The Great South Bay may getting worse in general, year by year, but not around the breach due south of Bellport. There, you will see clean water, fish, birds, seal, fish, mussel beds -- nature resurgent. The National Parks Service is obliged to offer this period of public comment as it prepares its management plan and environmental impact statement for "The Breach." So let's tell them where we stand!
Many of us (about 35 based on RSVPs, seeing people there) attended "Sandy's Silver Lining," A Public Forum on The Breach, held at Bellport Middle School on the 21st between 9:30 - 12:00. The response was strong even though it was the last shopping weekend before Christmas; this issue is still front and center for us, and so about 200 showed in total. Thomas Bruckner should be singled out as having done a marvelous job assembling the panel, and in the presentation, with informative segues between speakers where he showed pics and video from his some 30 trips to the breach / inlet. He's a natural MC. The sound system was out of whack, but we will get this fixed for next time, for yes, there will be next times, as what Commissioner Soller had to say make clear.
This report, their tenth, available here Inlet_Report_10 in its entirety, discusses both how the breach has evolved and mutated, while remaining stable over all in terms of its flow and its influence on water quality in The Great South Bay. Bellport Bay -- and not much more than that -- continues to benefit greatly from the influx of fresh clean ocean water and the outflow of nitrogen rich, oxygen depleted water.
Here is Will James, author of On Long Island Coast, An Unexpected Gift From Hurricane Sandy, which appeared recently in The Atlantic Magazine, on The Brian Lehrer Show 11-18-13 speaking about the breach / New Inlet on Fire Island has helped to revitalize the eastern part of the bay. He also notes that science has shown that the breach has not increased flooding in the bay.
While Will James depicts the issue of the breach / New Inlet as an ongoing conflict, with a decision in the balance, with the environmentalists pitted against the home owners, a year on post Sandy I'd have to say that the debate over the breach is pretty much over. The public has spoken. Emails, phone calls, public meetings. Many meetings with politicians and policy makers, dozens of environmental organizations working together in support of science and the case for leaving the breach alone. We stand with our flooded neighbors, and want to see them get the help they need quickly, with the money spent wisely and the work done well. At this point, the vast majority understand that spending $20 million to plug the breach would provide absolutely no protection from the next big storm.
The article's main proponent for closing the breach is Aram Terchunian, who is described in the article as "Long Island coastal geologist who has worked as a consultant on other breach-closure projects." He is also Founder and CEO of First Coastal, a firm that has made a lot of money on Long Island over the years pushing sand around. He refers to the breach as "a giant hole" must be plugged. To quote Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" Sandy knocked Fire Island 75 feet north. It took with it 52% of Fire Island's sand. The water's coming, and spending $20 million so that a contractor fills it in (at great environmental damage to what is now by far the healthiest part of the The Great South Bay) is pure folly, and most people -- scientists and the general public -- now know that. He says "its not rocket science" to conclude filling the breach would mitigate flooding, but as he is the lone voice making the argument to close it, arrayed against a number of marine scientists with years of data at their disposal, one must ask him what kind of science he is practicing and where his data is.
Nice video on The New Inlet/ breach from National Geographic. Got some old time baymen featured. Good job! Nice end to a somber day.
Fishermen and scientists report cleaner water and more marine life in the Great South Bay since superstorm Sandy blasted a new inlet across Fire Island, the slender land barrier that separates the Long Island bay from the Atlantic Ocean.
SCERP -- The Southampton Coastal and Estuarine Research Project -- has just come out with their latest report. Swimmers Rejoice! Water clarity is now such that we can see deeper than 4 feet in the Eastern Bay, which means it is legal and permissible to swim in the bay once more according to New York State guidelines. In fact, we've gone from 3'4" to 4'6" this year, a 35% increase.
Scott Gerber got these magnificent shots of The Old Inlet from his 1946 Piper Cub.