Hurricane Sandy created a breach in Fire Island, one that is still open 18 months later because 1. It happened on National Park Services land and because of that it couldn’t be closed immediately by The Army Corps of Engineers, as is otherwise the standard procedure. Two other breaches further east were quickly closed. From that point there began a political and bureaucratic battle over the breach’s fate, with marine scientists, and, increasingly a vocal public calling for the breach to remain open. Many who early on advocated closing it, citing an increased risk of flooding, changed their minds as all evidence showed that the breach was in no measurable way increasing flooding and tidal action, and when they began to see just how much the breach was flushing out Bellport Bay.
Today, the breach continues to cleanse and revitalize Bellport Bay. The shellfish are growing broad rings. Osprey, sea turtles, and seals are now regular visitors/residents. The fishing has improved markedly. The sandbars created along the breach are now nesting areas for the endangered piping plover.
The Fire Island National Seashore has, at a $1 million expense, begun an analysis as to what the fate of the breach should be. We already know what it should be — leave it alone!