Local photographer, surfer and diehard Montauker James Katsipis shared a video Wednesday of the Army Corps of Engineers’ first day of work dredging Montauk’s town beaches in an attempt to protect the hamlet from destructive ocean surges, such as those during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Initially slated for completion by Memorial Day 2015, the $8.4 million dune stabilization project—which is projected to involve some 14,500 plastic sandbags containing about one ton of sand each—was protested and delayed by environmental groups Defend H20 and the Surfrider Foundation, but it has since been cleared to go ahead.
Katsipis, who filmed and posted the video below notes, “The Army Corps is dredging the beaches filling it with Eco Tubes. AND building boardwalks over all the dunes. And when the storm comes and washes away all the sand we are left with the bill to replenish the beaches. BIG BUISNESS IS RUINING OUR TOWN! HELP STOP THIS!”
The project is fully funded by the federal government, but, as the photographer points out, East Hampton Town and Suffolk County will split the cost of maintaining the buffer and keeping all buried sandbags and, it appears, concrete eco tubes covered with sand.
Town officials insist that the project is critical for the protection of Montauk public safety, its property and economy.
Katsipis and other opponents of the project are calling for the community to speak up at the East Hampton Town Board meeting tomorrow, Thursday, November 5, at 6:30 p.m. “We need all of your help to stop this blasphemous project that is destroying our natural beaches. Let East Hampton know WE DO NOT WANT THIS! Im going up there but I can’t do this on my own. I need all of your help. I hope to see all the people that are just as outraged about this as I am there tomorrow. This is our last chance and if we go up there together they might get the hint,” Katsipis says in a call to action on his Facebook page.
On Friday, October 30, Defend H2o founder Kevin McAllister wrote on Facebook, “The machines are on the beach and thousands of geo-bags lie flat on the delivery pallets. More legal papers filed today in hopes that the judge stops the madness, before yet another beach vanishes at the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers. Tick-tock, but ‘it ain’t over till it’s over.’ In judge we trust!”