Stabilized Shorelines: Bulkhead Update in Long Island

Current General Permits for Bulkheads

Regulatory Changes to Bulkhead ReplacementBulkheads are essential components of infrastructure in coastal communities to control beach erosion and to protect the local area from tidal action caused by storm surges. Nassau County and Suffolk County saw widespread, devastating effects from Superstorm Sandy; as a result, this prompted the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to issue the 2014 General Permit for bulkhead repair (GP-1-13-001). The 2014 General Permit covers regions on the south shore of Long Island west of the Robert Moses Causeway to the border with Queens County. The 2014 General Permit provides an expedited route for: 1) removal and replacement of existing, functional bulkheads with allowances for an 18-inch increase in elevation and 2) maintenance dredging adjacent to the bulkhead which is being removed and replaced. It is important to note that if a non-functional bulkhead is to be replaced, a separate, individual permit must be obtained prior to construction activities.

The 2014 General Permit expires on March 11, 2019; by this date, all projects that are allowed under this Permit must be completed. Any construction work continuing after this date must be specifically approved by the NYSDEC.

Proposed Changes to the Bulkhead General Permit

The NYSDEC has prepared a Draft 2018 General Permit which shall supersede the previous document. The goal of this updated General Permit is to continue to reduce lag caused by individual permitting processes. The major differences in the Draft 2018 General Permit compared to the 2014 Permit are the following proposed conditions:Proposed Shoreline Construction Permit

  • Bulkheads are no longer required to be replaced “in-place”. If beneficial, the newly constructed bulkhead may be located landward of the existing bulkhead.
  • Alternately, bulkheads may be re-sheathed with timber boards.
  • There is no longer a geographical restriction that work can only be performed on a specific portion of Long Island’s south shore, as described above. Work may be performed at any location within Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The public comment period for the Draft 2018 General Permit has recently ended on August 2, 2018. However, Walden will remain posted on its current status and provide updates as things move forward.

Walden Environmental Engineering

To learn more about how the proposed Draft 2018 General Permit or the existing 2014 General Permit can help with your next bulkhead replacement or improvement project, please give Walden a call at (516) 624-7200 and check out our other engineering services.