheepshead Bay Plumb Beach Civic Association last night.

“We’re finally going to get the Plumb Beach project done once and for all,” Fidler said.

The Corps and city will spend a combined $4.5 million to bulk up Plumb Beach — which has eroded to a narrow strip of earth — back to its 40-foot width. Sand for the project will be dredged from the Ambrose and Rockaway Inlet channels, Fidler explained.

The Corps will also bookend the new beach with stone jetties to prevent currents from eating away sections of the Belt Parkway, and restore a waterfront bike path that had been destroyed by Poseidon’s wrath.

Plumb Beach residents were quick to applaud the much-anticipated agreement.

“This is going to save the Belt Parkway,” said Cliff Bruckenstein. “It’s about time they did this.”

But others said the project should have included extra funding to dredge Sheepshead Bay, where sandbars strand boats at low tide. The sand used to rebuild Plumb Beach could have easily been taken from Sheepshead Bay, which is just a few hundred feet away, critics claim.

“It would be a much better plan if they just did the dredging in one shot,” said Richard Arneman, a member of the Bay Improvement Group.

The Corps had deposited sand on Plumb Beach in 1992, after a massive storm swept most of the coastline away. But, over the years, the currents shifted the sand to the marshes in nearby Gateway National Recreation Area.

A second devastating storm in 2009 stripped away what was left of the beach and undermined the Belt Parkway, forcing the Corps to place sand bags along the shoreline.

Engineers expected that the sandbags would protect the beach and the highway for five years while a permanent fix was found, but residents complained that the stop-gap measure wasn’t enough, prompting the Corps to draft up a long-term solution.

Fidler said the agreement between the Corps and city will be signed by the end of February. The project, he said, will start in the spring.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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