The New York State Department of State today announced the groundbreaking for the $3 million Shorefront Park Living Shoreline project in the Village of Patchogue. As part of this flood resiliency project, the Village will replace a deteriorating 1,300-foot bulkhead along the Great South Bay with an innovative living shoreline that uses natural features to improve water quality, restore habitats and increase resiliency against flooding and erosion from storms and sea-level rise. The project will also improve public access to Shorefront Park with a new walking trail, replace pedestrian bridges and improve amenities in the park. Renderings of the project are available here and here.
“Improving the resiliency of Long Island’s coastline is critical to the safety and vibrancy of South Shore communities like the Village of Patchogue,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “This innovative project in Shorefront Park is one of the largest living shoreline projects in the State and will serve as a model for other communities seeking natural solutions to enhance their climate resiliency. We thank our State and local partners for their support in this collaborative effort.”
The Patchogue Shorefront Park will remove a deteriorated bulkhead and replace it with an innovative living shoreline that will include a rock sill, new marsh habitat, stormwater improvements and the restoration of Little Creek and its tidal connection to Great South Bay. Living shorelines use natural and nature-based features to reduce the impacts of erosion and flooding to coastal communities and are more adaptable to rising sea levels. Several Long Island communities have embraced living shorelines and other natural and nature-based resiliency projects during and after Superstorm Sandy’s recovery efforts. Not only will this project help reduce risk from flooding and erosion, it will also create a new walking trail to expand public access to Shorefront Park, replace pedestrian bridges, improve amenities and implement stormwater management practices.
This project supports climate resiliency goals outlined in the 2022 South Shore Estuary Reserve Comprehensive Management Plan, which was announced by Governor Hochul in September 2022. The Plan includes a new chapter on climate resiliency to help manage, protect and restore the South Shore's valuable resources and the estuary economy. The South Shore Estuary Reserve Council, chaired by Secretary of State Rodriguez, is currently developing an Action Plan to implement the new Comprehensive Management Plan to mark the 30th anniversary of the law that created the Program and the Council.
The DOS Local Waterfront Revitalization Program provided approximately $2.4 million in funding to the Village of Patchogue for this project, with supportive contributions of $315,000 from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, $45,000 from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and $275,000 from Suffolk County. Looking forward, the State’s “Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs” Environmental Bond Act includes funding for local waterfront revitalization, coastal rehabilitation, shoreline restoration and green infrastructure projects, among others.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Through Governor Kathy Hochul’s leadership, New York is prioritizing restoration of marine ecosystems and the critical habitats they support, which benefits our economically important marine species while also protecting shoreline communities from the impact of climate change. DEC is proud to work with our partners at the state and local level to advance coastal restoration projects and are especially appreciative of the village of Patchogue officials and residents who saw the need to protect this great island-wide resource.”
New York State Office of Parks, Recreations and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “New York State Parks is pleased to support the Department of State and the Village of Patchogue in this project to rehabilitate Shoreline Park’s waterfront. Through the assistance of the Environmental Protection Fund, New York State is helping to enhance parks and outdoor recreation, while improving the resiliency and sustainability of these public spaces.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “Suffolk County is proud to have worked cooperatively with Mayor Pontieri, our partners in State government and the community to make this important project possible. As a result of this successful collaboration, the Village of Patchogue and Suffolk County will be the home of the largest example of a living shoreline ever completed in New York State. This historic project will defend the shoreline against flooding and erosion, increase climate resiliency, and ensure that this beautiful park remains an important community amenity for future generations."
Patchogue Mayor Paul V. Pontieri said, “Through the generosity of a private donor and the foresight of New York State this living shoreline will change the entire dynamic of Shorefront Park. In light of climate change, the goal of this project is to protect the community and increase resiliency while improving water quality. These parks were built 50, 60 years ago and this will take us into the next 50 years.”
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “Living shorelines use nature-based solutions to prevent flooding, stop erosion, and bring water quality benefits by filtering stormwater runoff. Replacing the old bulkheads at Shore Park in Patchogue is an ideal location to implement this effective technique. As a resident of Patchogue, I can tell you that Shore Park is the gem of Patchogue. The public uses the playgrounds, walking path, benches, ballfields and attends functions at the band shell. The dock space is abundantly used for fishing and crabbing. Improving water quality in this location will have environmental and societal benefits. We congratulate the NY Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez and the Village of Patchogue for their work and vision to improve water quality and protect our shoreline.”
DOS Local Waterfront Revitalization Project
Funding for the Village of Patchogue project was provided by the DOS Local Waterfront Revitalization Project (LWRP) through Title 11 of the NYS Environmental Protection Fund, which was increased by Governor Hochul last year from $300 million to $400 million. LWRP provides matching grants on a competitive basis to eligible villages, towns, cities and counties located along New York’s coasts or designated inland waterways for planning, design and construction projects to revitalize communities and waterfronts. The DOS Office of Planning, Development and Community Infrastructure works in partnership with waterfront communities across the State through the LWRP focusing on protecting natural and cultural resources, expanding public access opportunities and strengthening the local economy. This program helps communities breathe new life into their underused waterfront assets in ways that ensure successful and sustainable revitalization. To learn more about the LWRP, visit the DOS website.