Governor Hochul and State Officials Assess Beach Damage and Take Action to Repair Shoreline Damage.

In the wake of significant storm damage and erosion from recurring coastal storms, Governor Kathy Hochul today announced key resiliency investments to stabilize communities from shoreline erosion and severe weather driven by climate change and continued to press the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to undertake more comprehensive repairs to its damaged coastal projects. New State funding to the town of Babylon from the historic $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, a new partnership with Suffolk County to replenish sand and help stabilize the Fire Island shoreline, and critical improvements to protect public access to Gilgo State Park will improve the ability of these assets in the face of extreme weather, sea level rise, and other ongoing climate change challenges affecting the region. Governor Hochul made this announcement following a tour of Overlook Beach in the Town of Babylon, joined by Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine, Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, and Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey.

“Long Island communities are all too familiar with the destruction caused by extreme weather,” Governor Hochul said. “In addition to New York’s actions to combat climate change, we are taking action to ensure our communities, homes and infrastructure are resilient and will withstand the coastal storms happening now. I’m committed to continuing our close partnership with the Army Corps and local officials to protect Long Island.” 

The projects announced today will help repair shoreline damage, protect communities and important recreation assets from severe weather events, and create jobs that boost local economies. New York State is providing $2 million to the town of Babylon through the Environmental Bond Act to protect existing park infrastructure at the town’s Overlook Beach in Cedar Beach. The beach pavilion and playground are currently in danger of being washed out to sea. The funding will help support the elevation of the pavilion and prevent the playground and other recreational assets from being damaged by future storms and beach erosion. 

New York State is also partnering with Suffolk County and providing $3 million to support additional beach replenishment to more immediately protect eastern Long Island communities such as Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove. While repairs by the Army Corps to the western portion of Fire Island are now well underway to address erosion damage that first started in 2019, there remains high risk that another significant storm will cause additional catastrophic damage in many Suffolk County coastal communities. For example, in portions of the Pines community, the protective dune is completely gone, and homes are subject to direct wave damage. 

In addition to the work scheduled to help Fire Island communities, Governor Hochul, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and local partners continue to urge the Army Corps to issue the required authorization to repair damage to eastern Long Island. Earlier this month, Governor Hochul called for the Army Corps’ expedited approval of the State’s emergency rehabilitation assistance request to help ensure repairs begin immediately to restore coastal resiliency projects that protect public safety and mitigate the severity of future damage. New York has requested expedited repairs by the Army Corps to four coastal projects: the Fire Island Inlet to Moriches Inlet; West of Shinnecock Inlet; Fire Island Inlet to Shores Westerly; and Downtown Montauk. Today, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and other State and local officials met with community leaders and toured the damage and restoration projects underway. 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Seggos said, “Improving coastal resilience in the face of climate change requires all hands on deck, and DEC is proud to work with Governor Hochul, Suffolk County, the Army Corps, and the many local partners supporting necessary post-storm recovery and restoration and helping prevent future damage. DEC’s coastal and water quality experts will continue to work directly with communities across Long Island to advance critical projects following these devastating storms, and the allocation of millions of dollars today is just another example of Governor Hochul’s commitment to helping protect Long Island’s coastal communities.” 

Adjacent to Overlook Beach, the Governor also announced today that the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will begin the removal of surface debris from a former Coast Guard Station within Gilgo State Park. The debris was exposed by erosion following three strong storms earlier this winter. The cleanup will help make the beachfront safer for recreation. Following the debris removal, State Parks will place approximately 50,000 cubic yards of sand at the park entrance and other access points to be ready to accommodate park visitors by April 1, if conditions allow. Additionally, this work will help facilitate a planned project by the Army Corps to dredge Fire Island Inlet and place approximately one million cubic yards of sand along greater Gilgo State Park. 

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “I applaud the leadership by Governor Hochul to aid our coastal communities following these fierce storms. It’s wonderful to see all levels of government quickly coming together to help make vulnerable communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change.” 

State Senator Dean Murray said, “I want to thank Governor Hochul for her immediate attention to the dangerous situation we have been facing due to the numerous storms that have hit Long Island over the last few weeks. I look forward to working with her and our federal partners and local officials as we continue to address what has become an emergency situation on Fire Island and our local shoreline communities.”

