Facts: 2018 Cuomo Priority: Full PCB Clean Up of the Hudson River Cuomo Announces $10.4 Mil to Clean LI’s Waters With Shellfish A New …
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.
As we began to learn about the breach, how barrier beaches in fact behave and evolve, and began to see how it was actually a lifeline for an otherwise dying bay, saw that it was flushing Bellport Bay especially, and bringing back the bay we knew, we began to use the term 'breach' ironically. "Life's a Breach!" reads one bumper sticker. Against all the hysteria leveled at it, people posted 'The Breach ate my baby!,' or 'The Breach cheats at golf,' or 'The Breach stole my woman!" We will be having a Breach Party this Saturday in fact, keeping with the spirit of this.
This project requires a wide cast net. Storm pictures are great but we want to see Fire Island on a good day too. Surfers, surfcasters, sunbathers, cross-dressers, nudists, nature, and nightlife – Fire Island is so many things to so many people; so share your photos, memories and stories.
Seagrant ( a lot more on them below, from their site), offers an overview of the two most important topics affecting The Great South Bay and the Western Bays -- The Breach / New Inlet, and The Crippling of The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant By Hurricane Sandy. Here is a national marine science non-profit with a strong local presence offering their views on both these issues as part of a Post Sandy assessment of marine conditions post Sandy and what our policy should be regarding them. One's a story of dirty water being flushed out (The Breach), the other a story of dirty water pouring in (The crippled Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant). In both cases, it is crucial that as we rebuild we make wise, informed choices. As the Breach / New Inlet is flushing the Eastern Great South Bay while revitalizing it and lowering the brown algae count to perhaps 1/100th of what we are seeing in Moriches and Shinnecock Bay, we need to keep The New Inlet open -- or to put it another way, prevent it from being closed through political pressure.
We will say this with each installment of The Breach Report -- keep your boat/kayak at a very respectful distance from The New Inlet. There are lots of shallows where you can run aground. There are also places where the current is strong. The New Inlet is narrowing and shoaling, but it still runs swiftly, so the inlet itself is really best seen by driving to Smith Point and walking about 1 1/2 miles west.
Further research via old maps showed that in the 1790's it was referred to as "The New Inlet at South Haven," gaining the name The Old Inlet only after it was closed by two ship wrecks in the 1820s. So what was new is now new again. The bay is renewing itself with the inlet's reopening. Even so, The Army Corps of Engineers continues to press for closure, as to presumably the politicians who continue to ignore science in favor of 'doing something.' It is our hope that this new New Inlet will remain with us, hopefully so long as nature deems it, and will continue to revitalize the Eastern Bay, repairing at least some of the damage we've caused from decades of mismanagement and neglect. We hope that it can buy us enough time to address the many water quality issues on the Long Island mainland that led to the bay's deterioration -- seepage from 100,000+ septic tanks, storm runoff from 2000+ outfall pipes that wash into our streams and into our bays 115 different pesticides, lawn fertilizer, the destruction of marshes and eelgrass beds.
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:
Here's an amazing shot of the breach as it was being formed during Hurricane Sandy, photographed by our own Michael Busch. Those aren't dunes behind the Pattersquash club house -- those are waves!
The Breach / New Inlet Forming During Hurricane Sandy
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.
One of our Save The Great South Bay group members Michael Patrick was out on Fire Island about a mile 1/2 west of Smith Point and found a seal carcass.
Save The Great South Bay here presents a video from a Facebook Group member and avid kayaker, Dan Smith, of what he like many refer to as The Old Inlet, but which others know as The New Inlet or The Breach. Call it what you will, there is no place on The Great South Bay now that has such wild life -- osprey, seals, the endangered piping plover, thousands upon thousands of sea birds -- and has clear aquamarine water that few today can remember.