Last month, Jim Tripp of the The Environmental Defense Fund drafted a letter addressed to The Department of Interior, The National Parks Service, The Fire Island National Seashore, The Army Corps of Engineers, and The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In it, he argues that The Breach Contingency Plan, adopted in 1996, extended in 2001 for another five years, then on the books but overdue for revision since 2007, must be interpreted in light of previous documents pertaining to the protection of wilderness areas, and that before any action is taken to close The Old Inlet, the following would by law have to happen:
The breach, although not static, is relatively stable and there is a likelihood that closure by natural processes may occur in the future.
Water levels and tidal amplitude in eastern Great South Bay returned to normal soon after Hurricane Sandy and have remained in the normal range.
Water exchange between the ocean and bay has increased in eastern Great South Bay.
Extensive shoaling has occurred within the Great South Bay just north of the breach.
With The New Inlet, Mother Nature's true gift was to give us but a glimpse of what the Great South Bay was and could be again. It's a challenge to us to take action. Next summer, will The New Inlet even be there, whether because of nature or man? Then what? The bay starts to die again. Here's what Mother Nature alone can't fix, and what we must fix if we want this bay all the way back, New Inlet or no New Inlet:
A work in progress: Federal The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers http://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Home.aspx The 1996 Breach Contingency Plan http://www.nps.gov/fiis/parkmgmt/upload/ACOE-BCP-1996_web.pdf Recommendations for a Barrier Island Breach …