Assemblymember Jarett Gandolfo said, “I’m grateful that the Governor recognizes the importance of restabilizing shoreline communities and investing in the protection of our shores from continued rapid erosion. With continued aggressive storms, Long Island needs this kind of investment and support now more than ever. These new protections will go a long way in protecting our vulnerable coastal communities.”

Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine said, “We thank Governor Hochul for her action to protect our beaches and waterfront communities. Each year we face the dire reality that we will lose more of our shoreline, creating a public safety emergency while also affecting the billions in tourism dollars that are generated by hundreds of thousands of visitors visiting our world-famous beaches and historic villages and landmarks. Governor Hochul’s promise of aggressive action to combat this issue will no doubt assist us in preserving an entire way of life that has personified Long Island for generations.” 

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey said, “It is much more than restoring the beach. It is about protecting the Ocean Parkway and the mainland from the Atlantic Ocean. I am happy that NYS and Governor Hochul have committed resources to the stabilization of our Fire Island communities, repair of Overlook Beach, and Gilgo State Park. These steps are essential toward protecting the South Shore and our very way of life.” 

Suffolk County Legislator Dominick Thorne said, “Our county recently experienced a round of storms that caused great damage to various communities here on the main shoreline and to Fire Island communities.  I am overjoyed to see every level of government working together to repair and ensure our coastline resiliency. I would like to thank the Governor for her response to our calls for help.”

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said, “We are immensely grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul for her dedication and commitment to protecting Babylon’s beaches. The resiliency investments announced today will greatly enhance our ability to withstand the impacts of extreme weather, shoreline erosion, and climate change. These investments are crucial in stabilizing our communities and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our coastal assets. We extend our sincere appreciation to Governor Hochul for her unwavering support in safeguarding our region.”

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Daniel J. Panico said, “When it comes to storms, the barrier island is the first line of defense for the mainland, so we thank the Governor for the allocation of these resources in furtherance of replenishment. However, we must address this issue as a region and must end the seemingly endless cycle of emergency scrambling and instead embark on a regional plan, because the frequency and ferocity of these storms have exposed the fact that the current approach may be untenable.”

Brookhaven Town Councilman Neil Foley said, “As the Councilman representing Fire Island Communities in the Town of Brookhaven, I commend Governor Kathy Hochul for her proactive measures in addressing storm damage and erosion. The resiliency investments aimed at stabilizing the Fire Island shoreline are pivotal in safeguarding our communities from the impacts of climate change. These efforts support Suffolk County’s Shoreline Stabilization and Replenishment Project in Fire Island Communities.”

Governor Hochul’s Comprehensive Resiliency Plan to Protect New Yorkers

Earlier this month, Governor Hochul announced a comprehensive resiliency plan to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather as part of her 2024 State of the State and included $435 million in the Executive Budget proposal to help implement the initiatives. Highlights include: 

  • Creating the ‘Resilient & Ready’ Program to establish a flexible fund to support resiliency efforts for low- and moderate-income homeowners ahead of future storms. The program will enable State Homes and Community Renewal to assist households that experience flood damage to make necessary repairs in the aftermath of storms and will cover the cost of proactive flood mitigation improvements. 

  • Creating the Blue Buffers Voluntary Buyout Program, with $250 million including in the 2024-25 Executive Budget to encourage buyouts in communities most vulnerable to flooding. The program will prioritize outreach and education first and then begin identifying voluntary projects based on the level of flood risk, ensuring we protect our communities that are most vulnerable to high water and storm surges. 

  • Making major investments in statewide disaster response to put more boots on the ground, improve training and preparedness, and address evolving threats as they come. 

  • Update Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) Maps, which are essential to the protection of beaches, dunes, and bluffs that maintain and enhance flood resilience, so that communities and permit applicants quick quickly determine if a property is within a CEHA. 

The voter-approved $4.2-billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act is helping to support these and many other initiatives, including leveraging funding for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure. The Bond Act is advancing historic levels of funding to update aging water infrastructure and protect water quality, strengthen communities’ ability to withstand severe storms and flooding, reduce air pollution and lower climate-altering emissions, restore habitats, and preserve outdoor spaces and local farms. Disadvantaged Communities will receive at least 35 percent of the benefits of Bond Act funding, with a goal of 40 percent. For more information about the Bond Act, go to


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