Councilwoman King Sweeney Proposes Dredging of Sea Dog Creek to Improve Navigation in Local Waterways and Restore Marshland; Calls on NYSDEC to Issue Permit to Hempstead Town

Five years have passed since Superstorm Sandy slammed the Town of Hempstead, but Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney is still working to rehabilitate local waterways in her district that were affected by the storm. Today at the West Marina in Point Lookout, Councilwoman King Sweeney was joined by Supervisor Laura Gillen and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito as they announced that the town is seeking state approval for plans to dredge Sea Dog Creek to unclog access points to the south bay area, which have become treacherous waters for local boating enthusiasts.

“Residents certainly remember the devastation to homes, businesses, parks, roads and other property throughout the Town of Hempstead as a result of Superstorm Sandy,” stated King Sweeney. “However, Sandy also did a great deal of damage to local waterways, as eroded shoreline was washed into canals, channels and other marine access routes.”

When Superstorm Sandy’s floodwaters swept through Point Lookout, a shoal was created just north of the Loop Parkway drawbridge, where the eastern end of Sea Dog Creek connects with Long Creek. Since that time, the waterway has become even more clogged, and many boaters have reported that it has become dangerous to navigate.

“Hempstead Town has been aggressively working to address all issues associated with the ravaging effects of Sandy and I am proud to join Councilwoman King Sweeney and the Town Board in the efforts to ensure that our waterways are safe for navigation and our precious marshes are rebuilt,” said Supervisor Gillen. “These efforts will undoubtedly help mitigate threats of flooding for tens of thousands of residents here in the Town of Hempstead.”

As the area is under the jurisdiction of the state, the town is seeking a permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Councilwoman King Sweeney met with the Deputy Commissioner of the NYSDEC in Albany last week and urged that the DEC do everything in its power to expedite issuance of the permit, as many boaters utilize the waterway after launching from the town’s nearby East and West Marinas. Town officials noted that the waterway is safe so long as boaters follow town navigation buoys.

“Being from and representing waterfront communities, I know firsthand how severely our waterways and marshes were impacted by Sandy,” said Councilman D’Esposito. “This project is imperative for the safety of boaters and homeowners alike.”

Dredged sand would be placed on the beach just south of Sea Dog Creek, west of the Loop Parkway drawbridge. The marshlands in this area are ½ the size they were less than 100 years ago. Marshland is being lost within Hempstead’s bays at approximately 22 acres a year.

“Dredging the creek and placing using the material to restore our marsh islands will be a win-win,” said King Sweeney. “Our boaters can navigate more freely and a restored marsh will help protect against coastal flooding as well as protecting a valuable wildlife habitat.”

In addition to the proposed dredging plans, the Town Board has also overseen the town’s authorization of the U.S. Army Corps’ Long Beach Island Storm Reduction Act, which helped rebuild town shorelines and protect low-lying communities against future storm surge. Additionally, the town is in the process of refurbishing bulkheads at the East and West Marinas.

“I am proud of the ability of our Conservation and Waterways Department to complete this necessary project and I encourage the NYSDEC to expedite the permits to allow us to get to work,” noted Gillen.

“The dredging of Sea Dog Creek just north of the Loop Parkway drawbridge is an important project to help protect our marshes and keep our waterways navigable,” concluded Councilwoman King Sweeney. The Town of Hempstead is committed to beginning this project as soon as possible.”