Saturday, October 29, 2022 marks the 10 year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy which had wide-reaching and devastating impacts across the South Shore of Long Island. One of the Sandy outcomes was the breach at Fire Island resulting in the re-opening of the Old Inlet in Bellport Bay.
A big question arose with advocates on one side demanding to keep the Breach open and let nature take its course, while others requested it be closed manually to prevent impacts of possible tidal rise and storm surges which could cause further damage in the area. There was great controversy that surrounded this issue with both sides of the argument vehement in their position.
After much public discourse, sometimes quite heated, the decision was made to leave the inlet open in large part due to regulations applying to the Fire Island National Seashore that forbid any manual manipulation of the island.
Positive Impacts of the Breach
What we have learned since is that the breach in Fire Island across from Bellport helped to revitalize Bellport Bay. We saw the return of a multitude of marine life, blossoming seagrasses and an environment conducive to shellfish restoration. What we didn’t see were significant tidal changes or excessive storm surge damage.
We are now in danger of all those benefits evaporating as the Inlet continues to close. Less exchange with the ocean will lead to higher concentrations of nitrogen in the Bay from cesspool waste waters as well as stormwater runoff. Thanks to that we are likely to see a more frequent appearance of harmful algal blooms such as brown, red and mahogany tides. These in turn, affect all marine life from finfish and shellfish to seagrasses and birds. Rest assured, we will be closely monitoring the impacts of this natural occurrence on the water quality in Bellport Bay and the surrounding areas and will keep supporters of our group updated.
Save The Great South Bay, 501(c)3 is an environmental non-profit whose mission is to protect and preserve the Great South Bay for stronger Long Island communities now and for future generations to enjoy. We are a grassroots organization made up of South Shore residents, scientists, educators, community leaders, local policy makers, sailors, clammers, paddleboards, fishermen, scout troops, and more! We work to bring all of these groups together for our common purpose – to save the Great South Bay from collapse.
Please find us on Facebook or on the web at www.savethegreatsouthbay.org where you can hear from our marine scientists, advocates and public officials about what must be done to rescue all our local waters. What can you do? Help restore a local creek or pond. Step away from the lawn fertilizers and the pesticides. Support funding for wastewater infrastructure and the Mother Nature Bond Act. The Bay will do its part. Let us do ours.
All images courtesy of Great South Bay Images.