Keep The Old Inlet Open!

Newsday has been actively misreporting on the issue of the breach at the Old Inlet.    They have been playing right into the hands of the political fearmongers and the government contractors who would abuse a public good — The Great South Bay — for their own narrow benefit.

 

The chief concern when it comes to the breach at The Old Inlet is this:  The perception that it is the cause of the higher times and storm surges we’ve been seeing in the bay.   People, it is flooding everywhere, not just on the south shore of Long Island — In Port Jeff, in NJ, in MA, in NC — everywhere along the Eastern Seaboard.    Here’s a graph of tides in three different states — NY (Bellport, directly across from the breach at The Old Inlet, and the potential epicenter for any flooding it might cause), MA, and NJ.
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Note that there is no variation to speak of.   They run in parallel.   This is not the work of  one puny inlet a tiny fraction of the size of Fire Island Inlet.     This is climate change.    This is what it has done to our coasts and weather in such a seemingly short time already.  This is where we in fact need to focus as a nation if we all don’t want to be underwater.

 

The real motivation re: the question of whether to close the breach is money. $3.2 billion dollars of Sandy Relief funds went to The Army Corps of Engineers no strings attached to dole out however they see fit. Aram Terchunian, who is represented in The Newsday and News12 reporting as a ‘Coastal Geologist’ is actually the owner and CEO First Coastal, a company currently bidding on many millions of dollars of contracts to push sand around post Sandy. http://www.firstcoastal.com/contact.asp. Why didn’t the reporter Emily Dooley at least Google the person she was talking to? Save The Great South Bay stgsborg.wpengine.com pointed out to Newsday via at least several emails from different people Mr. Terchunian’s obvious bias in the matter, but now the story runs with no byline.    I think we can infer Newsday’s biases here, as they are a reliable supporter Schumer. Senator Schumer and the Army Corps of Engineers are determined to close this breach and will use whatever tactics they can to do so, fear, threats, planting articles at friendly publications. Even Newsday had to report that thus far the breach at The Old Inlet has not increased tides or floods in The Great South Bay while also helping to clean a part of the bay in desperate need of it.

The decision whether to close the breach rests, despite all, with The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (The DEC). It is they who would have to request the Army Corps of Engineers to close it. The corps has been its usual heavy handed self here. But the DEC must look to the recently released NYS2100 plan http://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/NYS2100.pdf, which Governor Cuomo commissioned, and which was released in mid January of this year. It is a model for how we can employ nature as our best defense against future storms whether from marshes, oyster beds, and yes, proper breach / barrier beach management. Should the DEC despite this landmark report request a breach closure due to political pressure, we can well consider the NYS2100 Commission report a dead letter.

The Great South Bay has already been decimated by decades of mismanagement and greed. It’s been overclammed, overfished, polluted by the hundreds of thousands of septic tanks in Suffolk, choked with brown and red tides, triggered by our love for lawn fertilizers that are toxic to the water, we’ve bulldozed and filled in marshes and shorelines. The ponds, streams, and rivers feeding the bay are increasingly polluted. Hurricane Sandy comes along and reopens a breach closed for 175 years. Clean, oxygenated water begins to flush the bay.

Marine biologists unanimously see this as a gift to the bay — a chance to restart, to possibly restore fishing and shellfishing, and perhaps the bay itself. In the meantime, there’s a big pot of federal money to be divvied up. Those living along The Great South Bay and on Long Island can only hope that science will prevail over politics and NYS decides to leave the breach open — UNLESS it does indeed start to pose a threat by expanding to the point where it would in fact endanger nearby towns. Right now the there’s no evidence to support that, and looking ahead, we anticipate the Old Inlet to shoal up during the summer months in any case.

To rebuild the bay, we need to go where the science takes us. If you want to restore ecosystems, speak to the experts.

  • This has been a politicians will from day 1, without one shred of scientific evidence. The only rational or reasonable explanation for that is someone close to him will benefit and in turn benefit himself with taxpayer money. Newsay is even photoshopping pictures of the inlet during its worst moments to exaggerate, what is, in their view a horrible dangerous flood causing inlet. This situation is making me sick. Logic dictates that the level of the water is.. In essence the level of the water. The level of the ocean will always meet the level of the bay.. And as long as it takes for that water in the bay to reach and meet the level of the ocean..it will take just as long as it takes to recede ones a surge is over. The weather pattern is clearly what is to blame here. The anomalous melting of Greenland ice has shifted the weather pattern causing storms to move slow, stall and even retrograde (E G SS Sandy). If the media had a shred of decency or truth in its bones it would report the facts instead of regurgitation everything that comes out of Shummers crooked mouth.

