February 4, 2022
Dear County Executive Bellone,
Thank you for agreeing to a strategic pause to the construction of a dredge spoil dewatering facility to allow for better public input into the site selection process.
As you are aware, we are opposed to the planned deforestation of a successional red maple-blackgum swamp in order to accommodate the spoils. Although we are alarmed at the prospect of losing an increasingly rare forested wetland habitat, we understand the urgent need to dredge various creeks and rivers for navigational purposes.
As such, please allow this letter to serve as a summary of our recommended alternatives:
- Marshes consisting primarily of phragmites are of limited ecological value when compared to forested wetland communities;
- In order to accommodate the volume of dredge spoils that will be generated during the planned projects, we recommend that you push out the perimeter dike of the existing dredge spoil disposal facility as noted in Exhibit A. Although this will necessitate the removal of a few native tree saplings, we believe this to be an appropriate tradeoff to save the larger and more mature forested parcel;
- If any additional storage is needed, we recommend utilizing the phragmites covered parcel demonstrated in Exhibit B.
- Here are some simple calculations of the storage capacity offered by the recommended sites:
Per the County’s estimates, the total amount of dredge spoils to be produced for all of the planned projects is 104,500 cu yds. Accordingly, the recommended dredge spoil disposal facilities should more than accommodate the planned projects;
- As the recommended sites exist within the immediate vicinity of the currently planned spoils facility, such an approach would not materially increase costs associated with laying pipe; and
- Avoiding the destruction of a forested wetland will allow the community to avoid the currently unquantified but significant environmental costs associated with deforestation.
Given the foregoing, we urge you to consider the proposed alternative locations for the sustainable and conscientious upland disposal of dredge spoil.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Save the Great South Bay, 501(c)3
Frank Piccininni, Esq., M.S., Chair of the Habitat Restoration Committee