Two years have passed since Hurricane Sandy battered the East Chop bluff but calls for federal disaster aid have gone unanswered.

Good news did come this week from the state, which has awarded Oak Bluffs $225,000 to fund design work to protect the eroding bluff.

The grant from the department of conservation and recreation will allow the town to perform engineering for the stabilization project at East Chop bluff, which underlies the scenic but endangered East Chop Drive.

“This is a huge step forward,” said conservation agent Elizabeth Durkee in a telephone call with the Gazette Wednesday. “The bluff is deteriorating in storm after storm and we really need to get this engineering work done so we can look for the major funding to actually do the repair work.”

The repair work will involve rehabilitation of the existing stone revetment. Engineers also plan to raise the revetment higher to address sea level and storm surge issues, and introduce plants on the bluff face above the revetment so that their roots will help to stabilize the bluff, Mrs. Durkee said.

The current estimate for the work is $10.7 to $12.6 million.

Conceptual design work is already complete, but this next phase of engineering will firm up those plans, town administrator Robert L. Whritenour told selectmen on Tuesday.

“What we need to do at this point is put together a firm design for the types of improvements to the revetment that would be shovel ready when funding comes along,” he said.

The town had hopes that funding would come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but after a drawn-out application process and petition for funds, no commitment has been made.

Where FEMA appears to be backing away from the project, the state has stepped up to propel it forward, Mr. Whritenour said. “They recognize that this is a serious issue for the community, that it’s a valuable project,” he said.

Mrs. Durkee said the town will continue to seek federal funds, but will now begin to look for other funding sources. Even if the FEMA funding is not awarded, it will not cover the entire scope of the project, she said.

Meanwhile, the bluff continues to slump in the wake of several recent storms.

“I was down there with Carlos Pena from CLE Engineering yesterday, and his comment was that it continues to deteriorate,” Mrs. Durkee said.

Her office applied for the grant earlier this year and received notice on Tuesday that the funds would be awarded.

“It’s so exciting to get this funding because we can keep moving forward,” she said. “I think the East Chop Bluff stabilization project is the most critical coastal project in town right now.”