    • Len, a lot happened during Sandy and after. The storm was nothing that they’ve ever seen and likely a sign of things to come, exactly what the scientists warned us about — more frequent, larger, more violent storms, hurricane season extended into November, rising sea levels. As to who is doing the lying, my first inclination is to look at politicians and the few businesses that would profit from filling in the breach. Scientists are about the only people I will trust on all this, since they are only interested in measurable facts. Making Long Island sustainable, protecting it against the weather extremes being unleashed by global warming, is among the top goals of New York State and its NYS2100 Commission and report. Only a healthy bay with wetlands, eel grass, shellfish beds — and some bulkheading — can protect us against what lies ahead. Whatever money that would go into some contractor’s pocket to push the sand around would be much better spent shoring up your community.

  • lisa ludwig

    I beg to differ on the assumption that the breach has not caused greater flooding on the south shore… I have lived on the water for twenty years and am very well versed in how the storms affect the tides and the moon and every other natural incident. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that since Sandy the flooding is horrendous and the bays are so much higher than i have ever seen before. There is no doubt that it is being affected by the breach as there is NO other possible reason for the water being so much higher. Yes, after a nor-easter there is always a little flooding.. but not like this. I had a neighbor call me the other night during the flooding hysterical…. she has lived there for twenty five years… it is scary and so very much worse than ever before. It is wonderful that the bays are being cleaned but at what expense to the communities that live along the waterfront? I enjoy and respect our Great South Bay but I bought a house NEAR it, not IN it. Something has to be done to fix it. I invite anyone that disagrees with this to come to my community and see for yourself. UNless you are living with it and in it… you have no idea.

  • pam

    ok, please feel free to come visit my house anytime there is a high tide accompanied by wind and/or any type of precipitation and then you can make whatever kind of chart you like and it wont really matter. I could not have extended this offer prior to Sandy because we did not flood like this prior to Sandy. This was not a gradual build up. This is a phenomenon that has occurred as a direct result of Sandy. Oh… Dont forget your waders!!! And use the potty before you come.. because I cannot guarantee anything in my home will be functioning properly. Thanks! See ya Soon!

  • Ronald P Brown

    Keep it open

  • Ed Harrison

    I’ve lived on Long Island most of my life and have fished and boated the waters of both shores and have found that Nature will heal itself when given a chance which it looks like it’s doing. If left up to Big Business and Politics who put greed and corruption ahead of the enviroment will only harm our world and leave it sick and dying. So we need to stop this from happening and we the people can do this, but we need to speak out now before it’s too late.

    • Yes, we need to protect the Babylon area particularly. But an inlet 20 miles away across the bay 1/50th the size of The Fire Island Inlet is not your problem. How can you be for dredging that inlet out, one right across from you, having The Army Corps of Engineers remove 3 million cubic feet of sand, and not be at all worried this would impact water levels in Babylon? I think personally this will help to flush and clean the bay around Babylon as well, so there’s an ecological side benefit here too.

  • George

    Hey Marshall – can you provide the source(s) for the graph (or for the data used to make it). Thanks.

  • I beg to differ on the assumption that the breach has not caused greater flooding on the south shore… I have lived on the water for twenty years and am very well versed in how the storms affect the tides and the moon and every other natural incident. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that since Sandy the flooding is horrendous and the bays are so much higher than i have ever seen before. There is no doubt that it is being affected by the breach as there is NO other possible reason for the water being so much higher. Yes, after a nor-easter there is always a little flooding.. but not like this. I had a neighbor call me the other night during the flooding hysterical…. she has lived there for twenty five years… it is scary and so very much worse than ever before. It is wonderful that the bays are being cleaned but at what expense to the communities that live along the waterfront? I enjoy and respect our Great South Bay but I bought a house NEAR it, not IN it. Something has to be done to fix it. I invite anyone that disagrees with this to come to my community and see for yourself. UNless you are living with it and in it… you have no idea.

    • Lisa, no one is disputing that we haven’t seen more flooding. The weather, water levels, have changed. Sandy was nothing they’d ever seen — a late Oct hurricane hundreds of miles across coming up the coast then cutting left, followed by a series of punishing nor’easters, with high tides and flooding up and down the eastern seaboard. This is exactly the scenario that climatologists have been warning us about — higher temperatures lead to larger, more frequent storms and higher waters. Last year was the highest on record. Patching up one inlet that so far has yet to contribute measurably at all to flooding — it is being monitored 24X7X365 — is not the solution. We need to restore the bay, bring back the marshes and shellfish, and use the money we’d otherwise waste having wealthy contractors push sand around and use it to shore up our bulkheads and move homes to higher ground.

    • John Hall

      I’ve been following this issue since the day after the hurricane, and have yet to see one single shred of evidence that any flooding that’s occurring is happening because of this Inlet. If I see that evidence, for me at least, and a lot of others, it’s game over. I wish it was all that simple and we could just undo the damage done by one storm surge and fix what’s broken. It isn’t.

    • Believe me Tom we are trying. This is a very important question, a big one. The flooding is up and down the Eastern Seaboard. It appears it might have to do with a weakening of the Gulf Stream, caused, as scientists predicted, by a rapid melting of arctic ice and the consequent flow of cold water south to meet the Gulf Stream. It’s bad. Closing the breach is irrelevant to the problem.