With the current depths of Fire Island Inlet "dangerously low," New York's two senators called Wednesday for an emergency dredging project.
Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, said $30 million in funding has been identified for the project, but the funding must first be approved and allocated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE).
The ACOE last dredged the inlet in 2008 and the next dredging project is not scheduled until 2014, which is way too long to wait, Schumer said.
“We need to dredge this Fire Island Inlet ASAP," he said in a press release. "With water depths as shallow as one foot, it is downright dangerous for federal agencies to not step in and help solve this problem."
Last month, the U.S. Coast Guard advised boaters who use the inlet to seek alternate routes as the depth of the inlet has fallen to under a foot at low tide.
The senators said Wednesday that $23 million worth of "long overdue FEMA replenishment projects for Fire Island and Robert Moses beaches" combined with federal Army Corps "operations and maintenance funding" from a new federal appropriations bill, would jump-start the dredging project.
“We must immediately pool federal and local resources to fix this urgent problem before the situation worsens," Gillibrand said.
The sand from the dredging of the inlet could be used to replenish Robert Moses, where "the beach erosion is in such bad shape that during high tide a large portion of the beach is submerged and visitors have little room to lay by the water," the senators said.