by Chris Spies
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, were three breaches of Long Island's South Shore barrier beach islands. The potential benefits and concern with leaving the breaches open have been discussed numerous times here on Noreast.com
. Most contentiously, has been the discussion about the breach at Old Inlet, within the federal parkland of the Fire Island National Seashore (FINS).
The NYS Breach Contingency Plan was developed after the last breach of the barrier islands occurred in 1992, forming Pikes Inlet across West Hampton Beach, into Moriches Bay. The slow response in that case, caused extensive additional damages, and created a call for a framework for a better response plan. After Sandy, the two breaches that formed in the County Park Land were quickly filled in under this framework. The breach at Old Inlet, on federal parkland, was not subject to this frameworks requirements.
Old Inlet got it's name, because at one time, there was an inlet there. It was filled in, in the early thirties after a shipwreck caused shoaling and finally a storm closed it up. Many people feel having an inlet here, located in the "back end" of the Great South Bay, across from Bellport, would provide a healthy flushing action to the bay, and potentially help restore it environmentally. Others have concerns that the additional flow will cause flooding, and increase salinity which may negatively impact the environment in this area.
I am personally of the opinion that an inlet in this location would be beneficial to the bay. So is the Nature Conservancy who owns more than 13,000 acres of bay bottom that they have been working hard to try and restore. I have made many of the same arguments for allowing the breach that the Nature Conservancy has. The Nature Conservancy recently submitted an excellent letter to FINS with scientific documentation to back their claims. So since they said it much better, and with the facts to back it up, than I ever could, I wanted to publish their letter here for everyone to see and consider. It is posted below.
Please take a minute to review the letter from the Nature Conservancy and then please let your elected officials know how you feel.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Contact
Senator Charles Schumer Contact
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